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It would have been impossible, within the limits of this little book, to narrate, even in barest outline, all the events of the Queen's long life and reign. In attempting to deal with so large a subject in so short a space, I have therefore thought it best to dwell on what may be considered the formative influences on the Queen's character in her early life, and in later years to refer only to political and personal events, in so far as they illustrate her character and her conception of her political functions. Even with this limitation, I am fully aware how far short I have come of being able to produce a worthy record of a noble life. I will only add that I begun this little book with a feeling towards Her Majesty of sincere veneration and gratitude, and that this feeling has been deepened by studying more closely than I had done before the ideal place of the Crown in the English Constitution, as a power above party, and the important part the Queen has taken now for nearly sixty years in making this ideal a reality. It is not too much to say that, by her sagacity and persistent devotion to duty, she has created modern constitutionalism, and more than any other single person has made England and the English monarchy what they now are.
A list of the books referred to will be found after the chronological table. Among them it is almost unneces
sary to say that I am especially indebted to “The Early Years of the Prince Consort,” by General Grey, and to “The Life of the Prince Consort," by Sir Theodore Martin. I also desire to express my respectful thanks to H. R. H. Princess Christian, for help very graciously and kindly given in the selection of a portrait for this little volume.