The Quest for Queen Mary
By James Pope-Hennessy and Hugo Vickers
The highly acclaimed unexpurgated notes taken by James Pope-Hennessy for his official biography of Queen Mary, the present Queen's grandmother. Published in full for the first time and edited by much-admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers.
'Very funny and astute, it provides a loathly feast for royal-watchers'
Hilary Mantel, New Statesman Books of the Year 2018
'Almost every page is a gem'
A. N. Wilson, Spectator Christmas Books
'I wonder if this will be the year's surprise Christmas bestseller? ... Wonderful'
* * *
When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary's official biography, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. Now published in full for the first time and edited by the highly admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers, this is a riveting, often hilarious portrait of the eccentric aristocracy of a bygone age.
Giving much greater insight into Queen Mary than the official version, and including sharply observed encounters with, among others, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Duke of Gloucester, and a young Queen Elizabeth, The Quest for Queen Mary is set to be a classic of royal publishing.
James Pope-Hennessy was a British biographer and travel writer. His books included London Fabric (for which he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize), Sins of the Fathers (an account of the Atlantic slave traffickers), Anthony Trollope and Queen Victoria at Windsor and Balmoral. He died in 1974.
Hugo Vickers is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and an acknowledged expert on the British Royal Family. He has written biographies of the Queen Mother, Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, Cecil Beaton, Vivien Leigh, Princess Andrew of Greece and the Duchess of Windsor. His book The Kiss won the 1996 Stern Silver Pen Award for Non-Fiction. His polemic, The Crown - Truth & Fiction attracted international publicity in 2018.
- Other details
- Publication date:
20 Sep 2018
- Page count:
Hodder & Stoughton
'Arguably the most riotously funny volume published this year' — Max Hastings, The Sunday Times
'A complete delight, conjuring up, with a few sharp strokes of the pen, a mad, exotic species from a world gone by . . . one of this year's funniest and most eccentric books' — Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
'Superbly edited ... like all the best interviews, these are stories about the hunter circling his prey, and they reveal as much about the interviewer as his subject ... a splendid book' — Jane Ridley, Spectator
'Illuminating, intriguing and boundlessly entertaining' — Martin Williams, Country Life
'Intoxicating, frank and often hilarious anthology of interviews . . . what this fine book demonstrates with wit, candour, and unassailable force, is that royal persons are not at all like ordinary people' — Alexander Waugh, New York Review of Books
'This is a wonderful book: both comedy and social history of the first order. Each page has something both hilarious and surprising. All with an undertow of melancholy - that the diaries have had to wait for so many decades to appear, and that the people in it are so long gone. We are lucky to enjoy their eccentricities and characters afresh.' — Roland Philipps, author of A SPY NAMED ORPHAN