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The Last Princess


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About the Author

Matthew Dennison is a journalist. He writes for The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, and Country Life. He is married and lives in London and North Wales.


Journalist Dennison has written an entertaining biography of Queen Victoria's youngest child, a Royal known, if at all, for a life devoted to her widowed mother. Beatrice was four when her father, Prince Albert, died and her mother plunged into lifelong mourning. Called Baby for most of her childhood, Beatrice was brought up to believe that she must always stay with Victoria, who displayed considerable selfishness by ensuring that her daughter had no close friends. Marriage, the queen determined, was completely out of the question. After all, as she wrote to her eldest (married) daughter, "Youngest daughters have a duty to widowed mothers." And to another correspondent the queen wrote, "I'll take care that She never marries." When Beatrice, at the advanced age of 27, falls in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg, readers will eagerly turn the pages to see what happens. This well-written biography of an often overlooked Victorian princess offers a fascinating look at a way of life nearly impossible to imagine. Strongly recommended for public libraries where biographies, history, and royalty are popular. (Illustrations not seen.)-Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

After the death of her beloved Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, an only child with a pathological fear of being alone, turned her ninth child, Beatrice, into her permanent companion, infantilizing her and robbing her of any chance of a normal life. The consequences for Beatrice were difficult: as Dennison shows, over the years the spunky young Beatrice turned docile and acquiescent. Some of her siblings resented her proximity to the seat of power. Victoria even determined never to let her companion marry, a vow she abandoned only when Beatrice, at age 27, fell in love with the German Prince Henry of Battenberg, who agreed to abandon his home and career and move in with his wife and mother-in-law. He died 10 years later, in the Ashanti War in Sierra Leone, where he had traveled with British forces in an effort to exert some personal independence. Beatrice mourned, then resumed her duties as her mother's companion. Dennison, a British journalist, does a fine job of laying out facts, but he doesn't spare readers his opinion. Though he's not impressed with Victoria's parenting skills and lack of consideration for Beatrice's emotional well-being, his compassion for his subjects is obvious. That, as much as his detailed portraits, will keep readers engaged. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Fascinating." --Vogue"[Dennison's] compassion for his subjects is obvious." --Publishers Weekly"Dennison emerges as a natural storyteller . . . a hugely satisfying biography. . . . Beautifully written, its detail meticulous . . . a confident and disarmingly impressive debut." --The Daily Telegraph (UK)"A colourful peephole into Victorian times, as well as the peculiar ways of royalty." --The Herald (UK)"Dennison tells a sorry, complex story with tact and sympathy." --The Times (UK)"An engaglingly sympathetic, balanced and intelligent biography." --The Spectator (UK)"An engrossing biography . . . Beautifully written." --Tatler (UK)"Matthew Dennison has researched assiduously in the Royal Archives at Windsor. He writes well." --Independent on Sunday (UK)"This is an old fashioned biography about an old-fashioned subject. At a time when non-fiction writers are desperately thinking up fancy new ways to tell stories, there's something rather comforting about a narrative that has no embarrassment in starting at the beginning." --The Guardian (UK)"It is an enthralling story, not just of a mother-daughter relationship but that of a monarch and her favourite subject." --Majesty Magazine (book of the month) (UK)"Dennison's biography is an engrossing tale of a mother and daughter who were also a queen and her subject." --The Good Book Guide (UK)

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