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Sun 22 March 2009, The Independent

Becoming Queen, By Kate Williams

By Lesley McDowell
The front cover shows a portrait of a youthful Princess Victoria, but that belies the fact that this book is actually about two young princesses: Victoria and her cousin, Charlotte. Charlotte was born 23 years before the future monarch, and was the only child of George IV. Her tragedy is that she died in childbirth, aged only 21; but without her death, Victoria probably wouldn't even have been born, never mind become queen. After Charlotte's death, her father's useless, dissipated brothers began searching, rather late in the day, for suitable brides by whom to have possible heirs. That was the reason Victoria's father married her mother; it's the reason for Victoria's existence.
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