This is the story of Mary Cornwallis-West, who was called Patsy by her family and close friends. Beautiful, exciting, high class and Irish born, she married when she was sixteen and had a long affair with Queen Victoria's son, Edward, the Prince of Wales. Thirty years later, in 1915, a young shell-shocked soldier, Patrick Barrett, was transferred home to North Wales to convalesce, where he was to begin a passionate affair with Patsy. She used her influence to help Patrick find promotion within the army, but, as the casualties of war mounted up, the lurid detail of their relationship was used to shame Patsy and her War Office consorts before parliament and the press. Quoting from documents and letters of the period and using a novelist's imaginative flair, Tim Coates has vividly reconstructed the life and dramatic times of one of the most beautiful society women of the Edwardian era.
A former bookseller, Tim Coates is the editor and publisher of a series of historic papers from the archives of the British and American governments. This is his first book for Bloomsbury.