When her eldest child married the heir apparent to the Prussian throne, Queen Victoria lost a daughter but gained a correspondent, one who knew a family, the Court and the Queen intimately enough to allow Victoria her talent for spicy gossip and spontaneous indiscretion. This selection from the letters covers the years between the Princess Royal's wedding and the death of the Prince Consort. Although Mr. Fulford has done away with the many italics the Queen employed for emphasis, a sense of conversation emerges from the letters which he has chosen to show her at the maternal, wifely and regal tasks she took to best -- worrying over the other eight children, clucking over Albert and arranging mourning and approving marriages for a host of the minor royalty in her House. She certainly saw her children clearly, even harshly. Poor Bertie never got the benefit of the doubt and she was quite blunt about the looks of all of them. The Victoriana in print continues to grow, presumably for a growing audience. Constant readers in this area with no love of footnotes will find this correspondence as readable as a popular biography.