This work is based on the biographical notice of Queen Victoria which was published in the third Supplementary Volume of the 'Dictionary of National Biography' in October 1901. I undertook that article at the earnest request of the public-spirited proprietor of the Dictionary, the late Mr. George Smith, who impressed on me the imperative need of observing in the notice of the Queen that sense of proportion and that regard for exact detail which distinguished other contributions to the 'Dictionary,' and were essential characteristics of its general scheme. I set to work on the memoir with some misgiving. I was fully conscious of its difficulty. But I did what I could to execute the task in the spirit in which it was confided to me.
The article in the 'Dictionary' was favourably received on its publication by the press and the public as a first serious attempt at an exhaustive account of the Queen's long and varied life, and of her relations with public affairs.