Duff, the editor of Queen Victoria in the Highlands (1969), is a writer, like Theo Aronson, who has affection and admiration for his royal subjects but cannot take them entirely seriously. Also like Aronson, he collects an enormous amount of gossip -- from correspondence (duck soup when dealing with Victorians), newspapers and broadsides to buttress some eye-catching declarative sentences. Albert, for example, ""was a sarcastic man, a jealous man and an egocentric,"" but Duff's sneaking fondness for this rigidly Germanic, sentimental, desperately hard-working man comes through nonetheless and leads into the author's view of the famous marriage. Victoria, legatee to that Hanoverian gusto, may have been robbed by Albert of her buoyancy, but he was a man she could lean on and she leaned hard -- too hard. Duff agrees with Whittle (p. 883) that Victoria was a man's woman to whom children were a bother and even a horror (""that terrible frog-like action"" she remarked about babies). But Duff goes beyond Whittle in his implications concerning the royal four-poster. Albert was ""sexually dominant at times of power and success"" whereas Victoria's Hanoverian blood always ran hot. After the doctor's admonition not to have more children, and during Albert's physical decline, ""Victoria showed many signs of petulance, obstinacy, even of bitterness and cynicism"" -- a foretaste of widowhood? Before concentrating on the principals, Duff has several chapters on the uneasy alliances and peccadillos of the Saxe-Coburg line and ceremonial occasions. Lots of startling-to-dubious speculation which entertains and sporadically illumines.