Author Topic: Books on British royalty (non-Tudor)  (Read 159840 times)

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Offline LadyTudorRose

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Re: Books on British royalty (non-Tudor)
« Reply #375 on: April 13, 2011, 09:22:39 PM »
Hate to thread bump, but I just got this book in the mail today. Anyone else reading it? Opinions?

Offline AJR

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Re: Books on British royalty (non-Tudor)
« Reply #376 on: April 14, 2011, 01:55:48 PM »
I've been reading it since last week.

A very sad end to the life of the Duchess, but at last the full story of the final decade has been told accurately by an expert.

I am surprised by certain aspects (the 'life support machine' and the lack of more sources to back this up for example) and had hoped for more details on the visit Prince and Princess Michael of Kent made to the Duchess in 1978 (neither were interviewed for this book). On the whole however it is an excellent read, by an excellent Royal expert.

Offline CHRISinUSA

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Re: Books on British royalty (non-Tudor)
« Reply #377 on: April 15, 2011, 06:30:29 AM »
I've often been curious about the finances of the Duchess during her widowhood.  Does the book address if her resources remained comfortable after the Duke's death?  I have read that he lost a great deal of money in various failed business enterprises over the years - particularly over his ranch in Canada and attempts to drill for oil.  I also know that either the UK government (or George VI personally) provided him an income during his lifetime - did that income continue with the widowed Duchess?

Offline AJR

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Re: Books on British royalty (non-Tudor)
« Reply #378 on: April 15, 2011, 09:42:58 AM »
The book does discuss her finances in detail and what happened to many of her possessions during the long 'reign' of her lawyer.

She was of course very rich but worried over her finances and in the last decade of her life needed 24 hour nursing care. Despite her wealth, her home sadly declined in appearance as the Duchess gradually became a complete invalid. One of her nurses went so far as to say the Duchess died in a 'slum' due to her own 'penny-pinching regime'.

Offline AJR

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Re: Books on British royalty (non-Tudor)
« Reply #379 on: April 27, 2011, 10:15:31 AM »
Further to the query re; the Duchess's finances, The Sunday Mirror featured an article on 6th March 1988 with an interview of the Duchess's nurse Elvire Gozin.

It included photos of the Duchess in her final days (taken by Gozin) and stated that the Duchess left £6.8 million in her will in addition to the money made through the sale of her famous jewellery collection. Reports on the amount raised through the sale of her jewels seem to vary from £26 million up to £37 million. I have also read that The Queen continued to send an annual sum to the Duchess, apparently to cover some of the costs of the nurses who tended her during the last decade of her life, though I'm not sure what source this was from.

Offline Martyn

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Re: Books on British royalty (non-Tudor)
« Reply #380 on: September 16, 2011, 07:53:26 AM »
i found a book by anita leslie EDWARDIANS IN LOVE. is it worth reading?

It's an excellent book.  I have a very old copy that i have read several times. Written by Anita Leslie, descendant of Lady Leonie Leslie (nee Jerome), it gives a good insight into the manners and mores of the Edwardian upper classes, including the Marlborough House Set.  One of my favourite books.....
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Offline GrandDuchessIsabelle

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Through My Eyes: A novel of Princess Beatrice
« Reply #381 on: December 12, 2011, 01:59:25 PM »
(I wasn't too sure where to put this so it can be moved.)
A story I have been writing for a while now and Sunny requested that I post some of it. There is loads, so this is only the prologue, just to see what you think. I hope you like it.

 14th December 1861, Windsor Castle   
She shouldn’t have seen what she saw.
 Beatrice knew that she shouldn’t have, she should have been tucked up in the nursery with Leopold snoring next to her. Leaving the nursery after she had been put to bed was a very naughty thing to do and when she was naughty, Mama and Papa were very sad.
But this she hoped would count as an exception. Papa was ill and she had wanted to cheer him up. He had even told her, just this morning that she was his darling liebchen and made him so happy. Beatrice’s little chest had puffed up with pride as she kissed her father goodbye and went to her lessons with Alice. Papa had looked so weak and miserable lying there in the Blue Room that her heart had melted and she desperately wanted to run back and cuddle him again. So she had concocted a plan.
It had been very clever really, Beatrice thought proudly.  Lady Carr always fell asleep in the chair by the fire long before Beatrice did, so there was no danger of being caught by her and Leopold slept soundly enough. After that it was only a matter of opening the big heavy door, which she had blocked open with a heavy book before going to bed, and hiding in the shadows until she got to the Blue Room, then she could be with Papa until ten o’clock, when Mama and the doctors would come. She had wheedled this information out of Bertie this afternoon, when he came to sit with her and Arthur and Leopold. She could get absolutely anything out of Bertie when she wanted to, as she could from almost anyone, apart from maybe Alice.

Papa had told her off gently when she had crept in.
‘Bad liebchen’, he had murmured, but kissed her and allowed her to stay. She had shown him the dance she had seen Helena and Louise practice and sang a new song for him, but very quietly.
‘My clever Baby,’ Papa had croaked and Beatrice smirked with glee. Papa loved music and often took her on his knee to play the piano and sing German lullabies to her. She loved to please him by learning them and singing them back and then they would sing them together.
They had only been together for an hour when footsteps could be heard on the corridor and voices drifted into the room.
‘Der Schrank, schnell!’ Papa whispered; the wardrobe, quickly!
Quick as a wink, Beatrice had hidden herself in the large, oak armoire. She stifled a giggle, this was such an adventure!

A gaggle of voices woke Beatrice from her sleep. Groggily, she sat up from her slump and looked around. She wasn’t in her bed, she remembered, she was in the wardrobe in the Blue Room, which was why her back was aching. She peeked through the gap of the doors and saw the doctors, Mama, Alice, Bertie, Arthur and Helena gathered around Papa’s bed. Why were they here? She wondered and looked closer. Mama was on the floor beside Papa, kissing his hand and muttering soothing words to him in German. Alice and Bertie were talking in low, worried voices, the ones they used when Leo had fallen and was bleeding, and the others were looking very worried.
Suddenly, the mood changed and the doctors began to move more urgently. What’s going on? Beatrice wondered, and then thought, when will they leave? After a few minutes of frantic talking, Beatrice began to get anxious. Was something really wrong? Then, quite abruptly, the doctors stopped. A horrible moment of silence followed. Then Mama screamed.
 It was the kind of scream that would chill a grown man to the bone. To Beatrice, a four-year-old child, it was the most frightening thing she had ever heard and would ever hear. To witness her usually composed and regal mother lose control like that was so terrifying, that the little girl whimpered and cowered further back into the wardrobe.
After she had finished screaming, Mama flung herself onto the bed and sobbed into the bed clothes. Her brothers and sisters were crying too, but more quietly, and Bertie had his head bowed. Slowly, one by one, the doctors began to trickle out, followed by Arthur and Helena. Alice went around to Mama and took her shoulder, but Mama shook her off. Alice stepped back, as if she had been stung, and Bertie lead her gently from the room.
As quietly as she could, Beatrice crept from the wardrobe and to the door, glancing at Papa as she went. He looked very still and very pale, like he was a marble statue at Osborne. It frightened her to see him like that, so she stole from the room as fast as she could.
She hadn’t gotten far when she heard Mama come out behind her. Beatrice swiftly ducked into an alcove, but she needn’t have worried, because Mama couldn’t see her. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom was too blinded by grief to notice anything at all, let alone a tiny child crouching behind a curtain. She closed her eyes and let herself fall to the floor. There she lay, wailing her heart out, while Beatrice, utterly disturbed by this display of emotion, fled though the castle to the nursery and flung herself into bed. When she woke up, she prayed, it might all be a bad dream.


Beatrice awoke to the sound of crying. She opened her eyes cautiously and saw Alice, Lenchen, Louise and Arthur all clustered on Leo’s bed. Leo was sitting on Helena’s lap, which he himself had decreed himself too old to do and even 11-year-old Arthur was clutching Louise’s hand. Beatrice felt with a terrible certainty that last night had not been a dream.
Helena, ‘Lenchen’ noticed her first. ‘Alice,’ she whispered, and Alice looked up at her.  Helena nodded towards Beatrice and Alice closed her eyes. She had been dreading this.
Alice got up and moved to sit on the end on Beatrice’s bed.
‘Baby, darling,’ she began, then cleared her throat and started again. ‘Liebchen, a terrible thing has happened.’ She looked into those innocent blue eyes and a lump appeared in her throat. ‘Papa has died.’ Louise sobbed again and so did Leopold, but Beatrice remained dry-eyed. Alice tried again. ‘He’s dead, Baby, he’s gone. Do you understand?’ Alice’s voice broke and she began to cry, the others joining in. Beatrice looked away. Dead. Her Papa was dead. Dead and cold, like marble.


Note: I tried to make this as realistic as I could, while still making it a good story. It is highly unlikely that Beatrice witnessed the death of Albert, that is just part of the story. The one thing that I took artistic license with is that Leopold was in France at the time of his father's death (as members of this forum told when when I queried it) and not at Windsor.
This is just part 1.
Sorry it's so long.
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Offline MademoiselleAndrea

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Re: Through My Eyes: A novel of Princess Beatrice
« Reply #382 on: December 12, 2011, 02:38:57 PM »
I absolutely love it!!! It's so wonderfully written & you did a good job making it very realistic. I could picture the entire story in my mind's eye, there's just enough description to make it vivid but not too much so like I often do. I like how you wrote it a little bit from a four-year-old's eyes, such as "when she was naughty Mama and Papa were very sad," while still making it third person.
How much more have you written? I really want to read more! :)
Where did the idea for the story come from, I'm curious to know.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything You gave me". --Erma Bombeck

Offline GrandDuchessIsabelle

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Re: Through My Eyes: A novel of Princess Beatrice
« Reply #383 on: December 12, 2011, 02:54:38 PM »
I absolutely love it!!! It's so wonderfully written & you did a good job making it very realistic. I could picture the entire story in my mind's eye, there's just enough description to make it vivid but not too much so like I often do. I like how you wrote it a little bit from a four-year-old's eyes, such as "when she was naughty Mama and Papa were very sad," while still making it third person.
How much more have you written? I really want to read more! :)
Where did the idea for the story come from, I'm curious to know.
Thank you! I have written loads of it, some on the computer, some in my head and a lot is in a notebook. I'm trying to transfer it all to the computer as soon as I can, so more will be available soon.
As for where the idea came from, hmm, well, it really started when I read a book on QV and it had a family tree in it. I was looking at the children's names and birth dates and Beatrice caught my eye. I googled her, and began reading on wiki, and the rest is history! It's been in the making for a year and a half now.
'Olga is hitting Maria, and Maria is shouting like an idiot. A dragoon and a big idiot.'
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Offline MademoiselleAndrea

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Re: Through My Eyes: A novel of Princess Beatrice
« Reply #384 on: December 12, 2011, 03:01:26 PM »
Well, it's simply great and I can't wait until you post more!!
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything You gave me". --Erma Bombeck

Offline Sunny

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Re: Through My Eyes: A novel of Princess Beatrice
« Reply #385 on: December 13, 2011, 01:00:03 AM »
Oooh darling, thank you!!! I'll read it later after work!
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Offline GrandDuchessIsabelle

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Re: Through My Eyes: A novel of Princess Beatrice
« Reply #386 on: December 15, 2011, 01:28:45 PM »
You are all welcome! Thank you for comments! More:


23rd December, Chapel Royal, Windsor
It was raining. It had rained every day since Papa had died, Beatrice realized, drizzly, constant rain. The tears had been constant too; Mama and her sisters had all cried so much, Beatrice wondered how they had any more to shed.
Today Papa’s body had been laid in the chapel that, just three weeks ago, Beatrice and her brothers had prayed for his life in. Now, she stood clutching Arthur’s hand beside the tomb, trying to accept the fact that her lovely Papa was now in that cold, marble box and that he wasn’t coming back.
Arthur looked up from his little brother and sister to his older ones, clustered together by the door, whispering. Bertie was there, and Alice, Helena and Louise. Vicky was in Prussia, and Affie was at sea and they hadn’t heard from him yet. Arthur wished that he had been included in their council, but, at eleven, he was still deemed to be too young. Glancing down at Leopold and Beatrice’s sober faces, he felt a sudden wave of pity for them and gave their cold hands a squeeze.
Leopold felt empty. He had felt empty since that morning he had been awoken by Helena, tears rolling down her face, who had told him that Papa was dead. He couldn’t get warm either, Reverend Duckworth feared that he would get another cold and sneeze so hard he would bled. He hated bleeding, but he always would. And someday, the bleeding would kill him. When he was bleeding, Leopold was always mean and bad tempered, and the same thing was happening now he was grieving. He snapped at anyone who irritated him in the slightest, and mainly at his brothers and sisters.

‘Do you think he can see us now?’ Beatrice whispered, thinking about what Reverend Duckworth had told her about Heaven.
‘Don’t be stupid!’ Leopold sneered at her, ‘You’re such a baby, Baby!’
‘Leo…’ Arthur tried to calm his small brother, unsuccessfully.
‘He’s dead,’ Leopold continued, regardless, ‘He’s dead and never coming back and it’s your fault!’
‘It is not-‘
‘It is! It is! You snuck out of the nursery the night he died and you must have done something to kill him!’
‘Leopold!’ Arthur looked horrified as he watched the accusations fly.
Meanwhile, Beatrice’s cheeks were flushing. Leopold had seen her that night and he knew that she had left the nursery. But, worse than that, he thought that she had killed their wonderful, loving father. The anger bubbled up inside her until she swung her hand up to hit him in the chest. Luckily, Arthur was quicker, and grabbed her arms and pinned them to her sides, ignoring her yelps and cries. If she had hit Leopold, Arthur knew, he would have bruised and bled, causing him intense pain and everyone else stress that they did not need.
‘Alice!’ he yelled for reinforcements from his sister, but Alice had already seen the situation and had run to help.
‘Darling, stop it,’ she begged the wailing Beatrice, but Beatrice was beyond stopping.
‘I want Papa!’ the little girl sobbed. ‘I want my Papa!’ And she fell, howling into Alice’s arms.
‘And here comes the grief,’ Alice sighed to herself and, picking up the inconsolable child, began to make her way up to the Castle with the others trailing behind her. At the back of the group came Prince Arthur, with his arm wrapped around his subdued brother.

24th December 1961, Royal Nursery
It was still very dark when Beatrice felt herself being lifted from her bed and cradled to someone’s chest. For a second, she was frightened, but then she heard her mother sob into her hair as Victoria carried the child back to her own room. There, Victoria wrapped Beatrice in Albert’s nightshirt and got into bed, clutching the girl to her all the while.
Beatrice lay by her mother, listening to her weeping, until the sobs turned to sniffs, and the sniffs were silenced. She had to look after Mama now that Papa was gone, she realised, look after and keep her safe from anyone who hurt her. A fierce need to protect Mama came over Beatrice, as she huddled closer to her. She would never leave her, like Vicky, like Bertie, like Affie. Or Papa.
No, Beatrice thought to herself. She would stay with Mama forever.


Note: There is no proof that QV took Beatrice to her bed after Albert's death, it only a speculation. End of the prologue. What do we think?
'Olga is hitting Maria, and Maria is shouting like an idiot. A dragoon and a big idiot.'
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Offline MademoiselleAndrea

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Re: Through My Eyes: A novel of Princess Beatrice
« Reply #387 on: December 15, 2011, 02:43:42 PM »
Just as good as the beginning! Very emotional & the emotion is conveyed very well. Please post more soon!
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything You gave me". --Erma Bombeck

Offline Sunny

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Re: Through My Eyes: A novel of Princess Beatrice
« Reply #388 on: December 16, 2011, 06:19:06 AM »
@Isabelle, i think you write very well - I'm trying to speak as a reader, not as a writer myself ^^
English is not my mothertongue, as you know, but i've read a great deal in English expecially in the last period - Romanov books, historical or fictional, are quite almost in English, or at least, not in Italian, so i prefer the original. So i think i can say i like your way of writing - good job, go on!
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Offline GrandDuchessIsabelle

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Re: Through My Eyes: A novel of Princess Beatrice
« Reply #389 on: December 16, 2011, 11:34:19 AM »
Thanks Andrea, and Sunny! I will definitely keep writing.
'Olga is hitting Maria, and Maria is shouting like an idiot. A dragoon and a big idiot.'
Anastasia Nikolaevna 28/10/1914

http://primisafeandsound.tumblr.com/