Books: Corpulent Voluptuary

GAY MONARCH (378 pp.) -Virginia Cowles-Harper ($5).

When Britain's King Edward VII asked a "pretty young lady" to partner him at bridge, she declined, saying sweetly: "I am afraid, Sir, I can't even tell a King from a Knave." Most of Edward's biographers have had the same trouble: none has satisfactorily explained how and why the monarch whom Rudyard Kipling called "a corpulent voluptuary" was also modern Britain's most agile royal diplomat and plenipotentiary. Now, Boston-bred Virginia Cowles has shown that an American woman may look at a King with more understanding than many...

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