Monday, June 18, 2018

The Quest for Queen Mary edited by Hugo Vickers



James Pope-Hennessy's Queen Mary, is arguably the gold standard for royal biographies.   The commission came from Sir Owen Moreshead. the Royal Librarian, on the recommendation of Lady Cynthia Colville, the late Queen's long-serving lady-in-waiting, some months after the death of King George V's consort in 1953.

It would not be an easy task for the experienced biographer to bring to fruition the  resplendent life of May of Teck.   Few Queen consorts have an official biographer.  But Queen Mary, daughter of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, a first cousin of Queen Victoria, and Duke Franz of Teck, a morganatic scion of the house of Württemberg, was certainly worthy of the attention.

Writing an official biography allows the biographer to have access to personal papers and to people involved in the subject's life.  Pope-Hennessy met and talked with people who knew Mary in her various stages of life - from Württemberg cousins to courtiers and her surviving children, including the Duke of Windsor.  This journey - to homes in the UK and abroad - became the quest to learn more about Queen Mary.   Pope-Hennessy embarked on a massive project, sifting through all of the conversations, all of the papers, to write what is a comprehensive, yet very open biography of Queen Mary.

Mary's personality was largely formed by her own interactions with her family and with travel and life experiences.   Pope-Hennessy was perfectly placed to write an insightful and in-depth profile of the formidable queen.

This was achieved through Pope-Hennessy's interviews and copious notes.   Not everything made the final version of the biography.  His notes and papers for the biography were not allowed to be published for 50 years. 

The interviews were considered  "confidential."  Pope-Hennessy believed that the interviews were a "not interesting study of moral psychology as it was and as it largely remains today."

It would take a skilled biographer in his own right to sift through and offer a contemporary perspective on Pope-Hennessy's conversations in his quest to find the real Mary.    Acclaimed biographer Hugo Vickers is the perfect person to take on the challenge of bringing Pope-Hennessy's quest to our time,  60 years after the book's publication.

Hugo separates The Quest for Queen Mary  into two sections:  The Commission and Interviews.  The former was written by Hugo while the interviews were conducted and written by Pope-Hennessy.

Hugo provides extensive footnotes for all the interviews, which will prove helpful to new readers who are unfamiliar with many of the references to events and other people mentioned in the interviews.

The interviews offer further insight and history, and a but of humor, too.  The Queen's niece, The Duchess of Beaufort told Pope-Hennessy that May was "very proud of her legs and ankles.  As a girl she would jump on a sofa at games so people could see them."

The Duchess also noted that Mary was "fundamentally very very German."

According to her third son, Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, Queen Mary loathed Balmoral. "Hated it.  She had nothing to do in Scotland," he said.

The Quest for Queen Mary is one of the best royal books in the last few years.  One caveat.  Please do not read this book unless you have read Queen Mary at least one time.   A further appreciation for this biography will come after reading The Quest for Queen Mary.

It is rare for a biographer to share his research after the publication the book.  The Quest for Queen Mary is a historical treat. Savor it.   After reading this book, you will have a further appreciation for the magnificence that is James Pope-Hennessy's Queen Mary.

Hugo Vickers and James Pope-Hennessy have allowed us - the readers and historians and biographers - to be be the flies on the wall. 

The Quest for Queen Mary was published by Zuleika  Books.



Friday, June 15, 2018

Books about Friedrich III

Friedrich III, German Emperor and King of Prussia, died  on June 15, 1888.


http://royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.com/2018/06/friedrich-iii-is-dead.html


Here are several recommended books about his life.   Patricia Kollander's book, albeit pricey. is the best of these books.  Highly recommended.


If you order any of these titles through my links, I make a few pennies ... you can also use the search boxes on the right to order from Amazon ... not just books.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Harry & Meghan Royal wedding books and magaznes

There are already a selection of royal wedding publications -- and there will be more.   This post provides the  links to books and magazines available on Amazon and Amazon.co.uk.  If you click on the links and order from these links -- or use the search box on the right -- I make a few pennies per sale ... seriously, a few pennies, but it does add up.   When I reach £25.00 in earnings from Amazon.co.uk, I receive a £25.00 gift card.  It takes a few years to reach this amount.

You can order whatever you want from Amazon, but please use the search boxes to start your searches and purchases, as this is how I earn pennies ... the search boxes or the direct links on Royal Books or Royal Musings.   Thanks and enjoy!


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Crown from the Crowd Now available.








"Commissioned by Photobox, Europe’s largest photographic community, The Crown from the Crowd is a ground-breaking project to create a unique photographic biography and picture archive of the Royal Family - as seen exclusively through the camera lens of the Great British Public over the last century.

Jennie Bond, who served as the BBC’s Royal Correspondent during 14 of the most turbulent years the monarchy has endured, led a nationwide search to plunder the people’s archive of unseen photographs of the Royal Family taken at any one of the estimated 50,000 royal engagements since the Second World War.

The public response was overwhelming with over 2000 photographs submitted dating back to pictures of Queen Victoria taken in the 1890s. The book features over 250 images across eight chapters ranging from Country Life to Pomp & Ceremony, each with a fascinating introduction by best-selling author and social historian Dominic Sandbrook.

Created to commemorate the forthcoming Royal Wedding, the first edition of The Crown from the Crowd will be presented to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as a ‘gift from the people', ahead of their big day on Saturday 19th May.

The Crowd from the Crowd is available to buy from Tuesday 8th May for £25 with 100% of the profit donated to Help for Heroes.


The book is not available in stores.  The only way to order it is through the publisher.  Postage is higher outside the UK.

https://www.photobox.co.uk    On top right is the tab My Photobox.  Click on that and then click, Join Now.  You need to have an account to order the book.

The book was inspired by Karen Anvil's marvelous photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Sandringham.

http://royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.com/2017/12/a-wonderful-photo-meghan-makes-her.html

@Rose O'Brien

@Paul Ratcliffe

@David Butler 

@Marlene Koenig


https://www.crownfromthecrowd.com

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Harry & Meghan Love Story Coloring Book and Harry and Meghan Paper Dolls


It is no surprise that book and magazine publishers are rushing out Harry and Meghan royal wedding publications.  Royal Book News will try to report and review on what I find here in the USA and in May in England.  Yes, I will be in Windsor for the wedding.

So far my favorites are Harry and Meghan A Love Story Coloring Book ($9.99) and Harry and Meghan Paper Dolls ($9.99) from Dover Publications, which has been publishing paper doll books for decades.  I remember getting the Charles and Diana Paper dolls book back in 1981.

Dover has paid attention to detail with both publications.  The paper dolls are a delight.  Immaculate detail has been paid to Harry and Meghan's outfits.

Eileen Rudisill Miller has drawn 14 outfits including Meghan's engagement dress, her Christmas dress, the coat and dress that she wore in Nottingham and Henry's Blues and Royals uniform.  Each costume includes the designer information and where it was worn.




Oh, I wish I were a little girl!   The adult in me, however, says it is better to display the Paper Doll book as the drawings are so good.

I am glancing at the coloring book and wondering ... where are my crayons?

Little girls and ... yes, we big girls will enjoy the paper dolls and the coloring book.  Seriously, I need crayons.

Kudos to Dover!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsnb_LdCo6Y


Dover is offering readers of Royal Book News and Royal Musings a 25% discount on orders.  Please use the code WDBD when you order  -- and you must use the link below for this special promotion.

http://www.doverpublications.com/harryandmeghan?utm_source=Dov&utm_medium=WebAd&utm_campaign=WDBD

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dynasty by Christina Oxenberg





Christina Oxenberg visited Serbia for the first time in 2014.  This visit offered a profound change in her life that would lead to an inspired introduction to her own heritage - half American, half royal.

Christina is the younger daughter of the late Howard Oxenberg and Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, herself the daughter of the late Prince Paul of Yugoslavia and Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark.

While her older sister, Catherine, focused on an acting career,  Christina became a writer and published several books, including Taxi and Royal Blue.   Now living in Key West, Florida,  she has taken her wanderlust to a new dimension in her latest book, Dynasty (Quartet Books: £20.00), a delightful tale, combined with the history of the Karageorgevich family and Christina's own life.

Prince Paul was the only child of Prince Arsene Karageoregivich and Countess Aurora Demidova, a Russian heiress.  Prince Paul inherited his mother's fortune, including property in Italy.   Arsene and Aurora's marriage soon collapsed and both parents largely abandoned their son and Paul was raised by the future King Peter I of Serbia, the father of Alexander III.

Arsene and his male-line descendants, however, do not have dynastic rights, according to the house law, established in the early 1930s.

Paul studied in Britain,  became friends with members of the British royal family and aristocracy.  He was a noted art collector and he was pro-British.  He married a Greek princess, Olga, whose younger sister, Marina married the Duke of Kent, thus furthering the ties between the two royal houses.

In Serbia,  Alexander married Princess Marie (Mignon) of Romania, the second daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie, a British princess by birth.  Paul's life changed inexorably in 1934 when Alexander was assassinated during a state visit to Marseilles.  Alexander had prepared for the possibility that he could die before his eldest son, Peter, reached his majority, and, in his will, named Paul as one of three regents for Peter.

This is not a straightforward history of the Serbian royal house.  Christina Oxenberg is taking readers through her journey as she learns about her family's history, embracing it with such delight.

At times, Christina repeats herself -- telling the same story in separate chapters -- and also leaves us hanging with a reference to Queen Marie's relationship with her eldest son without further elaboration.

I love that Christina quotes from her grandmother Princess Olga's diaries. [Christina, have you thought of editing your grandmother's diaries for publication?]

Paul's Regency ended abruptly when Peter, approaching his majority, took control.  Within days the Germans marched in Yugoslavia and the royal family went into exile. In 1945,  Marshal Tito ended the monarchy.    The British government turned on Paul. He spent the war under house arrest in Kenya and South Africa.   It took a lot of persuading for the British government to allow Olga to come to England to spend time with Marina after the death of the Duke of Kent in an air crash in 1942.

Thanks to the valiant fight of Christina's mother, Princess Elizabeth,   Prince Paul's good name was restored.

I wish Christina had included footnotes for the many names in her book.  I know who Lady Zia Werhner was, but will the average reader.  The publisher should have made sure that the book was indexed allowing researchers to go straight back to a reference without having to spend time turning pages to find what the reference.

There are a few silly mistakes including saying Queen Marie was born in Bucharest.  She was born in Gotha, where her mother, then Crown Princess Marie of Romania, was staying as she had been a naughty girl and King Carol had banished her from the court.

That said,  Dynasty is fascinating and an enjoyable read.  I have been to Serbia three times as the guest of Crown Prince Alexander, who was very helpful to Christina as she embraced her own Serbian heritage.  I appreciate Christina's inquisitive nature to learn more about Serbia, a stunningly beautiful country, and embrace her family's role as members of the royal family.  She has no better advocate than her mother, Princess Elizabeth, who was the first to return to live in the country, and now lives in her parents' villa, which was returned to her several years ago.  Elizabeth worked tirelessly for years to bring out the truth about her father, fighting to open British government records. 

It suffices to say that Winston Churchill and others were rather open about smearing Paul's good name.  Elizabeth succeeded in making this public and proving the British were wrong.

You will enjoy Christina's delightful journey, infused with history and family stories.  May I recommend that readers continue your own journey to learn more about the Serbian royal family. 



Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Royalty Digest quarterly - yes you must subscribe




RDQ 1/2018 is being printed as we speak. This is a particularly fascinating issue, which you don't want to miss (so, please check the status of your subscription) Apart from Charlotte Zeepvat's family album, NORWAY this time, there is also an article about the Viceroys of Norwayd 1814-1891 by Trond Norén Isaksen.;Marlene A. Eilers Koenig writes about Grand Duke Kirill of Russia, while Elizabeth Jane Timms tells the story of Princess Alix of Hesse's visit to Harrogate, prior to her wedding to the Tsar of Russia. Infanta Beatriz of Spain - the elder daughter of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Ena - is the subject of an initiated biography by Datiu F. Salvia Ocaña and in the series "Little-Known Royals", Princess Dagmar (Jr) of Denmark is portrayed by Coryne Hall. Finally, and regrettably, we have to say goodbye to John Wimble's and David Horbury's magnificent series of Romanian Royal letters.


  https://www.royalbooks.se