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Book review: Serving Victoria, By Kate Hubbard


Despite the starchy image of the Victorian court, this is an astonishing, lively and amusing account of the opinionated Queen and her odd entourage, including the royal doctor, "a master of misdiagnosis".

We learn that "alcoholism, endemic in all the Queen's palaces, was particularly so at Balmoral", where dinner was "routinely accompanied by crashing china and wine poured liberally around rather than into glasses".

The Queen maintained Highlanders were never "drunk" but merely "confused" or "bashful".