The Quest for Queen Mary
By James Pope-Hennessy, Hugo Vickers
* * *'[A] marvellous book ... hilarious and deeply touching' The Times'A scary portrait of put-upon servants and potty aristos ... this is arguably the most riotously funny volume published this year' Max Hastings, Sunday Times'One of the funniest, most eccentric books of the year' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday'Very illuminating and entertaining ... this book is a delight' Simon Heffer, The Telegraph'I wonder if this will be the year's surprise Christmas bestseller? The wonderful Quest for Queen Mary keeps on advancing through word of mouth ...' Robert Harris* * *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.
By Lucy Worsley
'Such a brilliant idea! Drilling down into Victoria's diaries Worsley gives us Victoria in all her infinite variety - queen and mother, matriarch and minx...I loved it.' Daisy Goodwin, author, and creator of ITV's Victoria'The glory of this book is in the details, and the specific moments, that Worsley chooses to single out for mention, and in her cheerful voice as she leads us by the hand to the next window of Victoria's life calendar.' The TimesWho was Queen Victoria? A little old lady, potato-like in appearance, dressed in everlasting black? Or a passionate young princess, a romantic heroine with a love of dancing? There is also a third Victoria - a woman who was also a remarkably successful queen, one who invented a new role for the monarchy. She found a way of being a respected sovereign in an age when people were deeply uncomfortable with having a woman on the throne. As well as a queen, Victoria was a daughter, a wife, a mother and a widow, and at each of these steps along life's journey she was expected to conform to what society demanded of a woman. On the face of it, she was deeply conservative. But if you look at her actions rather than her words, she was in fact tearing up the rule book for how to be female. By looking at the detail of twenty-four days of her life, through diaries, letters and more, we can see Victoria up close and personal. Examining her face-to-face, as she lived hour to hour, allows us to see, and to celebrate, the contradictions at the heart of British history's most recognisable woman.
By Siân Evans
Queen Bees looks at the lives of six remarkable women who made careers out of being society hostesses, including Lady Astor, who went on to become the first female MP, and Mrs Greville, who cultivated relationships with Edward VII, as well as Lady Londonderry, Lady Cunard, Laura Corrigan and Lady Colefax. Written with wit, verve and heart, Queen Bees is the story of a form of societal revolution, and the extraordinary women who helped it happen.In the aftermath of the First World War, the previously strict hierarchies of the British class system were weakened. For a number of ambitious, spirited women, this was the chance they needed to slip through the cracks and take their place at the top of society as the great hostesses of the time. In an age when the place of women was uncertain, becoming a hostess was not a chore, but a career choice, and though some of the hostesses' backgrounds were surprisingly humble, their aspirations were anything but. During the inter-war years these extraordinary women ruled over London society from their dining tables and salons - entertaining everyone from the Mosleys to the Mitfords, from millionaires to maharajahs, from film stars to royalty - and their influence can still be felt today.
Quest for Kim
By Peter Hopkirk