Paperbacks: The Last Princess by Matthew Dennison

Phoenix £10.99
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The Independent Culture

Princess Beatrice, the ninth and last of Queen Victoria's children, was four when her father died: 17 years younger than her eldest sibling, she became the "baby" aunt to a brood of toddlers not much younger than her.

The Queen, unhinged by widowhood, determined that Beatrice would be her constant companion. In a readable and empathetic biography, Dennison makes light work of his subject's long and lethargic life. Beatrice married for love only to lose her husband to malaria, and two of her three sons to haemophilia and the trenches. In later years she applied her own brand of "Teutonic rigour" to editing her mother's diaries, burning the originals as she went along.