Drawing on a vast amount of original family documents, including more than 7,000 letters between the Empress and the Queen, Pakula offers an absorbing portrait of a brilliant, determined woman. Vicky, as she was known to her family and friends, was trained by her father, Prince Albert, in the principles of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary government. Sent to Germany with the mission of carrying these liberal concepts back to the land of Albert's birth, the seventeen-year-old encountered the rigidities of a hidebound Prussian court and the "blood and iron" policies of Otto von Bismarck. Vicky's major ally in spreading enlightened liberalism was her husband, the handsome Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, heir to the Prussian and German thrones. A fine general who did not believe in war, Fritz, as he was known, adored Vicky. But their eldest son, the man who would become Kaiser Wilhelm II, turned against his parents, allying himself with the militarism his ultraconservative grandfather and the anti-British foreign policy of Bismarck. Mounting the throne after the untimely death of his father, the young Kaiser abandoned his mother and went on to wage a ruinous war against her beloved England.