Who wants transparency when you can have magic? Who wants prose when you can have poetry? Pull away the veil and what are you left with? An ordinary young woman of modest ability and little imagination. But wrap her up like this, anoint her with oil, and hey, presto, what do you have? A goddess.

Smoke and Mirrors


I have nothing to hide from you. Nothing. Porchey is a friend and yes, there are those who would have preferred me to marry him. Indeed, marriage with him might have been easier. Might have even worked better than ours. But to everyone’s regret and frustration the only person I have ever loved is you.

Princess Victoria of Battenberg, née Princess of Hesse, with her husband, eldest daughter, Alice, and her family. 

Seated from left to right: Irene, Elizabeth ‘Ella’, Victoria (with Alice on her lap), Grand Duke Serge of Russia (Ella’s husband) and Louis (Victoria’s father). 

Standing: Ernest Louis, Louis (Victoria’s husband) and Alix (future Empress of Russia)