cover image Victoria and Albert: A Family Life at Osborne House

Victoria and Albert: A Family Life at Osborne House

Of York Duchess, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York, H R H the Duchess of York. Prentice Hall, $40 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-13-950882-0

The Duchess of York (Prince Andrew's wife, ``Fergie'') writes about England's 19th-century rulers not as historical figures but as a loving couple and caring parents. Aided by Stoney, a professional researcher, the author gleaned quotes from journals kept by Victoria during her long reign (1837-1901). Such excerpts strengthen this account of how the queen and her beloved consort created a vibrant family life for their nine children despite the pressures of their public roles. As in other vital areas, Albert took the lead here, finding Osborne House on the Isle of Wight which became the family home. There the royals spent as much time as possible, away from the strains of court, enjoying close companionship in the bracing bucolic air. This virtually ideal life was cut short in 1861 by Albert's death at age 41. Although devastated by her loss, Victoria continued to rule until her death 40 years later. This well-written book, telling us much more than has heretofore been known about Prince Albert and his many accomplishments, will have great appeal to a wide audience. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)