'Writing about Queen Victoria has been one of the most joyous experiences of my life.
I have read thousands (literally) of letters never before published, and grown used to her as to a friend.
Maddening? Egomaniac? Hysterical? A bad mother? Some have said so. What emerged for me was a brave, original woman who was at the very epicentre of Britain's changing place in the world: a solitary woman in an all-male world who understood politics and foreign policy much better than some of her ministers; a person possessed by demons, but demons which she was brave enough to conquer.
Above all, I became aware, when considering her eccentric friendships and deep passions, of what a loveable person she was.' A.