A ROYAL AFFINITY by Constance Wright


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The author of Daughter of Napoleon and Madame de Lafaytte again summons up a period as she focusses on the relationship between Frederick the Great and his Sister, Wilhelmina of Bayreuth. Born two and a half years later than Wilhelmina, Frederick ""sometimes said they were 'born together,' or they 'had two bodies and but a single soul.'"" Their devotion was to last to the end of their lives, and they are seen through the Cruelties of growing up in brutal Frederick William's court. The author employs a method of parallelism, taking one subject a little way, then returning to set the other at the same place. Thus we witness Wilhelmina's trials with her governesses and her mother, Wilhelm's with his tutors and father--a difference that was so terrible it brought the surrogate death of a dear friend; the intricate maneuverings for marriage--Wilhelmina was satisfied with her Frederick of Brandenburg but Wilhelm could never love his docile, placid-Elizabeth Christiua. The later years, with Frederick on the throne, brought one serious falling-out; otherwise, contact continued. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book rests with Frederick's association with Voltaire; Wilhelmina played a part in this, and at her death, indeed, Frederick ordered a memorial from the philosopher. Miss Wright has her subjects in command and has marshalled a host of interesting subordinate facts; somehow her writing maintains a certain military formality.

Publisher: Scribners