Helena has been much ignored by biographers. There has been only 1 considered biography a few years ago, and it was not illuminating or an easy read. Helena herself, was probably the quietest and least inspiring of Queen Victoria's daughters. But that doesn't mean she wasn't actually inspiring, she just had a lot of competition from her sisters. She did not rule a country, she did not edit her mothers' diaries and she did not become an artist - all achievements by her siblings. What she did do was carve out a role for herself as the first active British Princess who used her position and privilege to help those less fortunate than herself. It would be crass to describe her as the Princess Diana of her day but what she did was create that role - the female Royal interested in the sick, hospitals, children. We are so used to that image these days that we forget that in Helena's day, she would normally have stayed at home and done a bit of knitting for soldiers at the front. Helena and her sisters were very much the leaders of female emancipation. I have read much on 19th century Royal history and up to now, had pretty much ignored Helena. John's biography has made me rethink her. As always, it's a well written story that moves effortlessly through her life and is a joy to read. But what John has done here is make me reconsider a Princess I thought I knew well. I bought myself my first tablet in order to read this book. Money well spent!