Thursday, December 27, 2012 has Guillaume & Stephanie

You can order the German language edition of Stephane Bern's Guillaume & Stephanie, which was published by St. Paul, a Luxembourg-based publisher.  The book is also available in a French language edition from Hoogstraten and other sources. 
If you have an Amazon with one of the other Amazons (US,Canada,UK, etc.), you can order this and other titles from without the need to set up a new account. Just login with your Amazon login and password!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

All I want for Christmas ...

Dear Santa,

I have been very good this year.  Really.   I do not need anything.  I have more than enough clothes in my closet, ditto the shoes.  I am making my really tasty chocolate chip cookies to give to friends (and I will leave some in the mail box for the mailman, too).

Dropping hints to friends does not work, so I thought I would try the direct approach to you.  I do not need it, but I would like an Amazon or a Barnes & Noble gift card so I can buy books ... to read ...

Yes, of course, I will leave cookies for you on the plate that says "Cookies for Santa," and in the Mug "Milk for Santa", you will find  Port City Pale Ale, a local Alexandria, VA, beer.  It's really good.  You will love it.

Carrots for the reindeer.  Give Rudolph a hug for me. You know much I love him! 

Lots of love,


Monday, December 10, 2012

The Descendants of Charles II vol 1

Now out from Amazon. Dan Willis' new book, The Descendants of Charles II Vol 1

I expect to be reviewing it in a few weeks.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Grand Alexis of Russia

To learn more about Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, and especially his visit to the United States, here are several books:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Her Majesty by Christopher Warwick & Reuel Gordon

Dear Santa,

I would like this book for Christmas.  I have been very good this year.

Thank you, 


PS: do you want a beer with the cookies or milk?


Must read ... must have books on the Hesse and By Rhine family

An amazing book of letters, offering new insight into Alexandra's mind and personality. 

David Duff's Hessian Tapestry remains one of my most favorite of all royal books. A must read, a must have for a good royal library

Christopher Warwick's biography is sympathetic, realistic, and offers a compelling, detailed portrait of Grand Duchess Elisabeth.

Manfred Knodt was a Lutheran pastor who lived in Darmstadt.  He had a great interest in the Hesse and By Rhine family

Unfortunately, neither of these books were translated into English, although both deserve English translations.   Erinnertes (Memories) is Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig's memoirs.   Margaret Prinzessin von Hessen und Bei Rhein commemorates the life of the British-born and much loved member of the Hesse and by Rhine family.


This book should be your Christmas present to yourself. If you have not read it, you should ... seriously.

Monday, November 26, 2012

2013 -Royalty Weekend Ticehurst


Ticehurst and Flimwell Church of England Primary School,

Steellands Rise, Ticehurst, East Sussex, TN5 7DH, UK

Saturday and Sunday, 6-7 April 2012

Speakers include:

Margreeth Popp on Princess Marianne of the Netherlands

Neil Rees on The Duke of Buckingham and the French Royal Family at Stowe House

Ted Rosvall on The Lesser Known and Hidden Away Royals

Christophe Vachaudez on More Belgian Royal Jewels

John Wimbles on Marie Coburg’s Last Visit to England

Charlotte Zeepvat with one of her magnificent slide lectures

And Richard Thornton who is planning a fiendish quiz

There will also be other royal authors present including Janet Ashton, Robert Golden, Coryne Hall and Ilana Miller

Booksellers van Hoogstraten of the Hague will be in attendance, and there will be a bring and buy Royal Ephemera sale.

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

£110 for those paying in sterling before Feb 28th 2013

£115 for those paying with Paypal; or sterling later than Feb 28th 2013

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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The official launching of Lady Pamela Hick's book

The official coming out party for Lady Pamela Hick's second volume of memoirs.

Daughter of Empire has been published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Palace and the Bunker by Frank Millard

In 2006, Jonathon Petropolous wrote Royals and the Reich, a largely definitive book on the German royals, especially members of the Princely house of Hesse, who were active and willing Nazis.  Royals and Reich is a  major achievement, a fantastically researched book.

One would have hope that Frank Millard's The Palace and the Bunker, which is subtitled Royal Resistance to Hitler, would be the companion, the other side of the story, to Royals and the Reich.  Sadly, the book is not the same league.  A real disappointment.

Millard's book is divided into two parts.  The first part focuses on led to the rise of National Socialism and the growth of German resistance.  The princely resistance fighters form the second part of the book: Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, Prince Hubertus of Lowenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, and several Habsburgs and Hohenbergs.

This book is poorly written, poorly researched, and very disjointed.  Millard tends to ramble a lot, and he largely relied on English sources despite the fact that many of the primary sources for the history of this time period are in German and other European languages.

And then there are the really bad mistakes that an editor should have caught.  Millard writes that that Prince Louis Ferdinand was offered British citizenship after the war "as he was a descendant of Queen Victoria."  Prince Louis Ferdinand would not have been entitled to British citizenship due to his descent from Queen Victoria.  He was a British national by virtue of his descent from the Electress Sophia of Hanover.

King Haakon VII is described as the younger brother of the King of Sweden, when in fact, Haakon was the younger brother of King Christian X of Denmark. Millard identifies Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld as Queen Wilhelmina's husband, rather than her son-in-law.  At least, Millard got the year right for Bernhard's wedding, but he married Wilhelmina's only daughter, Juliana.

Prince Louis Ferdinand is said to be Crown Princess Cecilie's grandson.  He was her second son. 

The Palace and the Bunker is a simplistic effort about about a complex period in European history.  The resistance princes deserve something better.

The book was published by the History Press (£16.99).

I am puzzled by Millard having a Ph.D in history.  I hope this book was not his dissertation. 

I do recommend Royals the Reich, a masterful and scholarly work.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

'A Programme for the Reign': Press, Propaganda and Public Opinion at Russia's Last Coronation

'A Programme for the Reign': Press, Propaganda and Public Opinion at Russia's Last Coronation'  an electronic article by Greg King and Janet Ashton.  A definite recommendation!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guillaume & Stephanie by Stephane Bern

This book (with DVD) will be published by in two editions: French and German.   I do not know if the DVD will be all region or code free.

The book is available through pre-order.

Daughter of Empire by Lady Pamela Hicks

Oh, I so looking forward to reading the Memoirs of Lady Pamela Hicks, younger daughter of the late Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Weidenfeld & Nicolson is the publisher (£20.00)

The book also can be ordered from Amazon, which will start shipping in mid-December.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Queen Mother's letters

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother's official biographer, William Shawcross, has been given access to the late queen consort's correspondence.

Counting Our Blessings has been published by Macmillan.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Real Elizabeth by Andrew Marr

Andrew Marr's The Real Elizabeth (Henry Holt: $32.00) starts off rather slowly as an "intimate biography."   I was concerned by the number of genealogical mistakes, but this book is not a royal genealogy.  It is difficult for journalists like Marr to worry about grappling with little things, when the focus is more about the 60 years of Queen Elizabeth's reign.

Marr works his way through the 60 years: from the young Queen, finding her way and her role to the doyenne of her family, the country and the Commonwealth.   There is much sympathy for the Queen with the issues of her former daughters-in-law, for example.

There is mention of abdication, but Marr omits one salient fact: a sovereign cannot abdicate without an Act of Parliament.

The Real Elizabeth is a competent, thought-provoking look at the reign of the a very respected sovereign.  Marr is right: Britain is very lucky to have her.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Other books on Grand Duke Nicholas and Harriet Blackford


The Scandalous Mrs. Blackford and White Nights are historical novels.


Fanny Lear by Eva and Daniel McDonald

Some weeks ago, I received an email from Eva McDonald, the co-author of Fanny Lear Love and Scandal in Tsarist Russia, asking me if I was interested in reading the book.  She had read a post in Royal Musings about Grand Duke Nicholas Constantinovich, who was exiled to Uzbekistan, following the end of his relationship with American Harriet Blackford, who was also known as Fanny Lear.

I responded positively, and I soon received a copy of the book.  

Harriet Clarissima Ely was born in 1848 in Philadelphia.  According to the authors, she was a "strong, independent minded woman who refused to accept 19th century women's  lack of freedom."   At the age of sixteen, she married Beate Blackford.  A year after the marriage, Harriet gave birth to the couple's only child,  Caroline Holmes Ely Blackford.

Blackford, who worked as a railroad conductor, had a serious drinking problem, and died shortly after the birth of Caroline.  Harriet soon moved into a new realm, as she used her beauty and sophistication led her to pursue wealth through largely shady means.  She soon moved to London, where she could travel to Paris.  In 1875, she wrote her memoirs, Fanny Lear The Romance of an American in Russia.

This book was published in French, and never translated into English until the McDonald's tackled the task.  The translation forms the basis of their new book.  She was more than happy to write about how she met Grand Duke Nicholas and how she became his mistress, and all that followed. 

Nicholas was not the brightest member of the Romanov family, which is not saying much as few of the members of the Russian Imperial family were not known for their intellectual capabilities. 

Grand Duke Nicholas followed his own drummer.  He claimed to love Hattie, but his family were certainly not going to allow an American courtesan to become the wife of a Grand Duke. 

Nicholas was devoted to Hattie, calling her his little wife.  But it was not meant to be.  The Secret Police were also determined to keep them apart. Both were arrested, and Nicholas exiled.  Hattie was asked to leave the country.

The story of Nicholas's arrest and Hattie's deportation made the front pages throughout Europe.   Scandals involving royals sell papers.   After Hattie returned to Paris, she sat down and wrote her memoirs, which caused more consternation and more scandal.

Nicholas lived in exile in Tashkent until his death in 1918.  He married morganatically and had issue by his wives and mistresses.  Hattie died in a non-descript house in Nice in 1888.

I enjoyed Fanny Lear, but not without reservation.  The authors have done a fine job in translating Hattie's book.  They have also included contemporary documents from the National Archives.  The book includes portraits of Hattie and Nicholas.

But what is lacking from this book is scholarship.  The McDonalds are good story tellers, but they have erred by not combing through Hattie's own words and providing footnotes to describe the whos, the whats and the wheres.  I know a lot about royalty so I was able to figure out who Hattie was talking about. 

She writes about watching from the gallery the arrival of the guests to attend the wedding of Grand Duchess Marie. It took me a few minutes to realize she was writing about Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, only daughter of Alexander II, who was marrying Queen Victoria's second son, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

Thus, footnotes would have a welcomed addition to a fine book.  A good editor would also have massaged the manuscript, sussing out inconsistencies, such as two pages of nearly the same text ...

and then there is the question of Hattie's daughter, Caroline.  The McDonalds do not tell us what happened to her.  Hattie gives birth, husband dies, she uses her beauty and wiles to make money, ends up in Russia as the mistress of a Grand Duke and dies in Nice ... but whatever happened to Caroline?

Fanny Lear Love and Scandal is Tsarist Russia is a definite addition to any decent Romanov collection.  The book was published by IUniverse ($32.95).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Queen Alexandra: what to read

Sadly, and yes, tragically, for biographers and historians, Queen Alexandra, consort of Edward VII, did not leave much of a paper trail.   Both she and King Edward VII destroyed personal and private correspondence, diaries, and other papers.  Much of the carnage of Alexandra's personal papers was done by her friend and lady-in-waiting Charlotte Knollys.

This lack of material makes it difficult for historians and others to form a more detailed portrait of the Danish-born queen.

The best of the limited selection of books about Queen Alexandra is Georgina Battiscombe's Queen Alexandra, which was first published in 1968. 

Richard Hough shed no new light when he wrote Edward and Alexandra: Their Private and Public Lives (St. Martin's Press: 1993).  Apart from the already published books on the subjects,  Hough had nothing new to chew on.

There are also several hagiographies, books published within Alexandra's lifetime or shortly after her death.

George Arthur's Queen Alexandra was published by Chapman & Hall in 1934. 

W.R.H Trowbridge's Queen Alexandra was published by Fisher in 1923.

and finally,  David Duff's Alexandra: Princess and Queen (Collins: 1980). David Duff was a personal friend of mine.  I stayed at his home at Diss in Norfolk nearly every summer in the late 1970s and 1980s.  I did research for him, and made a few pounds to help defray my vacations.  His home was filled with royal memorabilia.  One year, he gave me a lovely signed photograph of Queen Mary, which hung on a wall in one of the loos.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A late summer roundup of new books

I am sure bookshelves are beginning to fill up with new books on the Duchess of Cambridge. I do not expect to discuss every new book on Kate, her fashions, and whatever else publishers think people want to read about the Duchess of Cambridge.

It really is too early for a full-scaled biography of the wife of the second in line to the throne.  Catherine has only been married a year, and she remains a part time royal.  This has been the plan.  She cannot be a full time royal when her  husband, the Duke of Cambridge, continues his career as a search and rescue pilot with the RAF.   (This is likely to change by the end of the year, as the Duke of Cambridge is expected to leave his RAF position and take on more royal duties.)

While browsing at the W.H. Smith's bookstore at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, east London, I bought Kate by Sean Smith (Simon & Schuster: £7.99).   This book was surprisingly good, well-researched, and timely,  Smith hits all the points of Catherine's life from her birth to her first year as the Duchess of Cambridge.   It must be said that the information is largely gleaned from publicly known resources.  No scandals, no secrets, just the information we already know.  Smith provides Kate's life in a neat and tidy biography that will appeal to her growing legion of fans.

Kate was published in paperback in the United Kingdom.

Kensington Palace has a fabulous new exhibit on Queen Victoria.  I admit to spending an entire day at the palace, as I wanted to take in everything.  There is no companion book to commemorate the exhibit.  Instead, the Historic Royal Palaces has published Victoria Revealed  500 Facts about the Queen and her world.   The price is £12.99. 

The 500 facts feature aspects of Victoria's life from her birth to her marriage, from her most interesting grandchildren to statues of Victoria around the world.

Lots of nice illustrations.  This book is sold at Kensington Palace's shops.

Marita A Panzer  is the author of Wittelsbacherinnin Fürstentocher einer euröpaischen Dynastie (Friedrich Puset: 22 Euros), a comprehensive history-cum-biography of nineteen distaff members of the Wittelsbach dynasty from Elisabeth (1227-1273) to Princess Theresa of Bavaria, daughter of Prince Luitpold.

Other Princesses who get the biographical treatment include the daughters of the Winter King (and Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I), who include Sophie, Electress of Hanover, and the duchesses in Bavaria: Helene (Princess of Thurn und Taxis), Elisabeth (Empress of Austria), Marie (Queen of the Two Sicilies), Mathilde (Countess Trani) and Sophie (Duchess of Alencon.)

These are brief, but informative biographies of women with distinct personalities.  None were sovereigns in their own right, but their lives were interesting nonetheless.  The author includes an excellent bibliography of source material (in German.)

The text is in German.  There are  no plans for an English language edition.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Marie A French Princess in Denmark one copy left

I have ONE COPY LEFT for sale through RBN  (Paypal only) for US sales  Just the US.  The price is $55.00 + $3.99 for postage.  Total $58.99  The price is set by Rosvall Royal Books.  If you live outside the United States, you can order the books from Hatchards in London or Hoogstraten in the Hague.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summ .. summ ... Summer reading

Looking for something good to read ... something you want to put in the bag to take to the pool or the beach  ...I recommend  The Last Boleyn is by Karen Harper.  This is a wonderful historical novel about Mary Boleyn, elder sister of Anne Boleyn.   Mary's life is far less known than her sister, who married Henry VIII,  was the mother of Elizabeth I, and was put to death on trumped up charges.

Mary was Henry's mistress but she was a survivor. She survived an arranged marriage, court intrigues and politics, and she eventually married for love.    The Last Boleyn was published in paperback (Three River Press: $16.00.)

Jubilee! Queen Elizabeth II 60 Years on the Throne

Life Magazine's editors have dipped into their superb photograph archive and put together Jubilee! Queen Elizabeth II 60 Years on the Throne.  This100 page publication relies on photographs rather than text ... this is Life Magazine, after all.   This is Queen Elizabeth II's life in image - from birth to a wonderful photograph of a very happy, smiling queen on the day of the Flotilla. 

This publication also includes Lisa Sheridan, Cecil Beaton  and Karsh photographs.  The editors have also included a two page photo spread on Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

I have the soft cover volume, which will be on sale on September 14.  This edition costs $12.99.   The hard cover edition is $17.99.

Coverage of the actual Jubilee is limited to the Flotilla, and nothing afterward.  If the editors had waited just a few more days, they would have been able to add coverage of all the Jubilee events, including the concert, procession and balcony appearance.

Definitely better than anything produced by the Daily Mirror, which has also published a special Jubilee commemorative magazine.

The Diamond Queen

Kudos to Newsweek for The Diamond Queen, a 100 page special publication that commemorates Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne.  The glossy publication includes historical photographs as well as 21 pages devoted to the Jubilee .. and I am in that crowd!!

The book is divided into four sections: The Media Monarch, the Real Elizabeth, Inside the Monarchy and Culture Queen.  The essays were written by journalists and historians, including Piers Morgan, Robert Lacey, Victoria Mather, Simon Schama, Tom Sykes, Andrew Roberts and Robin Givhan.

There are articles on politics, fashion, the arts, the queen's family,  Catherine, and the queen's relationship with the late Diana, Princess of Wales (just to sell a few copies, I suppose.)

When I was in London I saw more than a dozen magazines commemorating the Diamond Jubilee (all published before the actual event), and some of these magazines are now showing up at Barnes & Noble, but it is better to get a commemorative magazine that actually includes photos of the events.

The Diamond Queen will be on sale through August 5.The price is $10.99.  Definitely worth the price. 

The Last Tsar Emperor Michael II

Donald Crawford's The Last Tsar is an absolutely dreadful book.  This is in spite of the fact that Crawford has put together a competent bibliography of resources.  

This book is supposed to be an update to Michael & Natasha by Crawford and his wife, Rosemary.  That book, published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson, focused largely on the relationship of Grand Duke Michael and his morganatic wife, Natasha Wulfert.  

Crawford now turns to Michael's position as heir presumptive and his putative succession to the throne after Nicholas II's abdication for himself and his only son.  Michael may have been Tsar on paper, but he never reigned, never held power, and ended up as a pawn in the Bolshevik power struggle  It was the Bolshevik "government" that offered false information, stating that Michael had escaped (and providing hope to his wife).  But the truth was different.  Michael and his secretary were shot to death in June 1918, a month before the deaths of Nicholas II and his family.

The book might be more credible if Crawford had actually took the time to grasp basic facts about the succession to the Russian throne.  He also trips often over family relationships.  Page 225 is a good example. 

Crawford wrote: "It would not be long before anti-German sentiment would be so great that the British royals in the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, as Queen Victoria  thought it would be, would reinvent themselves under the more agreeable name of the House of Windsor.  By an Order-in-Council of July 17, 1918, Alexandra's eldest sister, Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt, until she married Prince Louis of Battenberg, disappeared, to be replaced by the terribly English sounding Marchioness of Milford Haven, though she had never been there.  Other Battenbergs were translated into Mountbatten and Carisbrooke; the Duke of Teck found himself converted into a Scotsman, as Earl of Athlone."

George V's Order in Council created the House of Windsor.  The decision of his cousins to abandon their German titles came at the same time, but this was not included in the Order.  

It's Hesse and By Rhine, not Hesse-Darmstadt.  Victoria was not created Marchioness of Milford Haven.  Her husband, Prince Louis, was created as the Marquess of Milford Haven.  Princess Victoria was given the opportunity to keep her title, but she chose to give it up, and be styled as Marchioness of Milford Haven.  All of the Battenbergs became Mountbatten.  Prince Alexander of Battenberg, Princess Beatrice's eldest son, was created the Marquess of Carisbrooke, with the family name Mountbatten.

The Duke of Teck, who was Queen Mary's brother,  was created Marquess of Cambridge.  Their younger brother, Prince Alexander of Teck, who was married to Princess Alice of Albany, was created Earl of Athlone.  Athlone is in Ireland, not Scotland.

Grand Duke Kirill's wife, Victoria, is described as "German-born."  She was born in Malta.   Crawford also errs when he writes that Kirill and his brothers were barred from the succession because their mother had not converted at the time of the marriage.  The Fundamental laws are specific about the succession.  Most  brides converted when they married, but the law only applied to the Emperor and his heir.  Alexander II had approved Wladimir's marriage to Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. 

Following the Borki train crash, a commission ruled that Wladimir and his children had succession rights even though Marie was Lutheran.  She did convert in 1907, when this branch of the family realized that the throne might pass to their branch if Alexis died before he married and had issue.

Kirill's marriage was eventually recognized and approved.  Victoria was styled as a Grand Duchess, and her children recognized as members of the Imperial family.  The Russian Orthodox church does not permit marriages between first cousins (Kirill and Victoria were first cousins), but the church also does not permit marriages between second and third cousins, which would eliminate a number of Romanov marriages.   Kirill and Victoria were married by an Orthodox priest.

Grand Duchess Elisabeth, the wife of Grand Duke Konstantin, never converted,  yet her children had succession rights.  These rights were acknowledged when their daughter, Princess Tatiana, renounced her rights when she married.

Such tosh.  Getting the facts is not difficult.  Lots of good sources for the right information.  Making such sloppy mistakes does not help any possible scholarship.

The Amazon listing does not provide a publisher for The Last Tsar. I have looked through the book several times, and have not been able to find the name of the  publisher. There is nothing on the jacket.   The book must be print-on-demand.

Give this book amiss.  No trees should have died for this crap.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Diamond Jubilee: UK Roundup

Quite a lot of Jubilee publications and DVDs, including BBC's official DVD.

A Diamond Jubilee roundup: USA

Friday, June 15, 2012

Other Grand Dukes due out in July

The long awaited volume II - The Other Grand Dukes is scheduled to be published by Eurohistory in late July.

Contributers include Art Beeche, Penny Wilson and Marlene Eilers Koenig.  The introduction was written by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Queen and the USA

There are a lot of books, commemorative magazines and other publications to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.  The most unique book to be published this year comes from Dementi Milestone Publishing, a Virginia-based publisher.

The book is called The Queen and the USA.  The authors are The Lord Watson of Richmond, CBE and H. Edward Mann.  Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.  The  two authors celebrate the Special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, a story that began in Jamestown, Virginia.

Although a revolution would bring an official end to British rule, the original thirteen colonies that became the United States largely retained the English place names.  This is  most apparent, at least to me, in Virginia, where the names of counties and towns reflect a royal heritage.

This book focuses on the special relationship, a shared history and a common heritage.  The Dementi Milestone firm specializes in coffee table books celebrating Virginia, and this book takes the celebration one step further with the celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and how this relates to Virginia.

So how does all of this relate to Virginia.  Well, Queen Elizabeth II has visited Jamestown and Williamsburg on three  occasions.  In 1957, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh took part in the celebrations of the 350th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.  They returned 50 years for the 400th anniversary celebrations. 

The Bicentennial brought the Queen back to Virginia in 1976 with trips to Jamestown and Charlottesville.

The Queen has also visited Charlottesville in 1976, and in 2007, she spoke to a joint session of Virginia General Assembly.

Queen Elizabeth II has met all but one American President since 1952, and this superb book includes photographs of the Queen with Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama.  Lyndon B. Johnson is the only president who did not have an opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth.   This superb book includes photographs of the Queen with the presidents. 

The publisher also includes photographs of the Queen from different visits to the United States, but the focus is on Virginia with plenty of photographs of the Queen during her visits to the Commonwealth. 

I must, however, take the publisher to task for omitting the visit to Mount Vernon in 1991, which took place during the Queen's State Visit.  (The Queen was driven right past my then home on Washington Street -- which becomes the Mount Vernon Parkway -- to Mount Vernon. I covered her visit for Berkswell's Royal Year.  The Royal party took a boat back to Washington, D.C., so I jumped in my car, drove the 6 minutes back to my home, and walked out to the back yard, right on the Potomac River, and waited for the boat to pass by and waved as the boat passed by.)

Despite this little omission, the book is wonderful.  The richly illustrated text offers a historical context that weaves the past with the present and the connections that still bring the United States and the United Kingdom together.  This has a lot to do with a common language, a shared history, and similar traditions and beliefs. 

Queen Elizabeth II has visited the United States more often than any European country, for example, although, of course, Commonwealth countries have received the most visits.

The Queen and the USA can be bought in Virginia bookstores.  It is also available through Amazon.  The price is $35.00.

This is the only book that  the Queen and her relationship with Virginia, a relationship that represents a microcosm of the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

One can appreciate Virginia's role both in the history of America and the continuance of the always changing relationship between the former Mother Country and her very independent child.
Kudos to Dementi Milestone Publishing for producing an artistic and well-defined book that celebrates and honors Queen Elizabeth II and her relationship with Virginia

Monday, May 21, 2012

Several new commemorative magazines

I am a browser.  I love browsing bookstores.  Although I continue to miss Border's Books, I am starting to fill comfortable at my local Barnes &Noble.  The only foreign magazines are British fashion publications and Hello!

But I do come across a few royal gems every so often.
Will &Kate Anniversary Edition was published by US Magazine (Collector's Edition:$9.99) is a 80 page glossy publication with 180 "revealing photos."   This commemorative edition focuses on William and Catherine's first year with lots of photos of Catherine in very pretty dresses.  One chapter is about the new pad at Kensington Palace, although the photograph of the front of KP is very misleading. William and Kate won't be living in the entire palace.  They are now holed up in a small cottage on Kensington Palace's grounds, but the plans are to move into Princess Margaret's former apartment (which has been used for exhibition in the past few years.)

The writers slip up, especially when writing about future children.  Their children will not be baptised wearing the same christening gown that was worn by Prince William.  The silk and lace christening gown that William wore in 1982 was first worn by Princess Victoria, eldest child of Queen Victoria, when she was baptised in 1840, was last used for the baptism of Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex.  Due to the fragility of the garment, Queen Elizabeth commissioned a new handmade replica of the gown, which was first worn by the Earl of Wessex's son, Viscount Severn, in 2008. 

The original gown is now being preserved.  The magazine also notes that William's first born child will be third in line, regardless of sex. Although there are plans to reform the succession, the law has not yet been introduced into the British Parliament.  The proposed changes also have to be approved by the Parliaments of 15 other countries, as well as all of the Canadian provinces.  The writers state categorically that the baby will have a Greek royal godparent because William's godfather is King Constantine, and William is godfather to Prince Konstantine-Alexios, son of Crown Prince Pavlos.

Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton have their own photo sections in this commemorative album, which will be on display until July 19.  The price is $9.99.

Expect all types of commemorative publications for the Diamond Jubilee.  One of the commemorative magazines already for sale on both sides of the Atlantic is a rather nice 146 page The Illustrated Diamond Jubilee, published by the Illustrated London News.  This magazine is described as the "definitive record of the Queen in more than 300 pictures." 

Color and black and white photographs, portraits and paintings, magazine covers -- and events in the Queen's life from birth to present day.  Quite nice.

The price is L5.99/$13.99. 

Time Magazine weighs in with The Royal Family, Britain's Resilient Monarchy celebrates Elizabeth II's 60-year-reign.  The text of the articles were written by Catherine Mayer and Time editors, who focus on different aspects of the British monarchy from the Queen herself and her consort, her children, especially the Prince of Wales; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.  A chapter on Diana, Princess of Wales, and her influence on the monarchy and her sons, is also included.

Plenty of photographs.  Published in softcover ($12.99)  and hard  cover editions.  Sold in the USA and in Canada in bookstores and at newsstands.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Heraldry Today closing

Another bookstore is to cease operations: Heraldry Today, one of the best resources for books on genealogy, heraldry, royalty, etc.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dear Ellen ... Royal Europe Through the Photo Albums of HIH Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia

This is a rave. A real rave. I am not saying this because I am one of the sellers of Dear Ellen on Amazon. (I sell Eurohistory's books on Amazon, and I get a teeny weeny percentage of each sale.)

I am saying this because this is the best book produced so far by Eurohistory. Dear Ellen ... is a super photo book of royal photographs ... photographs from the private albums of Grand Duchess Helen of Russia, who married Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark. They were the parents of three daughters: Olga (Princess Paul of Yugoslavia), Marina (Duchess of Kent) and Elisabeth (Countess zu Toerring-Jettenbach.)

The book's dedication is by Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia. Elizabeth's brother, Prince Alexander wrote a remembrance of their grandmother. Arthur Beeche also had the cooperation of Archduchess Helen of Austria and her brother, Count Hans-Veit zu Toerring-Jettenbach, the children of Princess Elisabeth.

The book is divided into 12 chapters: Prince Nicholas (1872-1902); Grand Duchess Helen (1882-1902); the Wedding (1902); Life Together (1902-1938); Widowhood (1938-1957); Princess Olga and her family; Princess Elisabeth and her family; Princess Marina and her family; The Greeks : Prince Nicholas' siblings; Grand Duchess Helen's siblings; Prince Nicholas' first cousins; and Grand Duchess Helen's first cousins.

A true treasure trove of many previous unpublished photos. Grand Duchess Helen was the only daughter of Grand Duke Wladimir of Russia and Duchess Marie Pavlovna of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Marie Pavlovna was determined to find a good husband for Ellen. Prince Max of Baden was the man most likely, but the proposed engagement soon fizzled out, and Grand Duchess Helen was left without a fiance. Her mother opened the Almanach de Gotha in search of another royal husband for her pretty and well-endowed daughter. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and King Albert I of the Belgians were on Marie Pavlovna's shortlist, but another candidate emerged for Helen's hand.

Prince Nicholas of Greece was determined to marry Helen, although he was not on Marie Pavlovna's list. He was a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes and his wife, the former Grand Duchess Olga Constantinova of Russia, a prince without true opportunity -- and income.

The wedding on August 29, 1902 turned out to be a true success. Helen gave birth to three daughters, Olga, Elisabeth and Marina, three of the most adorable princesses of the early 20th century. Helen and Nicholas had a happy and fulfilled marriage, a loving relationship that sustained the Russian Revolution (the murders of close family members and the loss of the very remunerative appanages), the collapse of the Greek monarchy, and exile.

After a putative engagement with Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Olga married Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, a non-dynast to the Yugoslav throne, who serve as one of three regents during King Peter II's minority. Elisabeth, known as Woolley, married German Count Carl Theodor zu Toerring-Jettenbach. The youngest daughter, Marina, made the most spectacular marriage, when she married Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, son of King George V and Queen Mary.

One hundred and thirty six pages of pure joy. This is a book that cries out for frequent browsing.

Helen's three daughters were amazingly photogenic, and the strength of their beauty can be found not only in the lines on their faces, but also in the grace and determination they had in their private lives. All three sisters endured struggles and separation, largely due to the vicissitudes of the second world war.

I could wax lyrical for hours about this book. One of my absolute favorites is the photo is the one on page 97: a tablet vivant arranged by Maria Kirillovna of Russia, Alexandra of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Wladimir of Russia, Irma of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Kira of Russia.

It is nice to see how Grand Duchess Helen's extended family interacted with each other. I have only seen one photo of Helen's niece, Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna's wedding, in 1925, a portrait of the bride and groom. The British and American press were largely uninterested in this wedding, even though the bride's mother was born a British princess, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. If the Russian monarchy had survived the first world war, the marriage between elder daughter of the heir presumptive to the throne and the wealthy Prince of Leiningen would have been a grand event indeed. But in 1925, the marriage was a media afterthought. It was so nice to see that Grand Duchess Helen included a photo of Maria's bridal attendants. All were members of the family. Her sister, Kira, and two first cousins, Alexandra and Irma of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, were the bridesmaids, and the two pages were her younger brother, Wladimir, and Prince Friedrich Josias of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the youngest child of her mother's first cousin, Duke Carl Eduard of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha ... what a shame this photo was not released as a postcard.

Art Beeche's text offers a rich complement to the myriad of photographs that offer readers a delicate journey that meanders into the lives of those who lived in Imperial Russia, Imperial Germany and the fledgling Greek monarchy.

Grand Duchess Helen and her family experienced wealth we can only dream about, and in a revolutionary minute, all of wealth was gone. Helen became more than survivor, she became a can do sort of person can do when the chips are down. She inherited magnificent jewels, but the true jewels were Helen's family.

I  have one quibble. It would have been really, really nice if Art Beeche had included an index to the photographs .. it would make my life easier.

The price of the book is $43.95

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Order now! Hvidore A Royal Retreat by Coryne Hall

Just arrived from Sweden 11 copies of Coryne Hall's new book, Hvidore A Royal Retreat (Rosvall Royal Books.)  Before I put the book on Amazon, I wanted to offer the book to American and Canadian readers of Royal Musings and Royal Book News.

The price of the book is $55.00 plus $4.50 for postage (US) and $55.00 plus $9.00 for Canada. The first button is for the United States.  The second button is for Canada.

The book's text is English and Danish.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Marie a French Princess in Denmark by Inger-Lise Klausen and Ted Rosvall

A new book will be released in Copenhagen tomorrow, May 2nd. It is MARIE 1865-1909, A French Princess in Denmark, by Inger-Lise Klausen and Ted Rosvall, and published by Rosvall Royal Books.

An unusual Princess, Marie of Orléans married into the Danish Royal Family and became the sister-in-law of Europe. Her husband, Prince Valdemar, was the brother of Queen Alexandra of England, Empress Maria F...eodorovna (Dagmar) of Russia, King Frederik VIII of Denmark, King Georg I of Greece and of Thyra, would-be Queen of Hanover. Unique pictures of an almost forgotten Princess and an interesting text, which involves a lot of Danish, European and Asian history. The short life of a gifted, impulsive and independent Princess.

144 pages, large format, 140 illustrations, many never before seen.
The launch will start at 3.30 PM by the Princess Marie Monument at Langelinie, exactly 100 years after the inauguration of this statue. About 15 of Marie's Rosenborg and Bourbon-Parma descendants will attend.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poor Little Dutch girl

Once a upon a time -- now -- there lives a Poor Little Dutch Girl who says she loves royal books, pretty, lovely, royal books.  But the books have to be written by pretty, lovely people, or read by pretty, lovely people because the Poor Little Dutch Girl does not like people who do not write pretty or lovely things.  Or people she does not deem to be pretty or lovely or  ... kisses her wooden shoes.

Poor Little Dutch Girl is actually a grown woman, who acts like a spoilt child, who has temper tantrums, who disparages others.  Some weeks ago, for no apparent reason, Poor Little Dutch girl banned me from her royal books message board.  No one I spoke with could find a single post (and I had not posted all that often) that seemed inflammatory.  Heigh Ho! 

Poor Little Dutch Girl refused to explain herself ... she is incapable of explaining.   More recently, she had one of her weekly pouts on another board, tsk tsking another poster for the title of a post about the visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to Norway.  The post was titled "If it is Thursday, it must be Norway," which is a reference to a movie from the 1960s, "If it is Tuesday, it Must be Belgium."   The poster was slapped silly for the title, as Poor Little Dutch Girl deemed it to be offensive.    Others, too, were mystified by Poor Little Dutch Girl, and said so right on the board.  

 Oh dear, she lost control ... for a few minutes before she returned the slaps to all those who did not agree with her. 

I sent a private email to her, telling her how rude she was to the other poster.  Perhaps she had not heard of the movie, but as it turned out she had, so her original response was inexcusable.   She was rather nasty to me, as expected, and said to me how could I be so mean to her on such a day of sadness in Belgium.  I wrote back telling her that the funerals for the children killed in the bus accident was not relevant to the topic.

Poor Little Dutch Girl has an unnerving habit of using other events to deflect attention away from her.

The final straw came today.  Poor Little Dutch Girl banned author and publisher, Arturo Beeche, from her board as well.  She recently wrote about the authors who attended the recent royal conference at Ticehurst, England, and noted the top selling books ... well, Poor Little Dutch Girl could not give the truth.  She neglected to list the top selling book at the conference, which was Dear Ellen.  She did not even mention it.

Why?  She does not think Art is pretty or lovely.  She believes all the bad things she hears.  In full transparency, I will say that Art is a friend of mine (although I have kicked his butt a few times, but we talk about the problems that he has had, and I am glad to say, Art is back in business, doing good things.)

Art received a lovely email from the owner of the van Hoogstraten bookstore in the Hague, telling him that his book was the number one seller that weekend at Ticehurst.  Number two was the book on the Hohenzollerns, which I reviewed several months ago.

Art asked Poor Little Dutch Girl why he was banned.   She responded with another deflection.  How could he say such things when she was posting such lovely things about the upcoming Luxembourg wedding on another board.   The royal wedding in Luxembourg is not relevant to the conversation.  She cannot face the truth.  She is reality-challenged. 

Poor Little Dutch girl, who mentions Hoogstraten in every other breath, would not acknowledge the truth.  So she banned Art, although she continues to allow shady folks and trouble making drunks to post on her board. 

Poor Little Dutch Girl has been described by several people as a psycho, a control freak, not well-educated.  She is definitely someone who has to be in control at all times, perhaps she is unable to control all things in her private life.   Her wooden shoes are far to big for her feet.  She needs to find a smaller size.   She also needs to free herself from her sidekick, Scottie.

She has no real accomplishments of her own, expect to say that she is a royal book addict.  Addiction is a sickness, and Little Dutch Girl is in need of help.   She is too much saccharine, and not enough sugar.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

M 40 år på tronen by Jens Andersen

Kudos to Jens Andersen who has written a superb biography of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.  The book is M 40 år på tronen (Lindhardt og Ringhof: 399.95 DK), an intensive examination of the Queen Margrethe II's reign.   Andersen is a serious journalist.  He writes for the respected Berlingske Tidende.

This is a stiff 500 page tome that covers the entire period of Margrethe's reign from her succession in January 1972, following the death of her beloved father, King Frederik IX.

Here in the United States, the media largely focuses on the British Royal Family.  The attention is on Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. But she is not the only distaff sovereign in Europe.  Her cousin, Margrethe II, has reigned with great authority for forty years. She is well-educated, well-traveled and a talented artist to boot.

It was lovely to see the CNN International interview with Queen Margrethe II in January.  But Margrethe's Jubilee did not generate the same attention that Queen Elizabeth is now receiving for her 60 years on the throne. (It should be noted that Elizabeth II's Ruby Anniversary also received more press coverage than Margrethe's.)

We should know about Margrethe.  Jens Andersen does tell us about Margrethe, but he writes in Danish.  His primary readership is in Denmark.  But M 40 år på tronen is a book that deserves to be published in English in order for more of the world to learn about Margrethe II.

The GAD  bookstore in Copenhagen is a good source for foreigners to order books from Denmark.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wow! A cover for The Gleichens: the Unknown Royal Cousins

Amazon has created a cover for my article, The Gleichens: the Unknown Royal Cousins, which is available in ALL Kindle stores - from Amazon USA to Amazon Spain.  This link is for the US kindle store.

Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg was a nephew of Queen Victoria. He fell in love with an English woman, Laura Seymour. Their marriage was morganatic, and Laura was created Countess Gleichen. They had four children, Feodora, a noted sculptress, Edward, one of the developers of British military intelligence, Valda, a singer, and Helena, a painter, who also had long term relationship with another woman. Valda was the only one to marry, and she had one son, Roger Machell, an important British book editor, and director of Hamish Hamilton. He edited Cecil Woodham Smith's biography of Queen Victoria. The Gleichens: the Unknown Royal Cousins, is the story of a family, artists, favorites of Victoria and her family, and fringe royals, the first to enter and the first to leave. The British royals were fond of the Gleichens, a talented and artistic family largely unknown to the general public.
The price is $9.99 (US).  Converted to Sterling and Euros, when you purchase through the UK and other European sites.  If this is a success, I may consider putting up other articles on Kindle. 
Much thanks!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Our Fritz by Franz Lorenz Müller

Frank Lorenz Müller's Our Fritz: Emperor Frederick III and the Political Culture of Imperial Germany (Harvard University Press:$45.00) is a magnificent achievement, a gripping study of the life of Friedrich III, German Emperor, who reigned for 99 days in 1889.   This is a stunning political biography of a man destined for what was perceived to be greatness, but -- thanks to his elder son, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Otto von Bismarck -- has largely become a footnote in Germany imperial history.

But being a footnote is not what was planned for Friedrich.  He was to be a modern monarch, celebrating political liberalism in the new Germany.  But he was also a patriot, he supported a united Germany, and he sneered at many of the minor German rulers.  As far back as 1860, he desired the minor duchies and principalities to be merged into Prussia.  During the War of 1866, he was the "ridiculous German titles converted into ducal or grand ducal titles."  He also expected the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen to come "crawling on his belly, which would be truly German-princely."

Crown Prince Friedrich was ably supported (some say dominated) by his wife, Victoria, a British princess, eldest children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.   It was Albert who set in motion a plan to marry his beloved and brightest daughter to the heir to the Prussian.  The plan was to have this liberal couple take on the new Germany, to bring about a plan that eventually create a more peaceful Germany.  

Friedrich's father, Wilhelm I, died on March 8, 1888, three weeks before his 91st birthday.  It was now Friedrich's time.  Sadly, for Friedrich and his family, and tragically for Germany (and Europe), two bad fairies were waiting in the wings to destroy everything that Fritz and Vicky believed in: their son, Crown Prince Wilhelm and Otto von Bismarck.

Friedrich was already dying when he succeeded to the throne.  He suffered from an advance case of lung cancer, and his health was battered by bad doctors.  He died on June 15, 1888.  Crown Prince Wilhelm and von Bismarck were waiting to make their moves to destroy Fritz's liberalism and views for Germany.  Moreover, Wilhelm II tried to destroy his father's reputation.  Unfortunately, for Germany, the views and actions of Wilhelm II and Otto von Bismarck set up the motions that would led to not one, but two world wars. 

Müller, a professor at the University of St Andrews, offers a mature portrayal of Fritz, focusing on the Fritz's persona as a beloved military hero and his position as a purveyor of change to Germany's political climate. 

Professor Müller delves deep into the political history and the personalities that shaped the second half of 19th-century Germany.    A superbly researched book.  

Highly recommended.    This is the biography that Friedrich deserved. Get it, and put next to Patricia Kollander's equally scholarly Friedrich III Germany's Liberal Emperor, published in 1999 by Praeger.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Her Majesty the Queen

Robert Hardman's new book,  Her Majesty the Queen, is now available in the USA. Published by Pegaseus.  The British title is Our Queen.  Hardman was interviewed this morning on NBC's Today Show.

The British edition is also available for sale through Amazon (USA).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dear Ellen - Royal Europe Through the Photo Albums of Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia

Dear Ellen - Royal Europe Through the Photo Albums of Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia is now available.  After clicking on the link, look for the seller called royalwriter.  That's me.

and the book is now available through

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Royal Hellenic Dynasty

Eurohistory first published The Royal Hellenic Dynasty in 2007. The book remains in print, and obtainable from Amazon.
This is a stunning book of photographs of members of three Greek royal family based on the collection of Mrs. Helen Helmis-Markesinis, which she inherited from her aunt.  Prince Michael of Greece, a family friend, helped whittle down a collection of more than 1000 photographs of members of European royal families to about 200 photos of the Greek Royal family.

This book of photographs was first published in Greece (in Greek). 

The photographs are amazing, and cover the time period from King George I and Queen Olga to the 1940s.  Many of the photographs were signed.  Some rather sweet photographs of royal children, including a newborn Princess Sophia, now Queen Sofia of Spain.

This book features family portraits, weddings, baptisms, group photographs (an absolutely gorgeous one of Princess Marina and her two sisters taken in the 1930s) and members of Greek Royal house carrying out official duties. 

This book is a must have for all royal collectors, as many of the photographs were published for the first time.  The price of The Royal Hellenic Dynasty is $49.95.

Favorite photos:  the bejeweled and beautiful Queen Sophie of Greece (one of my favorites: we share the same birth date) and a young Prince Philip.

(On Amazon, look for the books sold by royalwriter.)

Les Trois Princesses de Monaco

It is a shame that the majority of French-language books on the Monagesque Princely Family never get translated into English.  There is a market for these books.  The Prince of Monaco's mother was the American-born Grace Kelly, and his new wife is a former South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock.

One of the newest books on the Monagesque princely family is Les Trois Princesses de Monaco (l'Archipel:18.95 Euros).  This book, published in paperback, focuses on the lives and relationships of the new Princess of Monaco and her sisters-in-law, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie.

Princess Caroline has a vested interest in the succession.   Unless Charlene bears a child, the succession will pass to Caroline and her elder son, Andrea.

Lunel is a French journalist, and he offers an honest portrait of three distaff Grimaldis.

This is a refreshing look at the history and personality of Monaco as seen through the eyes of the the three Princess of Monaco.