Thursday, March 31, 2011

One book to miss -- really!!

This book is for sale through Amazon and called The Royal Families of Europe by Lars Ulwencreutz.   Three words: don't buy it.  Do not waste your money.  A friend of mine, Steven Lavallee,  wrote this review, and has given me permission to repost here.

"This book includes huge swathes of direct copy-and-pasted material that can be found on a long established website widely known to fans of royal genealogy called "An Online Gotha." The author and publisher appears to have re-formatted entries from An Online Gotha, centering each entry instead of using the left-hand margin approach used at the website. There is no bibliography at all (no footnotes, and no index either). Looking over the book, a naive person might imagine that the 700+ pages of largely copied information simply sprung from Mr. Ulwencreutz's head."

The author and the publisher are one in the same.    The Royal Families of Europe is a rip off.  Do not ... I repeat ... do not purchase this book.    Ulwencreutz apparently plans ten volumes during the next year.  It can be safely assumed that he is not doing any original research, but cutting and pasting from other people.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Read More About It: King Leopold II and the Belgian Congo

Here are several recommended books on King Leopold II and the tragedy that was the Belgian Congo:
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terrorism and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild.  This book is available in hardcover and paperback through Amazon and other sources.  I cannot recommend this book enough.    The original US edition was published by Houghton Mifflin.

The King Incorporated:  Leopold II and the Congo by Neal Ascherson.

Both of these titles were also published in the United Kingdom.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

and for the North American market

William & Kate Planning a Royal Wedding William & Kate: The Royal Romance

The DVD will be released on May 24

Prince William and Kate: The Royal Romance  The price of this DVD is $19.98.   It will be released on April 12.

New DVDs: Prince Wiliam and Catherine Mid

Here are several new DVDs (PAL) on the romance of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

Prince William & Kate: The Royal Romance was released in late 2010.

Prince William An  unauthorised story.

William & Kate -- A Royal Love Story

All three DVDs are available in the UK in the PAL format.  These DVDs cannot be played on the majority of North American DVD players.

DVD: The Royal Wedding in Colour: Princess Elizabeth and Lt. Philip Mountbatten

"For the first time ever Demand DVD in association with Celtic Arrow Media releases unseen footage of the Royal Wedding of the then Princess Elizabeth & Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. Filmed by pioneering Cinematographer Jack Cardiff OBE, BSC ( Cinematographer Black Narcissus, Red Shoes and latterly The African Queen and Death on the Nile (and many others) this amazing film was one of the first to be shot in the then new Technicolor process in the 1940s. It contains never seen before footage in full colour of the processions at Westminster Abbey and afterwards at Buckingham Palace in the summer of 1947.

The film has not been digitally enhanced; the footage and soundtrack are as on the original and coming in at just under 30 minutes it is a far cry from today s detailed Media coverage. It is however a piece of History and provides a wonderful reminder of the times and people involved in this momentous event."   From's product description.

This DVD will be released in the UK on April 18.  PAL, not NTSC.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

US Magazine's Royal Wedding issue

While waiting for my Vanilla Latte at Borders this afternoon, I perused new magazines. US Magazine,  the poor man's People Magazine,  has recently published its own royal wedding commemorative magazine.  The second issue will be published shortly after the wedding, and will include photographs from the great day.  

I browsed through the first part, and put it back on the shelf.  Too cheesy.   Not worth the money. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied

A rather interesting article from the Wall Street Journal regarding the publication of the first two volumes of Prince Maximilian of Wied's North American Journals, which have been edited by Stephan S. Witte and Marsha V Gallagher.  The publisher is the University of Oklahoma Press.

Each volume is price at $85.00 if you order from the publisher.   Amazon is a teeny bit less costly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are you going to the Royal Wedding

to be in the Crowd in London?  The BBC wants to talk with you  ... really ... THE BRITISH BROADCASTING COMPANY!!  wants to talk with you ... if you are going to be in the crowd ... you don't have to be British to talk with the BBC.  They also understand American English ... so Americans ... Canadians ... Australians ... and so on ....

Calling all Royal enthusiasts and Anglophiles!

Are you a Royal fanatic?
Are you excited about the forthcoming wedding?
Are you planning on trekking to London for the big day to see the King
and Queen-to-be?

If this sounds like you then we would like to hear from you....

Please email

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Royal Weddings A Very Peculiar History

Question:  who ran away and got married in secret?

Answer: Edward the Black Prince who eloped with Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, reported to be the most beautiful woman in England.  The bride and groom were cousins.

Inquiring minds want to know about royal weddings -- the facts, just the facts -- and the answers can be found in a very cute book, Royal Weddings A Very Peculiar History (Salariya: £7.99.   Fiona Macdonald has certainly done her research  -- the term wedding breakfast was not used until the 19th century -- "like fish-knives."

Here you will find the alleged bridegroom checklist compiled by the Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs in 1926.  Crown Princess Juliana's future husband had to be royal, Protestant, healthy, wealthy, intelligent, of good reputation, from a responsible family, not German and not Dutch!

So why was there a double wedding - the only one in British royal history in 1818?  "To produce more heirs" ... of course.

Royal Weddings a Very History is positively brilliant, humorous and pure delight.  Where else can you learn about royal honeymoons, royal sex (yes, royals do have sex), honeymoons, food, even royal revulsion on the wedding nights.  Carefully researched - and coveted.  You will not put this book down.  You will laugh .. and smile .. and laugh some more. 

I am impressed with the quality - and the depth of the research.  A definite must have for the let's have some fun set.   Royal Weddings Very Peculiar History -- get it, read it, enjoy it!

Americans can order it from, which makes the book less costly for North American readers.

Prince Michael of Greece's Bourbon-Orleans

Prince Michael of Greece's book, Bourbon-Orléans was published by Rosvall Royal Books in 2009. As the book is still in print - and Ted Rosvall is my publisher, too -- I thought I should give the book a plug.

Prince Michael, who was born in 1939, is the only child of the late Prince Christopher of Greece and the late Princess Francoise of France. He has impeccable family connections on both sides of his family.  This book focuses on his maternal side - the Bourbon-Orleans branch of the French royal house. 

This is an inclusive selection of photos - from King Louis Philippe and Queen Marie Amelie to the final formal portrait of Prince Christopher, Princess Francoise and infant Prince Michael -- that are breathtaking in their historical value.  But many of these portraits are also private family snaps.  Little Princess Margherita of Savoy-Aosta wearing a Tahitian costume and prancing outside at Miramare. There are also photographs from the weddings of the Count of Paris  and Isabelle de Orleans-Braganza,  Anne of France and the Duke of Aosta,  Louise of France and Don Carlo of Borbon-Two-Sicilies.

Members of the family made grand marriages, even though the French royal house was in exile.  Princess Amelie married the future King Carlos of Portugal.   Philippe, Duke of Orleans's marriage to Archduchess Maria Dorothea  of Austria, was childless and miserable.  Princess Helene, once linked to the Duke of Clarence, married the Duke of Aosta, a cousin of the Italian King.  Helene's religion kept her from marrying the second line to the British throne.

This is a superb book.  So many wonderful and delightful group photos of a historic family.  Kudos to Prince Michael for opening his family albums, and allowing Rosvall Royal Books to compile this book.

I understand the book can be ordered from van Hoogstragen.   Rosvall Royal Books can be contacted by email:

William and Kate by Christopher Anderson: don't bother!!!!

This is one book you can miss.  Seriously.  Don't bother.  Christopher Anderson is the author, and he is not very good.  This book, subtitled A Royal Love Story, is utter crap.  He tries to portray Carole Middleton as a scheming mother, determined to push her daughter toward  Prince William, by demanding that Kate go to St. Andrews.  She tries to push Kate into getting her application before Christmas.
Sorry, Mr. Anderson, but British universities do not have rolling admissions!

What is also insufferable is Anderson's attempt to create alleged statements by Kate and her family regarding the royal family at the time of Diana's death -- and how cruel and horrible the royal family was to Diana -- so why would Carole want to sacrifice her elder daughter to marriage with a member of the Royal Family.  Utter tosh.

This book is as bad as Anderson's earlier royal books, The Day Diana Died and Diana's Boys (as if Diana conceived without the help of the Prince of Wales.)    One can never trust a writer who lists Harold Brooks-Baker as a source.

Don't bother with this awful treacle.  Definitely not worth adding to any library.  Not even worth reading on the Metro.

Willam and Kate

The wedding is now less than six weeks away.   Book and magazine shelves are beginning to fill up with publications about Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and expect even more after the wedding.  I will be reviewing books and special publications that are published in the United Kingdom and in the United States.   Yes, the United States.   British publications are also being sold in North America.  If you see other special publications, especially commemorative magazines, please drop me an email.  You will find a link for my email address on the right.

The first commemorative magazine, A Royal Wedding,  was published in the United States by USA Today.  It was published only a few weeks after the engagement  was announced.   This is uniquely American publication, and I do not know if USA Today has made arrangements to sell the magazine in the United Kingdom.

This is a glossy publication complete with the official engagement photographs.  The editors have chosen to include feature articles previously published in USA Today. A profile of Kate was first published on November 17.  There is also a timeline of the couple's romance, beginning at St. Andrew's, and culminating with the large sapphire and diamond ring on Kate's fourth finger.

No special publication on the royals can be complete without the requisite article on the late Diana, Princess of Wales. This magazine's article "Reflections on Di" was first published on August 31, 1998.

There are also features on the bridegroom -- lots of photos -- and his father, the Prince of Wales, and his reaction to the engagement.

USA Today has done a fine job with it's 100- page A Royal Wedding.  It is still available on magazine stands at local books, and is also available from Amazon,   The price is $7.99.

Another American publication is The Royal Wedding, which has been published by Life ($12.99/$16.99 Can.)  Life has done a nice job with many photographs of the William and Catherine, as a couple, and growing up. The magazine features several articles on the courtship, on Kate and her family, and on the Windsors themselves. 

The final pages are devoted to two royal weddings: Charles and Diana (where William's story begins) and Andrew and Sarah, where four-year-old William entertained his six-year-old cousin, Laura Fellowes, when both were young attendants. 

Now, nearly 25 years later,  Prince William will be waiting at the altar for his bride, the very pretty Catherine Middleton. 

Life magazine will also be publishing The Royal Wedding Prince William and Kate Middleton: A Commemorative Edition with pictures from the wedding in May.  This will be published in a hardcover edition, and released in the UK on May 31.  The first edition will be released in the UK in early May.

The text was written by Robert Sullivan.  Life has also released the commemorative book in a hardcover edition ($19.99.)

The Daily Mirror, a London tabloid, has produced Wills & Kate A Royal Love Story, which has a lot of photos of the couple, past and present, and tells the story of the royal romance through Mirror headlines.  This magazine is available for sale in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and in Europe.  The prices are, respectively,  £4.99, $12.99, $19.99 and E8.99.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Biographies about Queen Victoria

There is a wealth of biographical material on Queen Victoria, but the real question: where to start and what to read.

The standard biography -- and what got me into this mess in the frst place -- is Elizabeth Longford's Queen Victoria: Born to Succeed, which was originally published in 1964.   Lady Longford's biography is largely considered as an official biography,  as she was given complete access to material in the Royal Archives.  Unfortunately, most of Victoria's correspondence was burned by her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice.

There are several other good (thick) biographies of Victoria, who reigned from 1837 until her death in January 1901.  I am rather partial to Cecil Woodham-Smith's Queen Victoria from her Birth Until the Death of the Prince Consort, published in 1972.   Woodham-Smith  died before she could complete the second volume.  The first book is a magnificent achievement - and wohaveuld have,  I believe, surpassed Longford.   I also have great admiration for Giles St. Aubyn's Queen Victoria: A Portrait (1991), which is impeccably researched, and complements the Longford biography.
American biographer Stanley Weintraub is the author of Victoria: An Intimate Biography, which focuses on Victoria's domestic life.  This book was first published in 1987.

I would start with Giles St. Aubyn's work, followed by Longford's book, and then the Cecil Woodham-Smith.

BBC America - royal wedding programming

Here in the US, we can expect a surfeit of programmings on the networks and on the cable stations. Here is a press release from BBC America touting their offerings.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Andrew Morton - writing a new book

I can hardly wait.  Andrew Morton is writing a book on Prince William and Catherine Middleton ...

and would like to write a book on the Duchess of Cornwall.  He could call the book:  Camilla: The Other Side of the Story.

Read More about Grand Duke Gabriel and his family

Grand Duke Gabriel Konstantovitch's autobiography,  Memories in the Marble Palace, was published in French and Russian in the 1950s.   It was rumored that an English translation was lost in the bombing of the United State Embassy in Beirut in 1984, but one questions the reliability of such a statement.  It is entirely possible that there was not an English translation until 2009 when Paul Gilbert published Memories in the Marble Palace.

Gilbert has published the book in a limited edition, and is the cost is $35.00 plus postage.  You will not be able to order this book from Amazon.

Greg King and Penny Wilson are the authors of Golden Prism, a biography of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantovitch and his family,  The book was published by