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.