For more than a century Buckingham Palace suppressed the facts about the illicit marriage between the twice-widowed Catholic Maria Fitzherbert and the Prince of Wales, the future George IV. Rumor and scandal began immediately when she met the accomplished if already slightly dissolute Prince of Wales, and even in her obituary, the Times of London pronounced the marriage either a cruel imposition to silence the scruples of a virtuous though weakminded woman, or an hypocritical pretext adopted by the lady herself to cover her shame." The Maria that emerges in the pages of biographer James Munson's pages is neither the unprincipled temptress of her critics nor the romantic heroine of her advocates but rather a complex woman of strong principles, remarkable practicality, iron will, and genuine virtue. For as resolutely as the prince pursued her, Maria steadfastly refused to become his mistress. However much he might want her or she him, she wanted marriage more. Thus was Maria thrustinto the political intrigues that underlay the Regency crisis and reign of George IV as well as into one of the most bizarre chapters in the history of the English monarchy. Eight pages of black-and-white photographs add to this "... excellent, entertaining biography-cum-history of this bizarre episode in the history of the English monarchy."-Booklist (starred) "By far the most exhaustive account of its subject yet written... ."-The Sunday Telegraph "Relevant and engaging ... Fitzherbert and herprince make for a lively tale."-Rocky Mountain News "A life given lively treatment here."-Publishers Weekly"