The extraordinary stories of the eight men who attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria combine to create a compellingly original portrait of the entire Victorian era.
During her long reign, Queen Victoria was the target of no fewer than eight assassination attempts. In seven of these cases her life was saved by poor marksmanship or misfiring weaponry, but one assailant managed to strike her with a finely wrought cane. Remarkably, all eight of her attackers lived to tell their tales, and were variously incarcerated in asylums, deported to Australia, or in a few cases eventually released into society again.
Paul Thomas Murphy shows how these obscure would-be assassins effected a change in history. Their attacks on Victoria galvanised her to face them down by presenting a more public face than her forebears, thereby laying the groundwork for the monarchy as we know it today.
SHOOTING VICTORIA opens up a new window onto Victorian England. In exploring contemporary attitudes to madness, crime and criminality, it reveals a wealth of little-known and often surprising aspects of 19th-century British society and monarchy.