Gentle reviewers of this biography of Romanian Queen Marie (1875-1938) might call it charming and affectionate, vicious reviewers will see it as a bad case of royalophilia, but we'll settle for doting and romantic. Older American readers may remember her as the handsome granddaughter of England's Victoria and Russia's Czar Alexander II who toured the USA in the '20's during which time she made dour President Coolidge ""furious"" and generally kicked up a most unregal ""blur of anxiety."" Actually Marie, who led a considerably liberated existence even by Romanov standards, was in the borscht more often than not -- first as a young girl refusing the hand of her English first cousin Prince George (later King George V), then marrying the limited Hohenzollern Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania whom she survived only because of the ""vein of iron within herself."" Thereafter she blossomed into ""the free spirit who was to electrify Europe"" and dazzle the Americans, e.g., she quipped to New York Mayor Jimmy Walker ""Proceed, Your Honor. The risk is mine"" when he hesitated before affixing an honorary medal to her bodice. But amid the headlines and good times there were tragedies -- the wars, political assassination, a dead child, a daughter's engagement to a homosexual German prince, men and scandals -- and Elsberry (we are told he became ""fascinated"" with Marie while in high school; he now edits Apartment Ideas magazine) leads the way through this thicket of courtly activity right down to the final mumbled ""Regina is dying.