Princess Diana is seen as the first member of the British royal family to tear up the rulebook, and the Duchess of Cambridge is modernising the monarchy in strides. But before them was another who paved the way. Born in 1897, Princess Mary was one of the hardest-working members of the royal family, known for her no-nonsense philosophy. During the First World War she came into her own, launching an appeal to furnish every British troop and sailor with a Christmas gift, and training as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital. As the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, she would live to see not only two of her brothers ascend the throne but also her niece Queen Elizabeth II. In the first biography in decades, Elisabeth Basford offers a fresh appraisal of a princess who redefined the title for the modern age.