Sunday, July 12, 2020

Stealing the Crown by T.P. Fielden

If you are looking for a good murder mystery that is set in 1941 London, with an interweaving theme that might mean protecting the Britsh crown, then I have a book for you. 

Stealing the Crown is not a psychological thriller, but an intellectual murder mystery that involves court officials, an East End burglar, Nazis and the Duke of Gloucester, younger brother of King George VI, and third in line to the throne.

Major Edgar Brampton is found dead in his office at Buckingham Palace.  The prevailing view (and the one pushed by courtiers) is that he committed suicide ... but he didn't.  He and the Queen were said to be close.

Fellow courtier Guy Hartford is given the assignment to find out how Brampton died.  It will be a difficult task for Guy to find the killer due to a few palatial roadblocks.  Why are certain courtiers making things difficult for Guy?

The journey won't be easy as he has to parse through the evidence ... which of course he has to find.

There will be a few red herrings along the way.  Just when you think he has found the killer,  you realize there are more than 100 pages to go.

There are a few bumps in the road as Guy carefully and methodically strips away the layers of clues and evidence with the help of friends including the very pretty burglar Rodie, whose particular skills come in handy, when Guy needed a boost.  

Now you may be wondering what Nazis and the Duke of Gloucester have to do with Brampton's murder.  Let me just remind you that this is 1941, and  Germany holds the advantage in the war.   There is a real threat of an invasion that might have meant a change in the succession.  The Duke of Gloucester was the senior male royal in the family after King George VI.

No more!  I do not want to give away any information that would spoil the ending except to say that I was truly surprised by the denouement.   I thought the murderer was someone else ... but in the end, it all made sense thanks to Guy's sometimes cerebral, sometimes lucky deciphering of the evidence.

Stealing the Crowd is the kind of book you will want to read at the pool (if your pool is open) or commuting to work (if you are back in the office).  If not, make a nice pot of tea, and cozy up on the couch with this excellent mystery.

It may take some time to get to the end, but stay with it ... you won't be disappointed.  I wasn't.

The book is published by Thomas & Mercer (£8.99 & $15.95)

T.P Fielden is the nom de plume for biographer and journalist Christopher Wilson.  

I look forward to Guy Harford's next assignment.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rosvall Royal Books Summer sale

It's been four years since our last SUMMER SALE - but now we have one from June 15th to August 15th, 2020.

ALL our 18 Royal Photo albums are now SEK 200 each (around £ 16 or $ and € 20) plus postage. A unique opportunity to add to your Royal Library - at a uniquely low price.

Go to and hit "Our Books".

So many good books to chose from ... all are richly illustrated with superb photographs.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Michael Romanov: Brother of the Last Tsar, Diaries and Letters, 1916-1918

Update:  this book will be seen as scholarly achievement.  I had the privilege of reading a pre-published version of the book.  It is well worth the wait.  You can pre-order the book from   

I cannot wait for this book to be published by Academia Press, a Washington, D.C. based publisher.  The book is scheduled to be published on July 1.  It will be released in hard and softcover editions.   The hardcover will cost $99.00 and the paperback's price, I am told, will be between $25-$30. 

No British publisher at this time.

This book will appeal to historians and general readers who are interested in the Russian Imperial family.

From the Amazon listing: "In Michael Romanov: Brother of the Last Tsar, translator Helen Azar and Romanov historian Nicholas B. A. Nicholson present for the first time in English the annotated 1916-1918 diaries and letters of Russia's Grand Duke Michael, from the murder of the Siberian mystic Grigorii Rasputin through the Revolution of 1917, which dethroned the Romanov dynasty after Michael briefly found himself named Emperor when his brother Nicholas II abdicated. Michael's diaries provide rare insight into the fall of the Empire, the rise and fall of the Provisional Government and brief Russian republic, and the terrifying days of the February and October Revolutions after which Michael found himself a prisoner who would meet his end in the Siberian city of Perm. Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia (1878-1918) was born the youngest son of Tsar Alexander III, but with the death of his brother Grand Duke George in 1899, Michael was thrust into the spotlight and the role of Heir-Tsesarevich to Emperor Nicholas II, then the father of three girls. Even after the birth of an heir in 1904, Michael found himself pushed closer to the throne with each of the boy's bouts of hemophilia. By 1916 during World War I, Nicholas and Alexandra found themselves deeply unpopular not only in political circles but also with other members of the House of Romanov, who felt that the parlous times required drastic change. Michael found himself at the center of these events."

Friday, June 12, 2020

Books on Leopold II and the Congo.

Prince Laurent of Belgium suffers from foot in mouth disease.  Earlier today, in response to reports to remove statues of King Leopold II,  Laurent said:  "He never went to the Congo.   I do not see how he could have made people suffer on the ground.  You have to understand that there were many people who worked for Leopold II and those people really committed abuse that does not mean Leopold II did."

It is estimated that at least 10 million died during Belgium's brutal occupation of the Congo.

Let me recommend three books about Leopold II and the Congo: The King Incorporated by Neal Ascherson,  Leopold II of the Belgians King of Colonialism by Barbara E. Emerson and King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild.    The first choice is King Leopold's Ghost.


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Queen Victoria and the Romanovs by Coryne Hall

Noted Royal biographer Coryne Hall has a new book out, Queen Victoria and the Romanovs, which was published a few weeks ago by Amberley.  It is available on both sides of the Pond from Amazon.   Coryne recently appeared on a podcast to discuss her latest book.  The link is at the end of this post.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Monarchy in Modern Greece by Costa M Stamatopoulos

The few books in English on the Greek monarchy do not tackle the true complexities of the monarchy and the royal family's history.  Greek historian Costas M. Stamatopoulos is the author of Monarchy in Modern Greece, published by Kapon Editions in 2017. I learned about the book a few months ago,

This book is in a word a masterpiece, a truly objective study of Greece's monarchial experiment that began with the election of Bavarian prince Otto as King Othon, the first modern Greek sovereign.   This first experiment failed, not a surprise, and Otto was forced to leave.  A new king, a Danish prince, Wilhelm, the youngest son of King Christian IX (although Wilhelm was actually a sovereign before his father succeeded to the Danish throne),  took the name George and reigned from 1863 until his assassination in 1912.

The history of George I and his family is filled with the intricacies of politics, right and left, personalities, international influence (Great Britain and then the United States), too many wars, and changing views of the Greek people.

The book is divided into three sections.  The first focuses on the history and ramifications of that history.  This section of the book is difficult to wade through as it was not written in chronological order, as the author weaves together the different thread that led to the final instability from the 1940s until the crisis of 1965.

Stamatopoulos' book was written originally in Greece and translated into English by Geoffrey Cox.  It is suffice to say that the monarchy would not survive.  There were too many variables that led to the political crises that brought down the monarchy.

The second part of the book offers portraits of George I, the best of all the Greek sovereigns, according to the author, with few exceptions, including failing to prepare and include his heir, King Constantine I, who is the subject of the second portrait.   Tino was proclaimed as a hero during the Balkan wars but he found himself between a rock and a hard place during the first world war.  The Allies, left by Great Britain, had their own interests with Greece, with Germany also knocking at Greece's door, for other reasons.  It was not easy for Constantine to weigh the precarious decisions he had to make,   It also did not help him that his brother-in-law was Kaiser Wilhelm II.   Tino's wife, Sophie, who had before the war embraced charitable work, did not hide her disdain for her sisters-in-law, Helen, and Alice, both of who were supporting the Greek cause.  

Sophie, whose mother was a British princess, had made it clear that she was pro-German.  This blew me away because earlier writers have tried to portray Sophie supporting the Allies, but Stampatopoulos provides conclusive evidence that Sophie was pro-German.    The Greek royal family was forced into exile in 1917, pariahs, with the exception of the second son, Alexander who succeeded to a throne.  When the young king became ill, only his grandmother, Queen Olga, was allowed to return but she arrived too late.  Alexander was dead, and the throne was empty.

The capriciousness of the situation -- of course, politics played a role -- led to Tino being recalled.  The author believes that Constantine should have abdicated in favor of his eldest son, as this would have prevented what followed.  Even before World War I erupted, Tino was firmly against war in Asia Minor, and now, nearly a decade later, he was trapped into a war that began before his restoration - and now he was unable to react.  Poor decisions and a fickle population, as well as political issues, led to Tino giving up his throne in favor of his son, George II.

The third portrait is of Queen Frederica, a princess of Hanover, a granddaughter of Wilhelm II, who married the future King Paul in 1937.  Stamatopoulos writes that Frederica "was adored as no other Queen before her had been -- until the moment when her popularity was snatched from beneath her feet like a carpet."

She was devoted to Greece, but she never fully understood the history nor learned the Greek language properly.   By the 1950s, the situation became precarious as Greece was caught between too many sides - in Greece and outside, namely the United States,   Frederica was passionate about her role, "her sacred function as a woman and as a queen," and she knew how to instill hope.

But there were too many rumors (only rumors) that were voiced in the press and salons.  Rumors that spread throughout the international press (and were believed although most of the rumors were not true.)   The monarchy was caught in the middle of changing political factions and it did not help the monarchy as the criticism was on all sides.

The emotions, the "path of the heart," the sacred functions of monarchy and the delicate relationship between the people and their sovereign, forms the third part of the book.   

Although the monarchy ended nearly 50 years ago,  "kingship continues to be treated in Greece as a taboo subject."

Monarchy in Greece is a prodigious achievement.  Yes, it can and will take time to read, to embrace all that Stamatopoulos offers in this mammoth and honest study of Greece's monarchy  This is true scholarship.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Princess Margaret - 60th anniversary of her wedding

Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960.  He was created Earl of Snowdon on October 6, 1961.

Several books were published to commemorate the wedding.   The two best biographies of Princess Margaret were written by Theo Aronson and Christopher Warwick.  The two books are Princess Margaret: A Biography and Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts.

I make a few pennies when you purchase items through my Amazon links or search boxes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Windsor Diaries 1940-1945

I am looking forward to this book, the Windsor Diaries 1940-45, by Alathea Fitzalan Howard.  During the second world war, Alathea, who was several months younger than Queen Elizabeth II, lived with her grandfather at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park.  She would have her academic lessons at Cumberland Lodge but would join Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret for drawing and dancing lessons at Windsor Castle.

The Hon. Alathea Gwendoline Alys Mary Fitzalan-Howard was the elder daughter of Henry FitzAlan-Howard, 2nd Viscount FitzAlan of Derwent.  She was a great-granddaughter of the 14th Duke of Norfolk.   Her marriage to the Hon Edward Frederick Ward was childless. 

Her papers, including her diaries, were inherited by her niece-in-law, Lady Isabella Naylor-Leyland.

The book will be published on Oct 8 by Hodder & Stoughton.  The book does not have a US publisher.

Monday, April 27, 2020

A Few Years before the Catastrophe by Sofia Ivanova Tyutcheva

This book is a bit slim (52 pages) but Sofia Ivanova Tyutcheva's memoirs, A Few Years Before the Catastrophe, offers a glimpse into court life when 1896,  Sofia was appointed as a Maid of Honor to the young Empress Alexandra.  Eleven years later, she became a governess to the four grand duchesses, a position she held until 1912. 

Sofia was informed of her dismissal by Alexandra's Mistress of the Robes.  It was due to the "mutual misunderstanding, the raising of children is impossible, and it would be better for her to leave."

But her discomfiture may have more to do with her "negative attitude" toward Anna Vyrubova, Alexandra's confidante, and Rasputin.

Unfortunately, for historians and biographers,  Sofia's memoir offers few details about her feelings as she did not put her thoughts on paper until 1945.

When Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna married Prince Wilhelm of Sweden in 1908,  Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna and her husband, Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, attended the wedding with their two young daughters, Princess Olga and Princess Elisabeth.

At tea, five-year-old Elisabeth sat next to Alexis.  The Greek princess spoke Greek and English, but Alexis spoke only Russian.  Alexis would scream into Elisabeth's ear, thinking she would understand him.  Sofia offered to translate,  Alexis said: "Elizabeth, I love you."  Elizabeth responded: "I also love little Alexis."

Sofia's time at Court included the Imperial visit to England and Darmstadt and the assassination of Prime Minister Stolypin in 1911.

After leaving court, she returned to her family home in Muranovo, where she remained for the rest of her life.  She died in 1957.

The text was translated by George Hawkins, who lives in New Zealand and is fluent in Russian

It is an informative and recollective read.  I think the text itself, probably a direct translation, needed a bit of tidying up, to make the text more readable.  One particular glaring error (due to the translation) is when Hawkins describes Maria Pavlovna as Greek Queen Alexandra.  Grand Duke Paul married Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark, not the queen of  Greece.  Alexandra was the daughter of King George I and Queen Olga of the Hellenes.

I would also recommend redoing the layout of the book, especially for the photos and their captions.  The book is available in a print edition ( $12.00)and Kindle. 

The book is a quick read and brings a new voice to courtiers who served Nicholas II and his family.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner

On the face of it,  Anne, Lady Glenconner's life is a mixture of fantasy, fairy tales, and tragedy.   The reality, however, was far more painful as Anne's poignant memoir, Lady in Waiting My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown (Hachette: $28.00)

The eldest of three daughters of the 5th Earl of Leicester, Lady Anne Coke was born in 1931. She grew up at Holkham, the family estate in Norfolk, only a few miles from Sandringham.  Princess Margaret was a lifelong friend as she and her older sister, the future Queen Elizabeth, were often guests of Lady Anne and her younger sister, Lady Carey.  The royal connections meant that Leicesters moved in the highest echelons of society.

She was one of the Queen's Maids of Honour at the 1953 Coronation.  After her debutante season, the focus was on marriage,  not a university and a career.  She had a short-lived engagement with Viscount Althorp -- broken off by his family because of alleged madness in Lady Anne's ancestry -- Lady Anne became engaged to the Hon. Colin Tennant, heir to the 2nd Baron Glenconner, a wealthy Scottish landowner.   Anne was 22 years old when she met Colin, while she was sitting at the bar at the Ritz Hotel, as both were guests at a deb party.

It was a difficult marriage.  Yes, Lord Glenconner was extremely wealthy, and, some would say eccentric, but he also had mental issues that flared even before the marriage.  He often lost his temper and Anne learned after the wedding that he had suffered two nervous breakdowns before his marriage.

After one outburst, Anne went home to her mother, who showed no sympathy or support, telling her daughter to return to her husband.

Anne and Colin had five children:  Charles, Henry, Christopher, and the twins Amy and May.  It was Lord Glenconner who bought Mustique.  His money, ideas, and his connections made Mustique the must place to visit for the very rich.  Coliwedding gift to Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon was a parcel of land on Mustique.   Some years later, Margaret had a house built on the land.

Anne and the princess remained close friends until Margaret's death  Anne was also a trusted lady in waiting for more than 30 years.

Life in a gilded cage is not always enjoyable.   The Glenconners were married for 54 difficult years.   Their eldest son, Charlie, suffered from mental health issues and died from a drug overdose.  Henry was gay and died from AIDS.  Christopher was in a coma for several months after a motorcycle accident and endured years of physical therapy.  Colin was unfaithful throughout the marriage.  He was also nonchalant when he told Anne that he had a son (and grandchildren) who was born before their marriage.

This was a true friendship between Anne and Margaret.   Anne often "provided sanctuary" for Margaret at her home in Norfolk,  Glen (the Glenconner estate in Scotland), and Mustique.  In return,  the Glenconners often stayed at Balmoral or Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park (the Queen Mother's home).

This memoir is entertaining and bittersweet. One cannot imagine the pain of losing one son to drugs and another to AIDs.   Colin eventually got bored with Mustique and moved to St. Lucia.  Anne was spending more time in England in her cottage near Holkham.  Her father had recommended she buy the house at the time of her marriage.  The house was a bolthole, a retreat, especially after Colin's death from a heart attack in St Lucia.   Anne arrived in St. Lucia for the funeral and the reading of the Will.    Only seven months earlier, Colin had made out a new will.  He left everything to his assistant,  Kent Adonis.

Anne was flummoxed,  She wrote: "A marriage filled with Colin throwing as many tantrums as he threw parties....This last attention-seeking gift.  It was a terrible humiliation."
Charlie's son, Cody, had succeeded Colin as Lord Glenconner.  He and his mother disputed Colin's will.  After seven years, the final court decision handed half of Colin's estate to his grandson. 

As Anne returned to her farmhouse, she tried to understand why her husband would pull such a stunt.  She was left feeling betrayed for her children and for herself.   Now in her late 80s,  Anne is surrounded by her surviving children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  She still travels to Mustique to visit friends.  She acknowledges that the pain of losing children never goes away, but she prefers to dwell on the future and hopes to live to100.

Lady in Waiting is one of the best memoirs that I have read in some time.  Anne provides an honest, emotional, and yes, extraordinary,  accounting of her world - one of privilege and wealth, but also a life filled with sadness and tragedy. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Colouring the Royals by Sarah Williams

I know a lot of adults enjoy coloring books.  Sarah Williams, an American royal fashion blogger (with a major interest in the Swedish royal family, has published her first book,  Colouring the Royals, which is available on Amazon.   I must add that the coloring book is available only on the US Amazon and not the international sites, including the United Kingdom.

 Sarah runs the Royals and I blog.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Anne Topham - Governess to Princess Victoria Luise

Anne Topham, who was born in Derbyshire in 1864, served as governess to Princess Victoria Luise of Prussia from 1902 until 1909, leaving the German court after the Princess was confirmed that October.  She returned to England to live, although she was invited to attend the Princess's wedding in May 1913 to Prince Ernst August of Hanover.

 She wrote three books about her time in Germany:  Memories of the Kaiser's Court, Memories of the Fatherland, and Chronicles of the Prussian Court.

Anne Topham died in 1927.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Subscription information on Royalty Digest

Take out a 2020 subscription at  (Magazines) - and receive four back issues of your choice as a welcome gift! They are all described in detail at our site. This is how it works: After you have subscribed, pick out the four back issues you want and send us an email at listing them. Do not include them with your online subscription.

In a week or two you will have the four back issues plus number 1/2020 in your home. Numbers 2-4/2020 will arrive in June, September, and December respectively.


If you are already a subscriber, why not take out a subscription for a friend - and receive the four free back issues yourself!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Maria Romanov Third Daughter of the Last Tsar Diaries and Letters 1908-1918

Grand Duchess Maria Nicolaievna of Russia, was the third daughter of Russian emperor Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra of Hesse and By Rhine.  She was known as Mashka, an emphatic, strong-willed, and very devoted to her family.  It was customary, indeed obligatory, for Marie and her siblings to keep diaries.   As Marie destroyed most of her diaries and other papers in 1918, only three diaries (1912, 1913 and 1916) have survived.

These diaries have been translated into English for the first time by Helen Azar and George Hawkins.

The authors have also included letters from other family members, including Empress Alexandra, to Marie.

Even as a small child, Marie's correspondence with her mother often focused on the latter's health.   Marie often asked her mother about her heart and her head.

Marie's diaries are similar to Olga and Tatiana's diaries, which were also edited by Helen Azar.  The topics are often similar: going to church,  lessons, meals and spending time with family and friends.   Contrary to the views of other biographers,  the young Grand Duchesses did have contact with cousins from both sides of their families.  As devout members of the Russian Orthodox church, Marie and her family spent a lot of time attending services.  Food poisoning was a good excuse to get out of church as Maria noted on May 14,1912.
"I had food poisoning and didn't go to church.  Had breakfast at 5 with Papa..."   Inquiring minds want to know: did Maria eat something bad when she had breakfast with her father?

Maria Romanov Third Daughter of the Last Tsar Diaries and Letters 1908-1918 (Westholme) can only give a glimpse of the young Grand Duchess's life largely due to the limited scope of materials.   This is not a criticism.   So much was understandably destroyed, so we should appreciate what is available.

It is a joy that Helen Azar and George Hawkins, both of whom are fluent in Russian, have translated these letters and diaries.

Maria's diaries do not give us her pain and fear in those final months of life.  This is not a surprise as these diaries were never meant to be read by historians and those with a general interest in the Romanovs more than 100 years later.

We can only assume what was behind the words.  In January 1918, when the family was held at Tobolsk, Maria wrote to a friend that she was sitting by a window, celebrating the sunshine and that the "frost isn't heavy."  In another letter, she writes about the "masses of cockroaches."

After Maria arrived with her parents at Ekaterinburg in May 1918, she wrote to her younger sister, Anastasia, that "we have not unpacked everything because we were told that we would be moved to another place." 

For Maria and her sisters and younger brother,  there must have been great fear as well as the loss of security, as she writes about the guards changing every three hours, and hoping that her letter to a family member was sent.

Maria's correspondence ends in May 1918.  The final two months of Maria's life (and the lives of her parents, siblings, and servants) are in the words of others including those who took part in the murders. 

Westholme has also published two of Helen's earlier books: The Diary of Olga Romanov  Royal Witness of the Revolution and Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the Last Tsar, Diaries and Letters, 1913-1918).  The latter title was co-written by Nicholas Nicholson.

The authors have been able to open the curtain, at least a little bit, into Maria's young life, providing readers with a little insight into Maria's personality and her relationship with her family.  She was certainly devoted to her darling Papa.  Her voice is not complete because most of her diaries and correspondence were destroyed.   A muted voice is better than no voice at all.

Helen and George succeed in bringing Maria's "gentle character" to life.

I look forward to further collaborations from them.

 Helen has found a niche market but I know she can move up a few notches as a Romanov historian, especially as she is a native Russian speaker.  It is not easy to move out of the comfort zone, but far more people (not just the usual roundup of armchair Romanov fans) want to learn more about the Grand Duchesses.  This means writing more articles for more publications or giving lectures, for example.

This also means working with professional editors and translators.

That said,  Maria Romanov Third Daughter of the Last Tsar, Diaries and Letters 1908-1918) will become a well-thumbed standard reference for a genuine impression of Nicholas II's third daughter.

The book is illustrated with photographs from GARF, Russia's state archives.

I read the manuscript before it was published, helping the authors with identifications of persons named in the diaries and letters and historical events.

Friday, February 21, 2020

New books from Romania

I was in Romania in January as a guest of HM Margareta, Custodian of the Throne, and HRH Prince Radu, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Her Majesty's first visit to Romania.

I did a bit sightseeing as well as buy a few books at the Humanitas bookstore on Calea Victoriei, a few blocks from my hotel.  The shop has an excellent section of books on the Romanian Royal family.  I wish I had room in my suitcase for more books, but I was looking for three books in particular, and then added one more to the pile.

All of the books are in Romanian.  All are illustrated.  None of the books will be translated into English.

Two of the books are by Diana Mandache, who has made Romanian royal history her life's work.

Mignon Principesa Romaniei, Regina Iugoslaviei (Curtea Veche) is a fabulous book of photographs of Princess Marie (1899-1961), the third daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie, who in 1922 married King Alexander of Yugoslavia.

So many previously unpublished photos of Mignon, including a rather sweet photo of Mignon with her older sister, Elisabeta, and their first cousin, Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, taken at Heiligenberg in 1901.  The photographs are what make this book perfect for non-Romanian readers. 

We can experience Mignon's life from her birth in Gotha to her death in England through photographs.   After her husband was assassinated in Marseilles in 1934,  Queen Marie spent most of the rest of her life in England.

Diana is also the author of Bijuteriile Reginei Maria (Corint), a richly illustrated study of Queen Marie's jewels.  Royal jewelry enthusiasts will appreciate this book because of the photographs and the detailed sketches of rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and tiaras.   Queen Marie preferred bold jewels, exquisite pieces of jewelry, rather than subtle, simple pieces preferred by other royal women.

Several pieces in Marie's collection came from her mother, Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.

Crăciunul regal (Royal Christmas) was published in 2013 but remains in print.   This book, which was written by then Princess Margareta and Prince Radu, focuses on Romanian royal Christmas from Carol I and Elisabeth through King Michael and his family, in Romania, England, Switzerland, Italy and finally, back in Romania.   The Christmas holidays are spent at Săvârșin, in Arad county, which King Michael had purchased in the mid-1940s and confiscated after he was forced into exile.  The property was restored to the king in 2000 and is now owned by his daughter, Margareta.

Don't be put off by the Romanian text.  I'm not.  The photos are wonderful. Old Christmas cards and photographs of members of the royal family celebrating the Christmas holidays.  Many of the photographs used in the book are from King Michael and Queen Anne's family albums.

 The title translates to Helen, a portrait of the Queen Mother. This book celebrates Queen Helen, the Queen Mother's life in photographs.

Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark was born in 1896, the third child and first daughter of King Constantine I of the Hellenes and Princess Sophie of Prussia.

In May 1921, she married her second cousin,  Crown Prince Carol of Romania, whose mother, Marie, was Queen Sophie's first cousin. Both were granddaughters of Queen Victoria.

Helen gave birth to the couple's only child, Michael, in October 1921.

The couple separated shortly afterward as Carol abandoned his family and his country for his mistress, Elena Lupescu, in Paris.  He renounced his rights to the throne in 1925.

King Ferdinand died two years later and was succeeded by his young grandson, King Michael, who reigned with a regency.   Eventually, in 1930, a political situation ensued and the government brought Carol back from exile and proclaimed him king.  Michael was demoted to Crown Prince.

The marriage was dissolved by divorce in 1928.

Queen Helen had been her son's custodial parent until Carol's return.  He made life very difficult for Helen and she was forced to live outside the country and had limited contact with her son.  It was only after Carol was forced to abdicate in 1940 that Helen was able to return to the country where her son was once again king.  She was proclaimed the Queen Mother.

Mother and son were devoted to each other and both had to remain strong throughout the war and the encroaching Communist influence.  On December 30, 1947,  Michael was forced to abdicate.  The entire Romanian royal family went into exile.

Queen Helen died in 1983, only 6 years before the fall of Communism.  Her remains were brought from Switzerland and interred in the Curtea des Arges in 2019.

This 87-page book offers us a superb study of Helen's life in photographs from childhood through the final years of her life.  Most of the photos are from the family's albums.  My favorite photo is the one of Helen, as a bride, beaming with happiness, Queen Marie standing by her side.

The total cost of all four books was just over $55.00, and all four went into my suitcase.

Two books commemorating  Margareta's 30th anniversary were published in January.

Sandra Gătejeanu Gheorghe's book, Margareta. Trei decenii ale Coroanei: 1990-2020, has also been published by Curtea de Veche.  An English language translation is scheduled for publication in the next few months.  This book commemorates HM Margareta's first 30 years of accomplishments in Romania.

Lumea Majestății Sale. Jubileul Custodelui Coroanei Române, which has a forward by the Prince of Wales, was written by Alexandru Muraru and Daniel Șandru.  Corint is the publisher.

None of the sites are in English.  You can use the right click on your mouse for translations.  I have ordered several books from Curtea Veche.  Postage will be added.  There are several currency converters that you can use to convert the Romanian Lei to your currency.  Books are not expensive.

You can also contact the publishers and the bookstore for ordering opportunities.