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Friday, 15 August 2014

Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii's describes Grand Duchess Elizabeth

The future Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii attended Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations and in her book Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen, included a lovely account of what happened. I have always believed that the tall young lady she mentions in her account of the reception on 20th June 1887 is Ella, Grand Duchess Elizabeth...Apart from her 'presence' the star in her hair gives it away. Interesting that Ella probably had more jewels than any of the other guests, yet did not show off with them on her grandmother's day!

There were duchesses with shining tiaras, marchionesses with coronets of flashing stones, noble ladies with costly necklaces or emerald ear-drops, little women who seemed almost bowed down under lofty circlets of diamonds over their brows, tall women bearing proudly off their adornment of stones of priceless value. I have never seen such a grand display of valuable gems in my life. There was such a profusion of brilliant and handsome jewels before my eyes, that to compute its worth would be to lose one's self in a maze of confusing calculation. Yet there was amidst the shining throng one young lady, tall and of commanding presence, whose sole ornament was a single glittering star fixed in her hair. It shone forth more brightly, attracted my gaze more quickly, and its elegant simplicity excited my admiration above all others. She was a lady of high rank, and it is a matter of regret to me that I did not learn her name.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Poppies -Remembering August 4th 1914





Young man with a smile on an old photograph
In a uniform smart as your father before,
Pack up your troubles and daring to laugh
As you tramp through the town on your way to the war...

Will you die at a price? Will you die for a shilling?
Is it worth all the pain and the things we don't know?
Is it worth all the horror and bloodshed and killing?
Are you willing to die so a poppy can grow?

Young man with a tear as you walk away crying,
Put down your gun now and lift up your head,
War time is over and breezes are sighing
Through fields of small flowers that blood has stained red.

Did you die at a price? Did you die for a shilling?
Is it worth all the pain and the things we don't know?
Is it worth all the horror and bloodshed and killing?
Were you willing to die so a poppy could grow?

Young man, you who look at the old photograph,
In a uniform smart as your grandfather wore,
Looking so brave now and daring to laugh
As you follow his footsteps and march to the war,

Has the offer been raised? Is it still just a shilling?
Lives are bought cheaply. It's always been so.
When so mine fine people need bloodshed and killing,
We shall slaughter our sons so that poppies can grow...

(Lyrics by Christina Croft, Music by Tony Croft)

Monday, 7 July 2014

King Edward VII Visits Leeds

On July 7th 1908, my grandmother, then a young child, joined thousands of her classmates in welcoming King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to Leeds - a visit during which, as my grandmother recalled, the children waved flags and sang,
"On July 7th, the best of days to welcome Britain's King!"

It was not the first time Edward VII had been to the city. While still Prince of Wales, he had visited and - obviously unbeknown to the cheering crowds - had unpleasantly described the place as ‘very dirty, and the inhabitants low people'. 


Other members of his family were far more impressed. Queen Victoria, Alice and Lenchen were delighted by the welcome they received here when, in 1856, the Queen came to open the Town Hall. This was Alice's first official public appearance and she was filled with admiration for the efforts to which the people had gone to show their loyalty to the Queen and her family - even decorating arches with flowers in which were written all the royal children's names. Alice connection to Leeds did not end there, for her first evening with her future husband was spent listening to a concert performed by the Yorkshire Choir and conducted by the chief organist from Leeds Parish Church.

Prince Albert was fascinated by the machinery of the mills and made an impression on one mill owner when 'while visiting a factory...in 1858, he was being shown a new wool-combing machine when he observed that a particular wheel was missing from the exhibit.'*

It is a pity that Edward VII was so unappreciative of the city...perhaps he changed his mind after the visit in 1908...or perhaps he continued to have such a low opinion of northerners.... 








*Dear Papa, Beloved Mama - by Christina Croft

Friday, 4 July 2014

Happy Independence Day!





Happy Independence Day to all American visitors!


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Remembering....

Remembering Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie - murdered 28th June 1914, for the express purpose of precipating a war which would lead to the collapse of the 3 European autocracies and enable the international bankers to take control of their economies.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

A Truer Portrayal!

Now Available in Paperback! A truer portrayal of Victoria & Albert as parents than the one presented by the sensational press!


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Thank you!

To celebrate the launch of my new book in both Kindle & paperback versions, and in view of the approaching anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, I have reduced the prices of all three kindle books in the Shattered Crowns Trilogy by almost 50%.



Thank you so much to all the kind people who have emailed me about these and about the launch of the new book. Please bear with me if it takes a little while to reply individually, which I certainly intend to do over the next couple of days as I greatly appreciate your kind messages!! Thank you!! 

 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Now Available

Available now via Kindle  and very soon to be available in paperback:






“What a joyous childhood we had!” wrote Princess Alice, the second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. These were no mere words and it was a sentiment shared by many of her siblings. Far from being the tyrannical or neglectful parents presented so often by the sensational press, Albert and Victoria devoted themselves to their children, doing their utmost to secure their happiness while preparing them for a future of personal fulfilment and service to their people in a rapidly-changing world. “Dear Papa, Beloved Mama” covers the period from 1840 to the death of Prince Albert in 1861, considering the far-reaching influence of the Queen and Prince in the lives of their children in wide-ranging areas from science and farming to music, art and marriage. Flying in the face of the current trend to condemn and criticise their parenting skills, this book penetrates the motives of Victoria and Albert and their sincere and loving efforts to create for their children a happy, constructive and memorable childhood.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Romantic Prince


This is a fascinating document showing the official purchase of Balmoral by Prince Albert in 1852.
Albert is often portrayed as a rather cold, unfeeling man, but, like Queen Victoria, his love of Scotland sprang initially from his love of the work of Sir Walter Scott; and his design of the new Balmoral Castle demonstrates his strong affinity with the Romantic tradition of his native Coburg. Albert was a profound and complex man who could be enthralled by the most up-to-date technologies of the age, while simultaneously nurturing the Romantic and aesthetic aspects of his character through art, music, literature and design. His interests were numerous and he shared them so wonderfully not only with his children but with the lowliest people of this country.

My new book "DEAR PAPA, BELOVED MAMA" will be released this week, and I sincerely hope it captures these various aspects of the Prince's character and demonstrates the beneficial effect he had on his children and their people. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Princess Royal's Gift for Painting

This fan - taken from the Frogmore guide book - was painted by Vicky - the Princess Royal - when she was about fifteen years old, for her mother, Queen Victoria. The detail is so exquisite and remarkable!


In my forthcoming book "Dear Papa, Beloved Mama" there is a chapter about art & Queen Victoria's family and I think it is obvious how incredibly talented so many of the children were. It is unsurprising, I suppose, since both their parents were also gifted artists, especially Prince Albert, who was also a very knowledgeable critic and connoisseur and was rightly chosen as President of the Fine Arts Commission, the purpose of which was to choose artistic works for display in public buildings as well as choosing artists to decorate the interior of the newly-built Houses of Parliament.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Emily Wilding Davison


Remembering, with gratitude,  Emily Wilding Davison, who died on Sunday 8th June 1913, four days after being trampled by George V's horse during the Derby, where she was protesting against the appalling treatment of suffrage prisoners and calling for votes for women.



Sunday, 25 May 2014

Coming soon....Dear Papa, Beloved Mama

Coming soon....
Dear Papa, Beloved Mama
 – An Intimate Portrait of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert as Parents
(1840-1861)
There have been so many documentaries and articles recently, describing Albert as a tyrannical father and Victoria as a neglectful mother who did not even like her children, that I sincerely hope my new book will go some way to correcting that image. The more research I have carried out about this, the clearer it is that 99% of the criticism centres on the alleged cruel treatment of Bertie, the future Edward VII. I have been actually astounded by the lengths to which his parents went to accommodate his wishes, and, comparing recent reports from the Smithsonian Institute about the best means of educating children, to the methods adopted by Albert and Victoria, it is clear that they were not only doing their best but were at the forefront of a revolution in educational ideas. Also, by comparing Bertie’s childhood to what he would have experienced in a Public School at the time, one can see that his was not the horrendous childhood that is often described by sensational newspapers and TV documentaries today. 
I realise that much of the book will be controversial as it flies in the face of the current, fashionable desire to criticise the people of the past, but I firmly believe that it is time to rethink the endless criticism and to recognise that both parents were in so many ways ahead of their time. 
The book is based on the years up to 1861 and the death of Prince Albert. Clearly everything changed after that, and Victoria made many mistakes regarding her children, but I am already working on a companion volume covering the later years and, once this book is released (hopefully by mid June), more information about the next one will be available. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

"The Pianist" - An Interview with Julia Rayner

It was a delight and honour that Julia Rayner, co-star of the epic and award-winning film "The Pianist", kindly agreed to be interviewed about her work, experiences, The Pianist, and the acting profession...


Monday, 28 April 2014

Bluebells

Thank you to everyone who took advantage of last week's offers on Most Beautiful Princess - I hope you enjoy the book!

The bluebells are out at Temple Newsam and the woods are awash with them, like a beautiful blue ocean! My Bichon, Bertie, had a lovely walk in the spring sunshine...and rolled in 'duck muck' by the lake...