Monday, November 21, 2011

Das Fürstliche Haus Hohenzollern

What a wonderful addition to my library ... and yours, too!   Das Fürstliche Haus Hohenzollern Private Einblicke in die Fotalben is a superb book, from start to finish. 

Yes, there are few misidentified photos -- easily correctable for the next edition -- but on balance, this book strikes a golden shot, wonderful glimpses into the photograph collection belonging to the Princely family of Hohenzollern.

German publisher Gmeiner was given access to the private family albums of the princely house of Hohenzollern.  The book is divided into seven chapters: Writing in Light, The Imperial Prussian House, Castles and Residences, Celebrations and Recreation at Court, Small Worlds and Related Royal Houses.

Oh,  did I tell you the book's text and captions are in German and English.  Woo hoo!  

The authors, Karen Kuehl and Anette Hahnel, offer a perspective on how the Hohenzollerns adopted the use of the camera, especially from Karl Anton, Prinz of Hohenzollern.

One of the oldest photos in the collection is from 1858, and shows Ferdinand II, Pedro V and Queen Stephanie of Portugal.  The photo was taken at the time of Pedro and Stephanie's wedding near Sintra.  Princess Stephanie, born a Princess of Hohenzollern, died only a year after her marriage. Her husband died a year later from cholera.

There is a wonderful family group photo taken at Doorn on the occasion of Kaiser Wilhelm II's  75th birthday.

The Romanian royal family, a branch of the princely family, are also included in this book.  There are also photographs of more recent members of the princely family, including a rather sweet photograph of twin sisters, Princesses Maria Adelgunde and Maria Antonia licking a tree.  

The princely family owns Schloss Sigmaringen and several other residences, including Schloss Umkirch and Joseflust.   The Small world chapter focuses on the children of the family.  My favorite photo in this chapter is from 1895 and shows Prince Carol of Romania, Hereditary Prince Friedrich Victor, Prince Franz Joseph and Princess Auguste Viktoria of Hohenzollern.  There are also several photos of the present Prince of Hohenzollern, Karl Friedrich, as a child.

160 pages.  Publisher by Gmeiner.  The cost is €19.90.   The best way to order is from  Overseas postage is not prohibitive, and if you have a credit card set up for or, you can breeze through the checkout .. it will be in German, but that should not be a major issue.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Fine Romance

British royal wedding have a way of creating a mini-publishing industry with the publication of books about the couple getting married -- and royal weddings in general.

This was the case of the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981 with the publication of dozens of books about royal weddings.

The same can now be said about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding.  There have been at least a dozen books published about the couple's wedding (not including all those special magazines), as well as several books on Royal Weddings.

Australian-British publisher Hardie Grant is the latest to jump on the wagon with A Fine Romance (£20.00), 200-page book that covers 75 years of royal weddings and the most recent British Royal Wedding.

The book opens with the 1930s and the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  The only royal wedding of the 1940s was the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.   Although there were several major royal weddings of the 1950s (Ragnhild of Norway, Josephine Charlotte of Belgium and Jean of Luxembourg, Prince Albert of Belgium and Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria), the publishers concentrate on the wedding of American film star, Grace Kelly, and Prince Rainier of Monaco.

There were more than a dozen of royal weddings in the reigning royal houses in the 1960s.  This volume focuses on the marriages of Princess Margaret, Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophie of Greece, Princess Irene of the Netherlands and Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parma, Princess Anne Marie of Denmark and King Constantine II of Greece, and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and Claus von Amsberg.

Princess Anne's wedding leads the chapter for the 1970s, followed by the weddings of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Princess Caroline of Monaco.

It is not a surprise that the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer is the primary focus of the 1980s.  Eight pages of photographs, followed by two pages on the wedding of the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson.

The two marriages featured for the 1990s are the weddings of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones and the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Belgium.

Four weddings are featured in the section for the 2000s: the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway, the Prince of Orange and Princess Maxima, the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark and the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, but not the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Asturias, which I consider a major gaffe on the part of the publishers. 

The first part of the book ends with the 2010 marriage of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling.

Part Two is about the romance, engagement and wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  Plenty of color photos of the couple at university, their engagement and the wedding.

The photographs are wonderful, and are enhanced by 20 double-page spreads. 

I think the book would have been better if the publishers had chosen to include all of the weddings that are included in the time lines.  They erred grievously by not including the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Asturias.

The timeline is not complete.  The 1950s include the wedding of the present King of the Belgians, but the wedding of his older brother, King Baudouin, does not even get a mention in the 1960 timeline.

The text also should have been more carefully vetted.  It is Archduke, and not Arch-duke.  Piccadilly,  not Picadilly, for example.  

A Fine Romance can be captivating, which is largely due to the photographs.  But I think the book could have been a lot better if the publishers had decided to provide a more comprehensive look at European royal weddings of the 20th century, a book that would have included all of the reigning royal houses. 

It was a grievous error to exclude the Asturias' marriage, which took place only two weeks after the Danish royal wedding.

In spite of the omissions,  A Fine Romance is a very lovely book, thanks to the superb collection of wedding photos.

A Fine Romance was edited by Lisette du Plessis.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Royalty Weekend in Ticehurst


Ticehurst and Flimwell Church of England Primary School,
Steellands Rise, Ticehurst, East Sussex, TN5 7DH, UK

Saturday and Sunday, 14-15 April 2012

Speakers include:

Coryne Hall on the Romanovs

Griffith Henninger on The Last Empress & The First World War

Neil Rees on Escaping Revolution & Awaiting Restoration – the story of King Louis XVIII of France in Exile at Hartwell House, near Aylesbury 1809-1814

Helen Rappaport on The Trouble with Albert

Richard Thornton on The Harrington sisters – from barmaids to princesses

Christophe Vachaudez on The Belgian Royal Family Through Photography

Charlotte Zeepvat on Royal Costume

There will also be other royal authors present including Robert Golden and Janet Ashton

Cost: £100 for all lectures, tea, coffee and snacks, two buffet lunches & one evening meal with wine.

Cheques in sterling payable to "Mrs S M Woolmans" and to be sent to 12 Lockswood, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, UK, GU24 OHL. Payment can be accepted by PayPal for overseas attendees. Further details from or call 0044 (0) 208 319 0696.

Books on the Romanian Royal Family

During my week visit to Romania to attend the 90th birthday celebrations for King Michael,  I visited several bookstores, looking for books on the Romanian royal family.  Much to my delight, I came home with several nice books.

The first book I found was Familia Regala o Historie in imagini (The Royal Famiy in History and images), which was published by Editura Cetaatea de Scaun in 2009.   This book was the companion volume to an exhibition at the National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest.

The text is in Romanian.   The book has 168 pages, and includes an exellent array of photographs of the royal family, beginning with Carol I and Elisabeth, followed by Ferdinand and Marie,  Michael, Carol and Helen, Michael and Anne and their children.  The exhibition also included images of Ferdinand and Marie's younger children, Elisabeth, Marie, Nicolas, Ileana and Mircea.

I bought the book at an open air market in Bucharest's Old Town. The cost was 40 Ron (about $13.00).   However, the book is still available from the publisher.

It was at Humanitas, one of Bucharest's better known bookstores, where I found Coroana română - la 140 de ani, which was published in 2008 by Curtea Veche.  The text of this book was written  by Crown Princess Margarita and Prince Radu.   The book celebrated the 140th anniversary of the Romanian monarchy, beginning with the succession of Carol I, who was born a prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

The majority of photographs in this book come from the Royal Family's private collection, and includes all members of the Royal Family, including King Michael and his family.   An excellent compilation of historical and modern images,  Romanian text.

The price of this book is 85 Ron  (about $27.00.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Robert Massie to give talk at Hillwood

November 29. 2011

Book Talk & Signing: Robert K. Massie Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
History offers few stories richer in drama than that of Catherine the Great. In this newly released book, the eternally fascinating woman is returned to life—as an obscure young German princess who became the the bullied wife of Peter III, and finally the Empress of Russia. Ruling Russia for three decades, Catherine rose to become one of the most powerful women in history, applying principles of the Enlightenment to a new Russian constitution, pioneering public health, and established the Hermitage Museum, housing her impressive art collections.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author or Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs, returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, rich with historical accuracy, depth of understanding, felicity of style, mastery of detail, ability to shatter myth, and a rare genius for finding and expressing the human drama in extraordinary lives.

$20, $7 College Students. Free for Members, including a Members-only reception with the author from 5:30-6:30 pm.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

David Linley books

Today is the 50th birthday of Viscount Linley.  To honor his birth, here is a selection of Linley's books:

And his website: