Based largely on unpublished correspondence between Queen Victoria, Viscount Palmerston, her Foreign and Prime Minister, and her husband, Prince Albert, this book, brilliantly edited by the author of A Watcher on the Rhine, Portrait of a Whig Peer, etc., must rank as one of the outstanding contributions to the history of Victorian politics and policies. The vast Palmerston archives, made available to the author of this volume, include the documents on which the book is based: 1200 ms. letters from Victoria, 120 from the Prince Regent, more than 4000 from Palmerston. Covering the years of Victoria's reign from her accession in 1837 at the age of 18 to Palmerston's death in 1865 at the age of 81, they deal with almost every facet of British domestic and foreign affairs during these 28 years: The Reform Bill; the Spanish Marriage, which nearly wrecked Europe; the Crimean War; the rise of Napoleon III; the American Civil War. For both Victoria and Palmerston these were years of conflict ranging from early admiration to exasperation and, for Victoria, to hatred of her Foreign Minister. That they should clash was inevitable. Victoria, tiny and obstinate, married to the Germanic Albert, was a consistent reactionary believing in the inalienable rights of monarchs to rule as they pleased; Palmerston, implacably Liberal, believed in constitutional monarchs to rule as they pleased; Palmerston, implacably Liberal, believed in constitutional monarchies and parliamentary rule. In the end Palmerston won. After many efforts to ruin him, aided by Albert, Victoria was forced to accept him as Prime Minister; when he died she mourned him, although she was never quite reconcied to him. Edited and written with neither footnotes nor unded explanations, but including vivid brief biographies of the chief actors in the - Minister drama, this astonishing book will appeal to all historians and students of the Victorian era; not for the careless or uninformed reader, it is an indispensable addition to all collections of Victorians.