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The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria's Youngest Daughter

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  876 ratings  ·  61 reviews
An engrossing biography of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter that focuses on her relationship with her willful mother—a powerful and insightful look into two women of signifcant importance and infuence in world history.

Beatrice was the last child born to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her father died when she was four and Victoria came to depend on her youngest daughte
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 19th 2008 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 4th 2007)
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3.81  · 
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 ·  876 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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The Library Lady
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is going to sound sexist--and perhaps it is. But long experience of reading biographies and history and even fiction has brought me to the conclusion that while women can get inside mens' heads, it's the rare male writer who can really bring female characters to life.

While Matthew Dennison can write well enough for a historian, and certainly he's done his research, Beatrice never springs to life here. He wants us to believe that she wasn't the dull little stay at home daughter in Queen Vict
Jul 25, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a very strange book. It was well enough written that I finished it, but I'm annoyed more by what was missing than anything else.

It is pretty much a given that Queen Victoria went a little nuts after her husband died. From all reports it was a pretty good marriage and she enjoyed all the aspects of being a wife, but she never got over the fact that he had died relatively young leaving her alone. It is also pretty much a given that she could be pretty cold an cruel to her children. As one
Ghost of the Library
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've looked at this one for several times thinking how to produce a review to do justice to the book, but frankly don't really know where to begin, mostly because Princess Beatrice quite frankly annoys the crap out of me!
In modern terms one can possibly argue that she suffered from some form of Stockholm Sindrome...i cant to this day even grasp how she butchered Queen Victoria's journals to such an extent that frankly leaves me nauseous....Kudos to QV for the successful brain washing of her youn
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fic
Princess Beatrice was, presumably, a very interesting figure. The youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, she was tapped to stay home and take care of dear old mom rather than go off and get married like her siblings.

The author makes a lot of assumptions about how Beatrice felt about this, none of them seemingly based on any direct evidence or primary sources. Beatrice was an intensely private person and spent a great deal of her later life editing and re-writing her mother's journal
This doesn't really count as "read", because I had to return it to the library unfinished.

The style was beginning to irk me: the author had a tendency to assume that the reader knew the basic life story of Princess Beatrice, and that he was just adding to a basic knowledge. This lead to - for example - the chapter on her husband's death beginning with an anecdote that occurred two years after his death, which depended on the reader knowing the cause of death for it to make sense. I had assumed
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Biography Fans
Shelves: biography
Please see my detailed review at Grace's "Last Princess" Review

Please click that the review was helpful to you at Amazon so that my rating continues to climb! Thanks!

What an interesting read (overall), and how frustrated I became with the selfishness of Queen Victoria. A mother who loves you this much? Estrangement doesn't seem so bad in light of the ridiculous amount of control the Queen asserted over her youngest child. Princess Beatrice seems to have had an enormous amount of per
Feb 22, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, england
Queen Victoria's youngest of 9 kids. Sounds interesting
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
This book certainly had a lot of interesting history in it. Things certainly would have been better for the poor girl if her father had not died at a relatively young age. Being the daughter of a ruler of one of the most powerful countries (and empires) in the world at that time would have an effect on just about anyone, even though Beatrice had no real chance of ever inheriting the crown. For all the interesting facts in this book, I feel the author could have done a better job of putting them ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't know much about Victoria's later years, after Prince Albert died. Her youngest daughter, Beatrice, was only 4 years old when her father died. The Queen went into a deep depression and took mourning to a new level. She was determined to keep her youngest child with her always, as a helper and companion, and was incredibly selfish.

This book is not a light biographical read. It is written from a historical perspective, and students of history or especially British history would appreciate
Aug 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Beatrice was the youngest of Queen Victoria and Prince Consort Albert's nine children, and only four years old when her father died and her mother embarked upon a long life-time of mourning. As her older children married and formed ties with royalty from throughout Europe, the Queen was determined to keep at least one of her daughters at home to serve as her constant companion and secretary. Too young at the beginning, the role passed through older sisters, until Beatrice, or "Baby," the monikor ...more
P.D.R. Lindsay
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: research

The pendulum of public opinion seems to have swung as far as it will go with regard to Queen Victoria and her reign. Or should that be, with disregard? Perhaps it is time for the return swing.

This book about Princess Beatrice, the youngest of the Queen's children, is a dense read, solidly researched and the author makes a good attempt at presenting all the sides of an argument, or ways of seeing an action or decision, often using quotes from letters or personal reports to do so. If you know litt
Ubah Khasimuddin
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fun read on a subject I love, European royalty, particularly the golden age of European royalty, the era of Queen Victoria and her off-spring.
This book centers on Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria's ninth and final child. She is often the over-looked child, as her eldest brother became Queen and her eldest sister, the Empress of Germany, both major power players in the lead up to WWI.
While at times the book is bogged down in pointless details or repeats itself (the funeral feeling that hung
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone into biographical historoy
Recommended to Gloria by: I just found it by searching books
Princess Beatrice was the perfectly devoted daughter of Queen Victoria. She grew up in the role of total dedication in all things to the Queen that most of her personal life revolved around taking care of the Queen or the Queen's business. Beatrice did find love and happily married, had children, was widowed early in life, and still served in total devotion to the Queen. I felt a great deal of sympathy for Beatrice because she didn't really have a life of her own with her own interests, never ha ...more
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was just okay. I was really interested in Beatrice, but I found that I was wanting for more information.

Beatrice was Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, the one destined to stay by her mother's side for her entire life. Victoria was so attached to Beatrice that she wouldn't let her get married initially, and when she finally did allow Beatrice to marry, it was on the condition that the couple continue living with the queen. Beatrice is the one who extensively edited her mother's diary
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed The Last Princess very much. Here is the youngest child of Queen Victoria. That was so long ago. Yet she died shortly before I was born. So she's like of my time, too. She doesn't remember her dad, the beloved Prince Albert. She is her mother's little charmer in this world of her mother's emptiness. And when her older sibblings grow up, marry, and go away, young Beatrice is her mother's all purpose everything. The youngest daughters weren't supposed to marry. They were supposed to stay h ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm in two minds about this book. It did give me some interesting information to flesh out my rather shaky image of Princess Beatrice and made me understand why she edited her mother's journals - something that had previously made me vilify her somewhat - and completed my increased research into Queen Victoria's children.

However, I got the impression that Dennison didn't really like his subject. While he told us of Beatrice being a wonderfully talented pianist and translator, he always very quic
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very well written biography that wasn't too dry though didn't talk about all the interesting aspects. The Journals that she edited were one of the main reasons I was so interested in her as there seems to be very little information on the extent of her editing. Though the author does talk about it, he doesn't address it enough for my personal liking. Yes, it was intriguing to see her role as her mother's wall to the world, but that topic has nearly been beaten to death by any biography of Queen ...more
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it
An excellent biography of Victoria's youngest child who devoted her life (willingly or no) to taking care of her mother during life and her journals after her death.

Dennison is clearly not enamored with Victoria's behavior towards her children. The Queen appears both fragile and tyrannical, but always self-centered. I do appreciate the parallels he drew between mother and daughter as they were both raised as lonely children. However, his almost rancor towards Victoria comes on a somewhat too str
It was a very interesting biography, but I feel like Dennison failed in the same spot as most authors I've read who have written about any of Queen Victoria's children: the story stops when she dies. I felt like there was so much to be told about Beatrice after her mother died - her relationship with her children, grandchildren, surviving siblings, nephews and nieces; her work in England; her reactions to both World Wars and the Russian Revolution, and yet the focus was completely on Beatrice's ...more
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
In this biography, the author portrays Princess Beatrice as a passive, dutiful daughter to her widow mother, Queen Victoria of England. In addition, he describes Queen Victoria as a widow who is so overwhelmed with grief over the death of her husband, that she cannot function and has to rely on her daughter to help her carry out her royal duties. This book contradicts everything I've previously read about Queen Victoria who has always been characterized as a strong-willed woman (anyone who has r ...more
Oct 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I love to read books about Queen Victoria and her children, and this one was about a daughter I've read less about than the others, Beatrice. It was a fairly interesting book, but it had a strange flaw---an EXTREME case of staying on topic. The topic was that Queen Victoria didn't let Beatrice have a life of her own, mostly because of her extended grief over Albert's death. This was certainly the case, but it's mentioned one way or another in just about literally EVERY PARAGRAPH. After a while, ...more
Robert Nesbitt
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in recent European history
Recommended to Robert by: Royal website
Some of this book was contained in Born to Rule as Victoria's last daughter, Princess Beatrice was the mother of Queen Ena of Spain. So I have already read about the granddaughter and now have the book about the mother.

Upon completion of this book, the story of Princess Beatrice is really remarkable. This woman totally immursed herself in service to her aging and morning mother, Queen Victoria. It is not only a story about the life of the Princess but a closer look at the life of a very self abs
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book was obviously painstakingly researched. I can only imagine the breadth of documents the author must have sifted through. Unfortunately, this book is so dry that it would probably serve better as reference material. The various characters were referred to by their first names, sometimes nicknames, and other times their official royal titles, which became confusing. There were nuggets of very interesting information that I gleaned from the book, but for the most part I found the author's ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
I really didn't care for this book. It looks at the life of Queen Victoria's youngest child, Princess Beatrice and her "servitude" to her mother after the death of the Prince Consort. That "servitude" began when the child was four years old and continued throughout her mother's lifetime. There is so much repetition in the narrative that it had me skipping pages. It went on and on about the Queen's complete domination of her favorite daughter that I began to dislike both the Queen and Princess Be ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
This book is good if you have an interest in queen Victoria's life with her youngest daughter kept at her side after Alberts death. This is the Story of Beatrice's life via her diaries, letters and official palace papers as well as her mothers. The author has nothing to base his thoughts regarding how Beatrice felt because Beatrice didn't share those feelings. She rewrote her mothers diaries "so not to share" intimate palace details. Overall I think it does give the reader an insight to princess ...more
Jul 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I'm really into the Royal family at the moment, so when my sister went to the Isle of Wight she bought me this book on Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, Beatrice. To start I found it quite tough going as I wasn't too keen on the author's style of writing. Also because I had just finished a book about Queen Victoria the first part of this book just repeated info that I had already read. But by the end I did enjoy the book more. I think I got used to the style of writing because it didn't seem t ...more
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Woof, where to begin? I understand that Beatrice's life was completely dominated by her mother, but I would have hoped that the author could have eeked out some kind of identity for her. I felt like this book was about Victoria and Beatrice was a side character; that this was about the second half of Victoria's life, post-Albert. The author had good intentions, but struggled to move the story forward; constantly going backwards before moving into the future. In non-fiction, I find that to be ext ...more
Diane Heath
This book varied between a 2 and a 3 more than between 3 and 4. May be more the author than the subject. The author seemed to have an axe to grind about Victoria and her parenting skills, or lack thereof. Honestly I skipped over some portions of some chapters because the presentation lacked interest. Mr Dennison claims that the once bright youngest child was raised in dullness and gloom after the death of Prince Albert. His book seemed to be written for dullness....
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs
Poor Beatrice! As Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, she became the unfortunate focus of all her mother's neuroses. Only in the isolated remove of Victoria's mourning household could such an evidently intelligent, capable young woman submit so totally to the Queen's needs. The Last Princess blends thorough research with a readable style, providing further insight into this wacky, powerful royal family.
Shawn Thrasher
BIG YAWN. I guess when you try to write a biography who essentially accomplished nothing useful or interesting but tending to the needs of one of history's neediest and most self absorbed mothers, then the biography itself is going to be pretty non-useful and uninteresting. The first fourth of the book - that's all I could stomach reading, people -- was completely devoted to Princess Beatrice's childhood - and unless you are a kid, reading about the lives of kids is particularly unenthralling.
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Matthew Dennison is the author of five critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, including Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West, a Book of the Year in The Times, Spectator, Independent and Observer. He is a contributor to Country Life and lives in the United Kingdom.