Not only is this book superbly researched; it is fascinating reading. I have read a great deal about Queen Victoria, some of it impossibly heavy going, and some of it frankly salacious. Julia Baird brings this amazing woman to life, and allows us to see her with all her strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand she worked tirelessly for her country, showing great understanding of political issues, and frequently attempting to override long suffering prime ministers, and on the other hand she was a devoted (some would say 'over-devoted') mother, and of course, most famously, the adoring wife of Prince Albert. It is an enormous pity that Victoria's children so ruthlessly burnt or edited Victoria's voluminous diaries and correspondence, but sufficient material exists that enabled Julia Baird to portray a mighty personality who nevertheless had many personal weaknesses, not least of which was an overwhelming capacity for self pity, which pretty much crippled her personality in the decades after her beloved Albert's death. This work is illuminating, but objective. All praise to Julia Baird for adding a new perspective to our view of the great Victoria and her legacy for current times.