Thursday, November 9, 2023

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

I spotted this magazine while in the checkout line at Target.  I grabbed it and added it to my items.  A good purchase.  I am surprised by how good it is.

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II is a 98-page magazine published by A360 Media.  The price is $13.99.  

It is well-illustrated and well-researched as the writers focus on how the coronation made the queen an international star, the voice of a nation.  There are also articles on the procession, the pomp and pageantry, and the guest list.  The final article is about the Coronation of Charles III.

I have seen this publication in the magazine sections and checkout lines at several supermarkets, Target, and Walmart.  It is also sold at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Ena and Bee by Ana de Sagrera


Spanish historian and biographer Ana de Sagrera died in 2018, four years before her book, Ena y Bee: En defensa de una Amistad, was translated into English and published by Fonthill in 2022 with the title Ena and Bee Queen Victoria's Spanish Granddaughters.

The original book was published in 2006.

De Sagrera was given full access to the Bourbon-Orleans archives in Sanlucar de Barrameda. 

Ena and Bee were first cousins and granddaughters of Queen Victoria.  Ena was born Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg and Bee was Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh, Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  Both cousins married into the Spanish Royal Family.  Ena was the wife of King Alfonso XIII and Bee married his first cousin, Infante Don Alfonso of OrlĂ©ans-Borbon.

Ena's marriage was arranged.  Bee's marriage to Ali was a love match with many hoops to jump through before they married.

For many years, it was assumed that Bee pursued Alfonso, causing a strain in his marriage with Ena.  But Alfonso wanted Bee in his bed, and he was furious when she refused him.   But the story that she was the pursuer was the one people believed.

Alfonso was unfaithful to Ena with numerous mistresses.  Ali and Bee were devoted to each other.  Ali's letters to Alfonso about the rumors with Bee make this clear that he knew Alfonso was the one who was guilty.

Rumors in Spain led to Ali and Bee spending several years in exile.  Her political views were misrepresented, leading to further strain.  

Ena and Bee's friendship remained the one constant.  In time, Ali, Bee, and their three sons were allowed to return to Spain.   In 1931, an election led to the establishment of the Spanish Republic.   Alfonso and the Spanish royal family went into exile, Alfonso settling in Rome and Ena settling in Switzerland.  The couple remained estranged for the rest of their lives. 

Bee and Ali lived in England for several years but were finally allowed to return to Spain after Franco established his dictatorship. They settled at their estate in Sanlucar de Barrameda.  Their golden years were not always easy.  Bee focused on charity work, especially the establishment of maternity homes.

Princess Beatrice died in 1966, and Ena died three years later.

Ena and Bee has become one of my favorite royal books.  This is because Beatrice is one of my favorite descendants of Queen Victoria. The book is rich in detail about the lives of two great friends who happened to be first cousins as well.  There is only one English-language biography of Ena by Gerald Noel.  It is not particularly good because the author depended solely on English language sources and no primary sources.

In Ena and Bee, Ana de Sagrera had the great fortune to have unrestricted access to Bee and Ali's correspondence, papers, and other materials.  I wish the entire book had been translated into English, but this is the second-best thing.

Bee's life story is finally known.  She was not responsible for the failure of Ena's marriage.  Her life was not always happy.  Her son, Prince Alonso, who served in the Spanish Air Force, was killed in an air crash in 1936.

This book is a worthy and recommended addition to royal book collections.

The book was edited and translated, respectively by John van der Kiste and Iain Dorward Stewart.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

A Monarch in the Making - Official Coronation Book

A Monarch in the Making From Accession to Coronation is a must-have book. It is the official Coronation Souvenir published by the Royal Collection. I bought my copy at Buckingham Palace when I was in London in September. This book focuses on the "extraordinary transition" that followed the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The book is divided into six chapters: Accession: The First Ten Days, A New Reign, Planning the Coronation, Symbols of Sovereignty, Coronation Day, and Looking Forward.  

Planning the Coronation features details about Operation Golden Orb - from the invitation and the magnificent robes to the music and the royal regalia.  

Superb photographs throughout.  This book is highly recommended and informative.   A Monarch in the Making is the authoritative source as it was published by the Royal Collection.



Wednesday, October 25, 2023

You might enjoy these books


Ilana Miller's book was recently published in the UK and will be available next year in the US.


Casemate is distributing Ilana's book in the USA.

I browsed this book while in Barnes & Noble.  A lovely tribute to the late Queen

Jane's book was published this week. It will be released in the US in March 2024.


I earn a commission if you purchase items through my Amazon links ... please continue to shop after you have clicked on the link.

My Years with the Queen by Lady Pamela Hicks


This book will be fantastic.   My Years With the Queen was originally scheduled to be published in April 2023.  It will now be released in the UK in February 2024. 

Lady Pamela's younger daughter, India Hicks, says the book will also be published in the United States.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Another selection of new royal books

I am making my way through another pile of royal books.  

Robert Jobson's Our King Charles III: The Man and the Monarch Revealed (John Blake £22.00) is a quick and easy read.  I bought it in London in May and read it in one sitting a few weeks later.  

Although it is one of the first books published since Charles' accession, it is not sycophantic or scholarly. Jobson, who has covered the royals for decades, knows his subjects.  Our King is a competent effort that is enjoyable to read, a book that sums up the king's life in 289 pages. 

A revised British edition, which includes the Coronation.



From her teenage years, the late Queen Elizabeth II knew that Prince Philip was the one. Her parents had hoped she would cast a wider net, but Elizabeth had other ideas.  Dr. Tessa Dunlop, Ph.D., is the author of Elizabeth and Philip (Pegasus Books: $29.95), a book that provides a historical perspective and insight into Elizabeth and Philip's marriage that lasted nearly 75 years.

Many of the Queen and Philip's biographers have spent a chapter or two on their marriage.  Tessa's book focuses solely on their relationship from their first meeting through their engagement and wedding and enduring marriage.  

However, I found the interviews with other couples who married in the same year as a distraction from the book's premise.   There were also a few errors in the book, which I pointed out privately to Dr. Dunlop.  I hope the mistakes can be corrected in a future edition.

Elizabeth and Philip is an enjoyable read, and I do recommend the book as it offers an excellent insight into the relationship between the late Queen and her husband, who was absolutely the love of her life.


A Resilient Crown is the sixth book published by the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada.    The book is a series of essays, written by Canadian scholars, public servants and historians, and provides context for "Canada's Monarchy at the Platinum Jubilee."

The book is divided into four sections:  A Constitutional Monarchy, The Canadian Crown and Indigenous People, Representing the Sovereign and Perspectives on the Crown in Canada.

A Resilient Crown is historical scholarship at its absolute best.   One of the contributors is Dr. Carolyn Harris, Ph.D. Her essay is titled Royal Tours in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

The book was published in Canada by Dundurn Press.


Roy Strong's Coronation A History of British Monarchy (William Collins: £25.00) is one of the best books I have read in an extraordinarily long time.  It took some time for me to finish it as I would put it down and start another book, then pick it up and read one or two more chapters, before putting it down again.     It is heavy reading, and I am not talking about the 439 pages, but what is written on the pages.

Without a doubt, Sir Roy's book is the definitive history of the English/British Coronations.   This is a demanding read due to the topic, which was extensively researched including the earliest of primary and original sources.   

The book also includes a comprehensive bibliography and index, both of which will help you focus on individual coronations and sovereigns.

If you start reading it now, you might have finished it before the next Coronation.


Here is a list of Coronation magazines you should add to your collection.

Coronation Issue Country Life (April 26, 2023)

This 350-page issue is not available on Amazon, but it is worth tracking down.  It was the first thing I grabbed in Smith's in Heathrow as I headed toward the Heathrow Express.

Prince to Monarch  King Charles III published by Hello!



The King's Coronation Country Life 100-page Souvenir edition.

Hello! Souvenir Issue  God Save the King 

This special issue includes all the Coronation articles that were published in the two special issues but excludes the pop star and fashion articles.


The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and Her Majesty Queen Camilla Official Souvenir


King Charles  Coronation Special People Royals.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Atlantis Magazine is back


Greg King and Penny Wilson announced today announced the return of Atlantis Magazine: In the Courts of Memory.   This is great news as the magazine specializes in Romanov history & biography.

From the official announcement:

"This first issue contains an interesting new article on Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna, drawing on obscure Russian sources; a history of the English Palace at Peterhof; an examination of the revolutionary songs sung in the Ipatiev House during the Imperial Family’s captivity in Ekaterinburg; a lengthy reexamination of claims and counter-claims about what really happened at the Yar restaurant in Moscow in 1915 involving Rasputin; a look at the history and future of Ropsha Palace; a biographical portrait of Countess Catherine Ignatieva, based on new Russian materials; and a review of Coryne Hall’s book Rasputin’s Killer and an interview about her Romanov works."

The issue costs $20 and can be purchased from Amazon.    

Atlantis Magazine was first published in 1999 and continued throught 2003.