'Facts, Not Opinions' - Agnes Strickland

Mary Delorme considers the career and contribution of a pioneering female historian, who widened her scope beyond that of the traditional romantic biographer.

'Early in this year [1843] Mr Frederick Devon made known to Agnes the Queen's wish to add her autograph to her Majesty's collection.'

Queen Victoria's collection, begun in childhood, included such valuable specimens as Louis Quatorze, Madame de Sevigne, and Racine, and the popular historian, Agnes Strickland, was very gratified.

Her ambition had been constant for most of her forty-seven years; to be a famous writer. History was a favourite subject, and her father an enthusiastic teacher. He was tutor to his nine children, of whom Agnes was the second. With so many siblings to be entertained and instructed, it seems inevitable that one of her earliest publications was a book for children: Historical Tales of Royal British Children.

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