New Royal Novels

I’ve enjoyed a few royal novels in my day, such as Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle, or Sue Townsend’s wonderful royal novels, to mention only a few. Now interest in Prince Harry’s wedding, Meghan’s-much-clutched bump, and Archie’s apperance on the scen, has led to a few new novels with royal characters–including an imaginary American Royal Family. There has been quite a renewed interest in Princess Grace of Monaco, too, that has generated several new novels. Finally, this summer we have a lot of reasons to read a best-selling romance between a prince and a resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue round out the list.

Three Forthcoming Royal Novels

#1 The American Royals by Katherine McGee

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From Amazon:

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown.
Two girls vying for the prince’s heart.
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

American Royals by Katherine McGee releases on September 3, 2019

Thank you to Amy’s Bookish Life for bringing this book to my attention.

#2 The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Blalock

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My most anxiously awaited title of the Autumn! I love the title playing on the superb Other Bolyn Girl! Netflix’s The Crown, for all the mischief it has created with fictionalized storylines, has managed to generate new interest in the Queen’s sister and her doomed love affiar with an Equerry. When you realize that Margaret’s niece, Princess Anne, later married an equerry after her own divorce, you can develop a lot of sympathy for the semi-tragic princess.

From Amazon:

In dreary, post-war Britain, Princess Margaret captivates everyone with her cutting edge fashion sense and biting quips. The royal socialite, cigarette holder in one hand, cocktail in the other, sparkles in the company of her glittering entourage of wealthy young aristocrats known as the Margaret Set, but her outrageous lifestyle conflicts with her place as Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister. Can she be a dutiful princess while still dazzling the world on her own terms?

The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Blalock releases November 5, 2019 (should have been November 3rd, the birthday of Magaret’s son David, [2nd] Earl of Snowdon).

#3 The Girl in the White Gloves by Kerri Maher 

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The author of The Kennedy Debutante gives us a novel of Grace Kelly. I am looking forward to this one!

From Amazon:

A life in snapshots…

Grace knows what people see. She’s the Cinderella story. An icon of glamor and elegance frozen in dazzling Technicolor. The picture of perfection. The girl in white gloves.

A woman in living color…

But behind the lens, beyond the panoramic views of glistening Mediterranean azure, she knows the truth. The sacrifices it takes for an unappreciated girl from Philadelphia to defy her family and become the reigning queen of the screen. The heartbreaking reasons she trades Hollywood for a crown. The loneliness of being a princess in a fairy tale kingdom that is all too real.
Hardest of all for her adoring fans and loyal subjects to comprehend, is the harsh reality that to be the most envied woman in the world does not mean she is the happiest. Starved for affection and purpose, facing a labyrinth of romantic and social expectations with more twists and turns than Monaco’s infamous winding roads, Grace must find her own way to fulfillment. But what she risks–her art, her family, her marriage—she may never get back.

The Girl in the White Gloves by Kerri Maher releases February 25, 2020

Already a Best-Seller

#4 Red, White, and Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston

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This book is getting a ton of buzz this summer! I’ve been on the library’s waiting list for it since it released.

From Amazon:

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse….Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Red, White, and Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston

New novels with a royal in the title, but with a story mostly about other people:

Meet Me in Monaco: A Novel of Grace Kelly’s Royal Wedding by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

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I LOVED this story! You can read my review here.

The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz

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A new novel with a story involving the influence on fashion of Grace’s wedding dress and a young seastress charged with “sewing another gown in its image” (Amazon).

From earlier this year:

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The Gown by Jennifer Robson tells the “backstory” of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown.  I LOVED this one, too.

More Royal Book Posts

10 New Royal Books for Royal Wedding Week

Royal Books That I all but Refuse to Let Anyone Touch

For My Royal Family posts, click on Royal Family in the tag cloud in the right sidebar

Top Ten [five]Tuesday: Royal Books That I all but Refuse to Let Anyone Touch

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Confession

I have a confession to make: I do not loan print books except to my college best friend and my Mom. That’s it. Sorry. I was burned too many times when young. I will loan Kindle books that are able to be loaned. There. Got that off my chest.

Do Not Touch

I own a few books that I’d rather no one touch. Oh, I will let you. But if you drag page corners to turn pages or something horrible like that, I’ll throw myself on the book to save it.

Once again, I’ve failed to come up with ten. This week I’ve got only the Top Five. But, today’s release of the Downton Abbey movie trailer will make a few people take an interest in these–The Duke of Windsor and his sister and brothers are contemporaries of Ladies Mary, Edith, and Sybil Crawley. Queen Mary and George V are of Robert and Cora’s generation, and their grandchildren Sybie, George and Marigold are the agemates of Queen Elizabeth! In the movie, George V and Queen Mary are visiting Downton Abbey.

The Books

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This book isn’t “rare” it’s merely rare–as in it was mass produced but not in enormous quantities.  It is Hugo Vicker’s most beautiful book and shows the completely over-the-top homelife of the ex-King Edward VIII and “the woman he loved,” Wallis Simpson, at their Paris home which was later taken over by Dodi Fayad’s father.  The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

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I hope I live long enough that Queen Mary’s diaries will be available online. She is perhaps the most fascinating of royals. Fiance of two heirs to the throne, wife of a King, mother of two other sovereigns, she saw it for what it was: the best career going for a woman of her time and class. She saw all sorts of changes in the royal world in addition to the world at large. She was an odd bird, but interesting. These are all pages from her personal photo albums. Family photos are the most interesting and tell so much of the story. These were taken by her or by others in the family or the “suite” (ladies in waiting, equerries, etc.). All are annotated in her own hand. Queen Mary’s Photo Albums.

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Louisa served the first royal Gan-gan, Queen Victoria, and then served her daughter-in-law Queen Alexandra–who was mother-in-law to Queen Mary. This is a fascinating book with pages of photos, scrapbook memories and other images.  Louisa, lady in waiting : the personal diaries and albums of Louisa, Lady in Waiting to Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra.

While his mother, Queen Mary, was one of the most interesting royals, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was one of the most boring. He did collect sporting prints and antique sporrans, but that’s about as exciting as it gets. The treasure is finding out that the used copy of his equally dull authorized biography I bought online was signed by his widow. The now later Dowager Duchess of Gloucester is the only wife officially allowed to call herself Princess. In widowhood she was known as Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. Prince Henry by Nobel Frankland.

Alice lived so long she produced two memoirs. Both are enjoyable, but the Ninety Years volume has a scrapbook feel and features her watercolors and photographs–one of which won a major award back in the day. Her brother was a big shot in Colonial Kenya–of the Happy Valley set and she, like her future royal husband, spent a lot of time in that beautiful country (or colony as it was then). She and her “Harry,” were both keen horse people–they hunted (fox hunting) throughout the season. They sadly lost their eldest son, Prince William, in an air crash–he was a daredevil and raced planes.  Memories of Princess Alices, Duchess of Gloucester.

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl--here’s a link to the rules. Why not join in the fun next week?

 

 

Shared Royal Birthdays and More Interesting Royal Dates, Part II, Archie Harrison M-W Birthday Edition!

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Newly born Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, aka “Baby Sussex,” at his first photo op at Gan-Gan’s place, aka Windsor Castle.

A Note on That Name

Many American’s are aghast at the choice of “Archie” for it instantly brings to mind t.v.’s most celebrated bigot, Archie Bunker. Across the pond, however, Archie is one of the most popular boy’s names right now, hitting the same demographic of parents that would choose “Liam” or “Noah” here in the U.S.A. Something tells me Archie will soon break into the Social Security Administration’s Top 1000 names–even top 100 names, for boys in 2018/19.

First, a bit of royal trivia:

“Gan-gan” is not a name little Prince George thought up. The Queen referred to her Grandmother, Queen Mary– that is her children’s Great-Grandmother, as such in her televised Christmas speech one year with Andrew and Edward as they looked at old photo albums. It is the royal family’s name for their Great-Grandmother. Harry also used it to refer to the Queen Mother in a fairly recent documentary that included home movies.

You can read my previous Royal Shared Days post HERE if you’d like.

The Birthdays

Archie shares his May 6th birthday with a few higher-ranking royals of the past.

Tzar Nicholas II

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Under the old Russian calendar, the last Tzar of All the Russians, the murdered Nicholas II, was born on May 6, 1868. Under the modern calendar the date was May 18. Nicholas, left, is shown here with his look-a-like first cousin [the future] George V. George V was Gan-gan’s Grandpapa England. Baby Sussex has Grandpapa Wales (i.e., Prince Charles).

Crown Prince Wilhelm

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It’s easy today to forget how inter-related royal families used to be. Prince Philip and the Queen are BOTH descendants of Queen Victoria and of Christian IX of Denmark! Elizabeth’s uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent, married Philip’s first cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark! All but two of Queen Victoria’s nine children married other royals. Her eldest daughter, also named Victoria (aka Vicky) became Empress of Germany and was the mother of World War I’s Kaiser Wilhelm. Baby Sussex shares his birthday with the last-born heir to the German throne, Crown Prince Wilhem (aka Willie), who was born May 6, 1882.

The Death

Edward VII

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Edward VII, Gan-gan’s (Queen Elizabeth II) Great-Grandfather, died on May 6, 1910.

The Wedding

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon

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Late, great-great Aunt Margot, aka Princess Margaret, Gan-gan’s sister, married Anthony Armstong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowden on May 6, 1960. He would be the last royal spouse (to date) given a peerage.  Baby’s Great-Aunt Anne (the Princess Royal) is the eldest bridesmaid, standing in front of best man (he was a last-minute replacement).

 

Hollywood “Royalty”

There has been speculation that George and Amal Clooney, who attended Harry and Meghan’s wedding, might be chosen as Godparents. That speculation was ended today by Clooney himself–you can read about it here. Even so, what were the odds of baby Archie arriving on George Clooney’s own birthday?

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George Clooney was born May 6, 1961 in the lovey university and horse racing city of Lexington, Kentucky and is the nephew of singer Rosemary Clooney.

 

The Disguised Royal Pregnancy

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H.R.H. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and his new Duchess, the former Katarine Worsley, leave York Minster on their wedding day.

Do the hashtags #Moonbump or #fakepregnancy mean anything to you? Social media is alive with rumors and photos claiming to show that current member of the British Royal family is faking a pregnancy–likely due to using a surrogate. The web claims that royal once admitted in a very long ago interview that I have not read, that she had surgery so cannot have a baby.  I’ve read it all, seen all the photos and admit I have concerns. Whatever! This post is not going to sort THAT all out! Instead today I’m looking at two very sad royal pregnancies endure by the same lovely royal lady, one of which was somewhat #faked–well, “disguised” or “camoflagued” and both of which ended in tragedy.

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Like Princess Eugenie and Jack, the Kents had to wait on Princess Margaret’s marriage to finally tie the knot. Here they are just before their wedding at a horse races.

The Queen’s first cousin, H.R.H. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, married the very lovely Katharine Worsley. She is perhaps best known as the lovely blonde who gave the trophies at Wimbledon and hugged Martina in center court to comfort her. Like Diana, she was a people person–she hugged, visited sick children in hospital and when life wasn’t going her way she quietyly took a job teaching music in a state [i.e. public] school in the very disadvantaged city of Hull. And, she never tweeted or Instagramed about it, not even once. Nor did she alert the media about anything she did.

This royal wife endured much of what other women who married into the House of Windsor have endured. The men in suits didn’t care much for her. Her own VERY royal mother-in-law, the one who called the Queen Mother and the late Duchess of Gloucester “those common Scottish girls” truly did NOT like her or welcome her. (That was Princess Marina, Prince Philip’s cousin who married Queen Elizabeth’s cousin.) The palace could have learned a LOT from this marriage that would have helped Charles and Diana in time.

Back in 1977, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Silver Jubilee–25 years on the throne. There were three royal ladies pregnant that year–Princess Anne, who deservedly had pride of place, was expecting the Queen and Prince Philip’s first grandchild. The Duchess of Gloucester was expecting her second child and the Duchess of Kent was expecting her fouth. Even at 14 I thought it odd that this gracious and lovely lady, who wasn’t due until later in the fall was going about in bulky maternity clothes already. But my grandmother said that could happen in later pregnancies so I gave it no more thought. (It would be up to Anne, who called pregnancy “a hazard of being a wife,” to introduce husband’s army sweaters and the like to royal off-duty maternity wear.)56521548_10162590847860643_3648589840531849216_n

Katharine, surrounded by husband Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and their surviviving children, Lord Nicholas and Lady Helen Windsor and the Earl of St. Andrews at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Service 1977. Photo is by Serge Lemoine in his book Silver Jublilee Year: A Complete Pictoral Record. [See the end of the post for complete information].

Fast-forward many years when I read the very well done biography of “Kate Kent” as she was sometimes called in the press. The Kents, chose to cover up how far along the pregnancy was–and called the still birth of their third son a “miscarriage.” To make it all even sadder, it occurred the week of the Duke’s birthday. I cannot imagine how they felt as they endured all of this. [For the record, my mother carried my deceased twin until labor started naturally about 6 weeks before the due date].

Katharine Kent’s horrors aren’t confined to this tragedy though. Earlier in the 1970s, she would undergo what was termed a “medically necessary” abortion due to exposure to German measles.  [How different are two countries, I ask you? Imagine someone in public life SURVIVING after the world “abortion” was appended to them?] In an age when it was generally reviled and rarely legal, she had to make that decision. Poor lady.

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Katharine accompanies her youngest child, Lord Nicholas Windsor, to the rehearsal for Charles and Diana’s wedding at St. Paul’s. Nicky is a Godson of Prince Charles and was a pageboy in the wedding along with the son of the family who moved in to Amner Hall–Edward Van Cutsem.

Well, sadly, poor Katharine could not cope with the loss of two babies. Who could? She had a complete breakdown. Her marriage was all but dead by then, but both Kents are truly devoted to their children and grandchildren. Eddie is a “devout” member of the Royal Family and, so, for good or bad, they did not divorce. Katharine found comfort in faith and became a Roman Catholic, as did her sons and some of her grandchildren later on. [Her younger son, Lord Nicholas, is an anti-abortion crusader today]. Her husband retained his distant place in the succession to the throne becasue she was not a Catholic at the time of their marriage. (This is no longer an impediment to royal marriage).

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TRH The Duke and Duchess of Kent at the wedding of Prince Harry.

In time, Katharine regained her equilibrium and returned occasionally to royal life.  The Kents gave up Amner Hall–the house that is today William and the other Catherine’s country home. When Charles and Diana divorced, the couple relinquished York House for Prince Charles to use. (He moved to Clarence House after the death of his grandmother several years later.) Today she is mostly seen at Royal Family events like weddings and occasionally still at Wimbledon. Sadly, these days she often looks very confused and people around her in photos are often showing real concern toward her.

I think it is important to recall the real tragedies THIS royal duchess endured with grace. Hopefully, those claiming Sussexes are not being truthful know about The Duchess of Kent’s tragedies and care about the suffering Katharine endured.

 

 

Sources

Photo of Katharine and family at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee is from this book:

 

The information on Katharine’s pregnancies comes from this book:

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Copyright 1999.

Review: Princess: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II by Jane Dismore

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My Interest

If you haven’t figured out by now that I’m a big fan of the Queen and Prince Philip, you haven’t read much on this blog! I’m picky though—I expect accuracy and cited sources. For far, far, too long biographers have relied on the highjacked prose of the Queen’s former governess, Marion Crawford, as the be-all, end-all on her childhood. In the last 10 years old friends, Prince Philip’s cousins and others have given good interviews in documentaries and magazines, that put the nails into the Crawfie-Little-Princesses-book’s coffin once and for all. First Hugo Vickers exposed the sham the book became in the hands of its American editors. What governess, who knew them intimately, would still be calling them “little girls” when Elizabeth was busy making out with Philip? Right?! So, it is with this in mind that my interest was peaked when I opened a copy and instantly saw a new name being quoted–a name who WOULD know how things were.

What I Liked

That person, Myra Wernher Butter, is sort-of related to Prince Philip (it would take too long to explain). And, she grew up knowing both of the Queen and Philip. It is Philip’s presence throughout the story that I love. Because he WAS there. Oh, not necessarily in the same room with Elizabeth and Margaret. He was, however, a descendant of both Queen Victoria and Christian IX [“The Father-in-law of Europe and father of Queen Alexandra]. His mother was born at Windsor Castle and, for most of his widohood, his Grandmother lived at Kennsington Palace. After her marriage in 1934, his first cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark [the Denmark part always gets left off–hence “Phil the Greek”] was Duchess of Kent–wife of Elizabeth’s paternal uncle.

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Philip and Elizabeth with George VI and Lord Mountbatten (among others) 1939

Philip was around the royals from time-to-time both at royal residences and at the home of Wernhers and of Myra’s sister, Gina [who married Edwina Mountbatten’s former long-term lover, but that remains for another day’s discussion]. He spent nearly all of his life after age 8 at school in Britain (except one brief year in Germany at school on his sister’s estate) and was looked after by his mother’s brothers, the former Princes of Battenberg aka George, Marquess of Milford Haven and [as he was titled then] Lord Louis Mountbatten. George’s son, David, was Philip’s best man.

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Princess Elizabeth with paternal first cousin George Lascelles, the future Earl of Harewood

I also liked that it put paid to Crawfie’s stupid assertion that boys were a rarity in Elizabeth’s world. Hogwash! Crawfie didn’t necessarily go with the family on visits to friends with stately homes–that was Nanny “Alah’s” job. Not only were her two nearest-in-age Royal cousins both boys (Princess Mary’s sons), but many of her parents’ friends sons figured in her life as she visited their homes, attended dancing class, visited with Eton boys who were sent up the hill for the annual tea and more.

This is a much more balanced view of Elizabeth’s childhood. It is fun reading this today to realize she is a contemporary of Downton Abbey’s Sybbie, George and Marigold. Imagine!

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The christening of FDR’s royal godson in 1942

One Head-Smackingly Awful Error

I point this out because it is in the “You had ONE job” category.

The author mentions that one royal is a godson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. You choose which one, ok?

  1. Prince Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick of Kent [now the Duke of Kent] born October 9, 1935.
  2. Prince Michael George Charles Franklin of Kent born July 4, 1942.

Pretty obvious, yes? No, not to the author! She said it was Eddy! Duh. Yes, I e-mailed the publisher.

Happily, Eddie and brother Michael have no barring on the quality of the book!

Rating

3.5

Well worth reading–espeically if you are new to all things royal.

Review: Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown

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When it comes to chosing a cover photo some people just nail it. That’s the case wit this book. See the horrified woman behind “Ma’am Darling”? That eye says it all.

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A little sisterly side-eye from Queen Elizabeth

Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s only sibling, could have been the first Real Housewife of Kennsington Palace, the model for Bridezilla and the Chairman of the Board of the First Wives Club. She could also according to some, have been a remarkable cabarete singer and piano player.

She had a seemingly unending need for deference, booze and the beaches of Mustique. She is credited by some for starting the 1960’s upperclass “too posh to push” school of child birth. Easy to understand why.

She had a cringe-inducing, well-publicised romp with a Toyboy and yet retained the nerve to cut Sarah, Duchess of York, dead for having her toes sucked on the front page of the tabloids in the late 1980’s. All of this made her both hated, revield, loved, and adored. And mocked–oh how often was she mocked? In recent times by Tracey Ullman, previously by the Spitting Image puppets and before that by witty magazines.

Her life, though, ended on a very sad note. Not used to checking anything for herself, she badly burnt her feet stepping into a scalding bath–the water was always “just right” for Ma’am. Then her horrendous smoking and drinking caught up with her and she suffered several stroked.

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Margaret near the end of her life outside her mother’s home, Clarence House

The Book

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Thorpe and second wife, the former Countess of Harewood–former wife of Princess Margaret’s cousin.

This book could be sutbtitled: An Anthonlogy of Horrific Royal Behavior. As the title suggests it is a collection of antedotes on “Margot” and her very regal behavior intetrspersed with biographical sound-bytes.  Many of these I’ve read elsewhere as you would expect in an anthology.  I was especially fascinated by one “new” bit–that Margaret’s husband, the then Anthony Armstong-Jones, a child of divorced parents who endured polio, was a classmate and friend of scandal-plagued Liberal politician Jeremy Thorpe.

The story is that Thorpe, in addition to giving school chums an eerily prescient performance of the speech he planned to give when standing down as Prime Minister, Thorpe hoped and planned to marry Princess Margaret! Instead she married his friend, Tony. Since Thorpe was a homosexual in a UK that still considered that an offense resulting in prison, Margaret would have been the most protective beard a man ever had. But, there’s an interesting end to that story beyond Thorpe’s scandals. He married the woman Margaret’s paternal first cousin, Lord Harewood, dumped!

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The Mitford sisters

Another new-to-me-story concerns Jessica Mitford–the liberal end of the famous six Mitford sisters. By then middle aged, an radical in America and married to the Black Panthers attorney, she unexpectly found herself seated next to Princess Margaret at a party. After a bit of nervous chat, Jessica’s husband arrived and she introduced him. He did not know or did not admit to knowing H.R.H.

Decca [Jessica’s nickname] please present your husband to me,” the Princess says.

“I can’t think why you can’t just say your name,” Decca says back.

Margot called over a flunkey and had him make the required “presentation.”

My Verdict

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For those who think Prince Harry’s naked game of pool or turning up at a party in a Nazi unform was the utmost in royal boorishness, this book will open your eyes to just how awful the “Spare” heir can be.

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Margaret and her children, the current Lord Snowdon and Lady Sarah Chatto

To close, one GOOD antecdote I’ve used in my own life. When asked about taking her children to museums, Margaret recalled the endless tours and lectures with her grandmother, Queen Mary [the loathed each other, by the way]. Margaret said something all parents should follow. She took her children to see one, maybe two pictures in a museum. Better that they beg for one more than be bored into hating it all.

4 Stars

Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret byt Craig Brown

Shared Royal Birthdays and More Interesting Royal Dates

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source Rex

Shared Birthdays

The Two August Babies

See those children on the left? [see photo above] Princess Margaret, in front of her grandfather King George V, and the Hon. Gerald Lascelles, in front of his father the then Viscount Lascelles [Later Earl of Harewood]. These two share the same birthday, albeit six years apart. Both Gerald (1924) and Margaret (1930) were born on August 21st. You can read more about Gerald’s fascinating parents’ and their cross-generational romance HERE.

The Two Christmas Babies

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Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (the only in-law not born a royal ever allowed to call herself “Princess”) was born Christmas Day 1901.  Her husband’s niece, Princess Alexandra of Kent, was born Christmas Day 1936–the Year of The Three Kings. She had the name “Christabel” added to her string of names in honor of being born on Christmas Day. Her parents were the current Queen’s Uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent and Prince Philip’s first cousin, Princess Marina of Greece.

More Shared Birthdays

February 25, 1883 – Birth of Princess Alice of Albany, the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria, at Windsor Castle
February 25, 1885 – Birth of Princess Alice of Battenberg, mother of Prince Philip, wife of Prince Andrew of Greece, at Windsor Castle

These two even swapped places as a bridesmaid in a royal wedding. When one couldn’t get there the other was given the job!

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Prince Louis of Cambridge

April 23, 1981–Birth of Lady Gabriella Windsor, daughter of Prince Michael of Kent

April 23, 2018–Birth of Prince Louis Arthur George of Cambridge. Son of Prince William.

A Dig at Dad? Married on Papa’s Birthday

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The Duke and Duchess of Windsor (aka King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson) were married June 3, 1937. The Duke’s late father, King George V, was born June 3, 1865. He famously said “When I am gone the boy [his eldest son] will ruin himself in a year.” In fact it didn’t take quite that long.

The Eternal Day of Gloom and a Birth That Did Not Amuse Queen Victoria

Victoria’s beloved Albert Dies and her poor Great-Grandson has the audacity to be BORN on the anniversary! Prince Albert of York (George VI) is beside Queen Victoria standing in front. Yes, boys wore dresses then.

This was a very, very important date until Victoria died in 1901. Royals trooped en masse to dear Albert’s resting place, like it or not.

Here are all the royal deaths, and that one birth, that occurred on this date:

  • December 14, 1861–Death of Prince Albert (the Prince Consort) Queen Victoria’s beloved husband.
  • December 14, 189  Birth of Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George of York, later King George VI (father of the current Queen)
  • December 14, 1878 Death of Princess Alice of Hesse (2nd Daughter of Queen Victoria and Great-Grandmother of Prince Philip)
  • December 14, 1945 Death of the Countess of Southesk, aka HH Princess Maud of Fife (Granddaughter of King Edward VII)

The Royal Leap Year Baby

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James Robert Bruce Ogilvy, son of Princess Alexandra and the Hon. [later Sir] Angus Ogilvy was born on Febrary29, 1964–Leap Year Day.  He went to boarding school with Prince Edward and former Prime Minister David Cameron. James is also the name-sake Godfather of Prince Edward’s son, Viscount Severn–youngest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth.

Celebrate Your Brother’s Birthday by Holding Your Wedding On His Birthday!

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November 14, 1973 was Prince Charles’ 25th birthday, so Princess Anne celbrated by getting married! Her wedding to first husband, Mark Phillips, was held in Westminster Abbey with only two attendants–her little brother, Prince Edward and their first cousin Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones. She’d said she had seen “yards of uncontrollable children” at too many weddings. Since she regularly served tours of duty as an in-demand society bridesmaid as a child and teen she knew what she was talking about!

Sadly, their first child, Peter Phillips, missed being born on his parents’ fourth wedding anniversary by only a few hours. He was born November 15, 1977.

 

Easiest Birthday to Remember!

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Princess Beatrice of York, daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, was born on 8-8-’88, August 8, 1988.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 New Royal Books for Royal Wedding Week

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Nonfiction

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Andrew Morton is the journalist to whom Diana told her side of the War of the Wales. Now he’s telling about royal bride Meghan Markle, whose stated ambition is to be the next Diana.

Meghan: A Hollywood Princess by Andrew Morton.

Note: There are way, way too many Meghan/Harry books to even try to cover them all.

 

 

 

Duchess

 

Author Penny Junor is seen as Prince Charles’ apologist. This book is yet another attempt to make the Diana-worshippers and conspiracy-freaks come around to liking Camilla. I wasn’t a fan of the late Princess of Wales, but this book was just unnecessary. Haters are gonna’ hate. In short–don’t waste more breath (or paper) trying to win converts.

Duchess: Camilla Parker-Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked The Crown by Penny Junor.

 

 

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Britain and Russia had ties thru marriage. First, the sister of the Princess of Wales was married to the Russian Tzar. Then Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Alix of Hesse, married the Tzarevich, Nicholas.  This forthcoming book (June 2018) details three visits between the royal families in the years before the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The Imperial Tea Party by Frances Welch.

 

 

 

rebel

 

This biography of Prince Charles actually came out in late March but missed my last list of Royal books somehow. Excerpts were published in a UK newspaper. It’s the one you may have heard about that claims Charles travels with his own bed and all the rest. Why no one has ever seen the bed at

the airport isn’t explained.

Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles by Tom Bower.

 

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Eileen Parker was married to Prince Philip’s one-time buddy and Private Secretary before his behavior merited a divorce. Tell-all books are always with us, but viewers of The Crown may enjoy this one. Excerpts have been published in a British paper. This book was released in December.

Step Aside for Royalty: Treasured Memories of the Royal Household by Eileen Parker.

Fiction

 

 

 

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

Royal Mess by Jenna Sutton.  Thanks to As The Book Ends for posting about this book.

Royal Treatment by Melanie Summers

The Royals by Rachel Hawkins  Thanks to Candid Cover for posting about this book.

Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm  Thanks to Candid Cover for posting about this book.

 

 

Want more? Here’s the link to my previous royal books post.

The Different Ethnicities, Nationalities, Birth Status, and Professions of Royal Spouses

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Less than 100 years ago,  Queen Elizabeth’s uncle, Edward VIII, had to give up his throne to marry a twice-divorced American.  Today, ss the entire world now knows, Meghan Markle, late of the tv show Suits, is marrying Prince Harry–grandson of Queen Elizabeth. Many are shocked less by her being divorce or even being an actress [more on that in a minute] than by the fact that her parents are of different races.

While marrying a person of color is not the norm in a European royal family, it is not without precedent. Nor is it without precedent in the extended House of Windsor. In fact, being an actress is nothing new in the ranks of this generation’s British “semi-“royals.  Meghan will be the THIRD actress marrying a descendant of King George V and Queen Mary!!  There are more among the descendants of Queen Victoria, too!

Let’s take a look.

Multiethnic Ancestry

Liechtenstein

 

 

Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein married Miss Angela Brown in 1999. They are still happily married today. They have a son, Alfons.

 

Denmark

 

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Prince Joachim, Queen Margrethe’s younger son, first married Alexandra Manley who is of Chinese and German descent. Their sons are Prince Nicholi and Prince Felix. The couple divorced in 2005. Joachim’s father, the late Prince Henrik, was French.

 

It’s worth noting that the Queen of the Netherlands, Maxima, is an Argentinian.

 

The Extended House of Windsor

 

A Nigerian-born actress married to the George V’s great-grandson

 

 

The Queen’s late first cousin, George, Earl of Harewood, (George V’s eldest grandchild) has a son, the Hon. James Lascelles, whose third wife,  Joy Elias-Rilwan, is Nigerian. James is a musician and Joy is…wait for it! An actress. James’ previous wives were Americans.

Plus, it’s not often that a title descends to the second son when the first is still living, but that will be the case when James’ older brother, David (Lord Harewood) dies. His first son was born out-of-wedlock. Like Edwina, Countess Mountbatten (Prince Philip’s aunt)  David, James, and brother Jeremy, had a Jewish grandfather.

 

The actress who married George V’s great-grandson

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Actress Sophie Winkleman is married to Lord Frederick Windsor, son of the Queen’s first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent. She previously played Princess Eleanor in the t.v. series The Palace, but is better known in the U.S. for her role in Two and a Half Men and for playing Susan in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the Narnia series. Lord and Lady Freddie have two daughters the same ages as Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The elder, Maud, is a classmate of Prince George.

 

The Maori carpenter who married George V’s great-granddaughter

 

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Gary Lewis married the Duke of Gloucester’s elder daughter, Lady Davina Windsor. They now have two children and are seen each year on the balcony after Trooping the Colour. He is Maori and has a son by a previous, unmarried, relationship.

Children Born Out-of-Wedlock No Longer a Scandal

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This, too, no longer raises an eyebrow. The future Queen of Norway, Mette-Marit, has a son by a previous, unmarried, relationship as well. And,  the other Prince Louis– Louis of Luxembourg, had his first child in his late teens! He and the boy’s mother married eventually and both of their sons are now in the Line of Succession. Sadly, the couple has since divorced.

In the Queen’s generation of royals, her paternal first cousins, George (Earl of Harewood) and Gerald Lascelles (his brother) both had sons born out-of-wedlock. They both eventually married their child’s mother. Their sons have carried on the tradition with illegitimate children of their own. As mentioned above one of these children was robbed of his birthright by this status.  Her Majesty’s cousin’s [Princess Alexandra of Kent] daughter, Marina Ogilvy, was married while pregnant after creating a scandal in the press by sharing her parents’ reaction to her news. She, too, has long since divorced her children’s’ father.

 

Previously Married

 

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As everyone alive likely knows, Prince Charles and  Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are both divorced.

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Princess Anne is divorced, but she is Vice Admiral Sir Tim Lawrence’s only wife.

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Queen Letizia of Spain, once a t.v. news anchor,  was married to a teacher before Spain’s then Crown Prince.

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Princess Michael of Kent was married before, but she is Prince Michael’s only wife. She was an interior decorator and a writer who was caught in a plagiarism scandal.

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Sylvanna, Countess of St. Andrews, a history professor, daughter-in-law of the Queen’s cousin (the Duke of Kent) is divorced. She is her husband’s, George’s (Earl of St. Andrews)  only wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who will the pages and bridesmaids be at the royal wedding? What will they wear?

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Prince Harry is giving many a shout-out to his mother’s family in his wedding, apparently. Lady Jane Fellowes is to do a reading–a very nice touch. So, can we look for any other Spencer touches? And, will any little Spencers or Spencer cousins be in the wedding? Today I’m looking at the possibilities.

Who? And, what will they wear?

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Everyone wants to see Prince George and Princess Charlotte in these roles, of course, but who else might be asked? Tradition dictates that the couple’s godchildren should be asked, if of an appropriate age.  Prince Charles’ godchildren made up the majority of the children in that wedding–though Diana was able to ask a few children, too. Relatives come next. Princess Anne had her little brother and little cousin. Prince Andrew and Sarah had nieces, nephews and Sarah’s half-siblings as well as godchildren and friends’ children as their attendants. Queen Elizabeth had two of her youngest first cousins as pages and friends and relatives among her bridesmaids.

A nice gesture would be to invite one or more of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester’s grandchildren since they have just given up their long-time home at Kensington Palace so Harry and Meg can have it as their family-to-be home next door to William and Kate.

 

First the Paiges

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Sir Joshua Reynolds: “Viscount Althorp”

Inspiration From a Family Masterpiece

As a little boy, Harry was a page in his uncle, Earl Spencer’s wedding. The outfit he and the other boys wore (see photo at the top of this post) was based on the painting above. I think this would be a sweet way to incorporate his mother’s family–by using this outfit for the boys, but perhaps with a different color sash?

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Prince Edward and Sophie choose an historic theme as well.

Unlike American weddings, the little boys do not appear in mini-tuxedos in British weddings–especially not aristocratic weddings. Of course, Meghan could go American and have them wear bow-ties and suspenders–that’s very trendy right now, but probably not very likely. Prince William wore a similar look way back in the day for the wedding of Churchill’s grandson. Even some aristocratic weddings can be pretty far “out there” with dress, but I don’t imagine St. George’s Chapel will see attendants in Star Trek uniform or Hogwarts gowns.

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Inspiration From the Military

 

 

 

Photo Credit: (Charles & Diana) Patrick Lichfield. (Andrew & Sarah)

(William & Catherine) Hugo Bernand

Miniature uniforms are a staple in British high society weddings. Harry’s regiment is part of the Household Cavalry–the Blues and Royals. It happens to be the same regiment that Andrew Parker-Bowles belongs to.  Harry is also Captain General of the Royal Marines–an honorary position. This is the uniform he is likely to wear, as it is the one with the senior-most rank. At his parents’ wedding, the two pageboys wore naval uniforms because Charles, like his father, grandfather and two great-grandfathers (George V and Prince Louis of Battenberg) both served in the navy. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s wedding featured pageboys dressed as officers or ratings of Nelson’s Royal Navy era.

 

Scotland the Brave

 

 

 

 

Kilts are another favorite for page boys. Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne had these for the little boys in their wedding parties. Anne famously declared she did not want “yards of uncontrollable children” in her wedding and chose only her youngest brother, Prince Edward, and their cousin, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (now Chatto).

For Harry’s wedding, the boys could wear one of the royal tartans as the did in Her Majesty’s and Anne’s weddings. Or, if, as expected, Harry is made a Duke, then one of the customary three titles will be from Scotland so the boys could wear that tartan. Prince Charles has the green Lord of the Isles tartan, for example.

Here are some of the possible Pages:

Prince George of Cambridge, age–about to be 5.

Jasper Dyer, age 6, Godson of Prince Harry

James, Viscount Severn, age 10. The Queen’s youngest grandchild. His sister, Lady Louise, was in William and Harry’s wedding.

 

Xan, Baron Culloden, age 11, grandson of the Duke of Gloucester  [The Duke is the Queen’s first cousin]

Master Rufus Gillman, age 6, grandson of the Duke of Gloucester

Master Tane Lewis, age 6, grandson of the Duke of Gloucester

Master Albert Windsor, age 11, grandson of the Duke of Kent (the Queen’s first cousin)

Master Leopold Windsor, age 9, grandson of the Duke of Kent

Master Louis Windsor, age 4, grandson of the Duke of Kent

Master Robert Fellowes, age 3, child of Harry’s first cousin (Lady Jane Spencer’s grandson)

Master _____ Pettman,  age ___, son of Harry’s first cousin, Laura Fellowes Pettman

Master _____ Pettman, age ___, son of Harry’s first cousin, Laura Fellowes Pettman

Gus Lopes, age 9, grandson of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. His sister, Eliza, was in Wiliam’s wedding.

Louis Lopes, age 9, Gus’s twin brother.

Freddy Parker-Bowles, age 8,   grandson of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

 

The Bridesmaids

 

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The Duke and Duchess of Kent’s wedding (above) featured not only the Duke and his brother, Prince Michael of Kent, but Princess Anne and Lady Jane Spencer Fellowes as bridesmaids.  Harry’s first cousin, twice removed (the Duke of Kent) is godfather to his maternal aunt Jane. How about that?

The girls’ dresses will match the era and style of the boys’ costumes.  They are normally appropriate to the child’s age. No mini-adult strapless gowns or anything of that sort.

Here are some of the possible bridesmaids:

 

The Royal  Girls: (well, not truly “royal”, but from Harry’s paternal family)

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, age 3.

Lady Louise Windsor, 14, was also in Prince William’s wedding. She could be the senior bridesmaid.

Savannah Phillips, age 7, daughter of Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips.

Isla Phillips, age 6, Savannah’s sister.

Mia Tindall, age 4, daughter of Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Phillips Tindall.

Maud Windsor, age 4, granddaughter Prince Michael of Kent–nice traditional tie-in as her grandfather was one of the Queen’s two pageboys.  Her mother, Sophie Winkleman, is an actress, too.

Lady Cosima Windsor,  age 8, granddaughter of the Duke of Gloucester. The Duke’s late brother was a pageboy at the Queen’s wedding.

Lyla Gilman, age 8, granddaughter of the Duke of Gloucester.

Senna Lewis, age  8, granddaughter of the Duke of Gloucester.

Lola Parker-Bowles, age 11, granddaughter of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The Spencer girls:

Lady Lara Spencer, age 12, daughter of Earl Spencer and his 2nd wife. She could be the Senior bridesmaid.

Lady Charlotte Spencer, age 6, daughter of Earl Spencer and his 3rd wife.

Isabella Hutt, age 4, Lady Sarah Spencer McCorquodale’s granddaughter. (Sarah is the other Spencer who dated Prince Charles).