QUEEN ALEXANDRA by Georgina Battiscombe


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The first biography in many, many years, of Edward VII's Queen whom he married rather hesitantly when she was sixteen even though she was ""charming in every sense of the word and really a pearl not to be lost."" Mrs. Battiscombe has had access to the Royal Archives at Windsor although Bertie, whom Kipling called the ""corpulent voluptuary,"" destroyed all his private papers--as well he might have. Everyone including Alexandra was aware of his many liaisons (here treated with frankness but discretion--more like Philip Magnus than Virginia Cowles) but then Alexandra could reassure herself that ""After all, he always loved me the best."" While of no particular natural intelligence or education, she was easy to love being extremely loving herself, a fine mother strongly involved in family affairs, less so in political concerns, and after Edward's long delayed accession, permitted to do very little. The partial (later total) loss of her hearing after the rheumatic fever which attended her third confinement; her worries over her firstborn Eddy, wayward and dissipated, terminated by his untimely death; her gradual recession into an ""ugly"" old age in which her memory failed her and her speech was impaired, all mark the last years of her life with a wintry chill. Mrs. Battiscombe's biography is sensibly sympathetic, informative and graceful and all those who have had more than enough exposure in the last year to ""Dear Mama"" will be glad to move on to ""motherdear.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1969
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin