26 SEPTEMBER 1998, Page 32

Victoria's values

Sir: In an otherwise impeccable review of John Pollock's new biography of Lord Kitchener (Books, 12 September), Allan Mallinson was wrong to state that Queen Victoria was Kitchener's 'greatest support- er' who advanced his career to 'the highest ranks'.

As the prime minister, Lord Salisbury, wrote to the war secretary, Lord Lans- downe, on 28 September 1900 over the question of the new commander-in-chief in India, `HM takes a very strong line against Kitchener for India and swears nothing shall induce her to consent to it, because she thinks his manners are too ferocious.' It was Salisbury who had spotted Kitchener's potential as early as 1878 and championed his career, but he could not take up the Indian appointment until after the Queen's death.

Andrew Roberts

2 Tite Street, London SW3