A mass-minded biography of a family dynasty presents the trivia and the trappings of royalty from Victoria to Elizabeth II and submits many a peek at the peaks and nadirs of the British crowned heads. From the conjunction of the disparate characteristics of Hanover and Coburg when Victoria married her Albert, on through the line with all its contrasts and conflicts, inherited, and often enhanced by the era, this traces the element of persistent change and the emergence of an appeal that maintains in respect and that has increased in popularity. Here are the shifts in royal attitudes, the restrictions and continuing traditions, the burden of the crown as it erases freedom, confines every act and imposes its standards of veneration and perfection, and the almost unbelievable but still magic qualities of a monarch. There are its practical applications -- in trade, in its importance in a common past and future; the anthropological aspects of its ceremonious etiquette, festivals and taboos; the molding into an inflexible pattern and the imprisonment of a planned life for the dedicated. Full of detail, anecdote and incident, this is superior assemblage of majesties as people and rulers. From the Canadian Maclean's and often absorbing reading.