Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review: Royal Gatherings, Volume II

“Royal Gatherings. Whis is in the Picture…. Volume II, 1914-1939” by Ilana D Miller and Arturo E Beéche. (Eurohistory.& Kensington House Books). 240 pages, hundreds of illustrations, genealogical tables.

The cover photograph of the Russian and Romanian royal families in 1914 says it all.  An era is ending. Within four years half of the people in this picture will be dead. Others will see their relatives forced into exile as the First World War ends. Yet the families continued to gather at christenings, weddings and funerals. The differences in these royal alliances now become apparent, as the royals gradually begin marrying outside of accepted circles.

The format is the same as the previous volume. A large picture of a royal gathering, followed by a discussion of the individuals pictured, with smaller photographs of the people concerned. Every royal family in Europe is featured somewhere in this book, from that last meeting between the Romanovs and the Romanians in 1914 to the wedding of Princess Irene of Greece and the Duke of Spoleto in 1939. This a work you can dip into time and time again, and there are some real gems. In 1916 the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (the former Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia) sits on a bench in Zurich with her Spanish grandsons.  They are the children of her daughter Beatrice (Baby Bee) and the Infante Alfonso of Spain. Little has been published in English about Baby Bee’s life, but you can read about it here.

The Luxembourg royal family gathered in 1919 for the wedding of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.  They are well-known, but in 1931 the Luxembourgs assembled again for the 70th birthday of Charlotte’s mother Grand Duchess Maria Anna, who sits proudly surrounded by her grandchildren from the royal houses of Luxembourg, Bavaria, Saxony, and Thurn und Taxis. Their parents’ lives are outlined here and we are promised more about the children in volume III.

Then there is one of the most unusual photographs, taken at the ordination of Prince George of Bavaria, eldest grandson of Emperor Franz Joseph. Many of the Bavarian royals pictured also attended George’s wedding to Archduchess Isabella of Austria nine years earlier. The marriage failed and in 1921 George became a priest – not something we read about every time we open a royal book.

Some of the most poignant images were taken at the funeral of Queen Astrid of Belgium, killed in a car accident in 1935. Particularly moving is the widowed King Leopold III, with his arm in a sling and a dressing on his face, as he follows his beloved wife’s coffin. Then there is Grand Duchess Eleonore of Hesse and by Rhine with her young grandson Alexander. They would be killed in the Hesse air crash in 1937 along with other members of their family. The funeral is featured in these pages.

The scope of research and the depth of subjects covered is simply amazing and the picture reproduction is excellent. The images come from the huge Eurohistory archive, which has been recently enhanced by the acquisition of the late William Mead Lalor’s archive. My favourite has to be the gorgeous photo of Princess Ileana of Romania with her dogs on page 108.

This marvellous book has something for everyone and whatever your particular interest you can’t fail to find something to excite you. Sadly though, as we view these images, we know that war will soon be coming again and that the fate of some of these people will be grim. But that is for Royal Gatherings, Volume III.

Coryne Hall

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: ROYAL GATHERINGS, Volume 1: 1859-1914

“Royal Gatherings. Who’s in the Picture? Volume 1: 1859-1914,” by Ilana D Miller and Arturo E. Beéche. ( House Books). 168 pages packed with 250+ illustrations, plus a large genealogical table.

One of the most popular features in the European Royal History Journal is ‘What’s in a Photo?’ where a royal gathering is used to talk about the people in the picture. What a treat then to have this idea brought together into a whole book!  Using pictures from the vast and varied Eurohistory archive, Ilana Miller and Arturo Beéche have produced a real treasure trove – a  book with the ‘wow factor’.

The sheer scope is breathtaking. Almost every royal family is here, from Francesco and Marie Sophie of the Two Sicilies in 1859, by way of Denmark, Russia, Hesse, Britain, Bavaria, Brazil, France, Austria, Prussia – the list goes on and on – up to 1914.

Using the same large format as Eurohistory’s highly successful “Dear Ellen,” the 38 chapters are headed by the main photo under discussion, followed by smaller photos of the people included. Where else would you find a photo of the Hohenzollern and Romanian royal families pictured together in 1909? They all look slightly uneasy too, and certainly the flamboyant clothes of Crown Princess Marie and Queen Elisabeth of Romania far outshine the uniforms of the men!  Then there is the picture on page 159 of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor) in a group of mainly German relatives at the marriage of King Manoel of Portugal at Sigmaringen in 1913. Not only is it unusual to find Edward pictured at these sort of gatherings but it’s all the more poignant because we know that his country will be fighting most of these relations the following year.

I particularly love the family of King Nicholas of Montenegro on page 154. He and Queen Milena are in national dress, the men are in uniform but the women are intriguing. Some are wearing hats, some are hatless and Princess Anna of Battenberg appears to be wearing a small tiara. Was she changing for dinner when they dragged her out for a photograph?  We shall never know. But it’s these details that make a photo interesting.

Eurohistory acquired a large part of the photo archive of the late Comte de Paris in 1999 and some of the pictures are here, including a wonderful 1902 shot of Princess Isabelle (Duchess de Guise), Louise (Infanta of Spain) and Hélène (Duchess of Aosta) with their mother the Countess of Paris.  There is also a rare picture from the private archives of the Brazilian Coburgs showing Prince August Leopold of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, his fiancée Archduchess Karolina of Austria-Tuscany and her brother Archduke Franz Salvatore in 1894. August Leopold and Karolina were so inter-related that this reduced gene pool would seriously affect the health of their children.

 Even rarer is a picture of the wedding of Princess Irene of Hesse and Prince Henry of Prussia in 1888. Henry’s father Emperor Frederick (who can be spotted in the picture) would die the following month. Wedding pictures of any kind in this period are extremely rare and although the image was obviously taken from above and some of the figures are slightly blurred (probably because they moved) its very rarity makes this one worthy of inclusion.

I could go on and on about this book. Many of these pictures were never meant to be seen by the public but, unknown to them, as the royals gathered for a photograph at christenings, weddings or just a reunion they left us an intimate portrait of a life that has now vanished forever. The sheer poignancy of some of these photos, particularly of the children, is gripping. We know what the future holds for them – Ilana Miller and Arturo Beéche have told us – but they, mercifully, don’t. All too often it is tragic. The final picture was taken at Sarajevo in 1914 – five minutes later the subjects of the photo, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, were dead.

Buy it – you won’t regret it!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shipping – Royal Gatherings, Volume 1


Just a quick note to give a sign of life and let everyone know that Royal Gatherings, Volume 1: 1859-1914, the latest collaboration between Ilana D. Miller and our founder Arturo E. Beéche started shipping last Friday!

We have ample number of copies and we hope that our subscribers and readers will take the plunge and acquire a copy, or two, or more!


Hopefully, Coryne Hall, who does book reviews for Eurohistory will get her review copy soon. Once she has finished her review, which we hope will be a good one (fingers crossed!), we will post it here.

Meanwhile, if interested in purchasing a copy of the book, you can do so by emailing us directly at:

or by going to

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review: A Royal Christmas

“A Royal Christmas”, by Jeremy Archer. (Elliott & Thompson) 312 pages,  36 illustrations.

How did the royal family spend Christmas?  Jeremy Archer has delved in the royal archives to give us the personal thoughts of the royals during the Christmas period. With extracts from the diaries of Queen Victoria, George V, Queen Mary, the Duke of Windsor and many others, some never published before, as well as letters and diaries of members of the court, it makes fascinating reading.
Organised thematically, it covers such topics as Christmas and conflict, Christmas pastimes, festive feasts, the Christmas broadcasts and a look at how the courtiers viewed Christmas in the royal household. The wartime entries make especially poignant reading. “Rather sad without a tree or anything but one does not feel in a festive mood,” Queen Mary wrote in her diary in 1914.  Some interesting facts emerge as well – did you know that a pie containing 100 woodcocks was sent as a gift by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland until 1931?
In Victorian times tableaux and pageants formed a great part of the festivities, both at home and abroad, providing gorgeous pictures of the royal children - little  Princes Georg and Friedrich Christian of Saxony dressed, respectively, as one of St Nicholas’s helpers and a Christmas tree in 1903;  Prince Ludwig of Bavaria as Father Christmas in 1919; Karl Borwin of Mecklenburg-Strelitz as a star, 1891.  Presents, of course, were extremely important and chosen with the utmost care and it was considered bad form to remove them before they had been admired.
The text is in ‘bite-sized’ pieces too, so you can dip in and out of it at will. The perfect treat for a winter’s evening.

Coryne Hall

Book Review: Jubilee 2012. Celebrations and Tours

“Jubilee 2012. Celebrations and Tours”.  Ingrid Seward, Joe Little and others. Published by Rex Publications/Majesty magazine. 204 pages with coloured illustrations on every page.

“Memories of this year’s happy events will brighten our lives for years to come,” said the Queen in a televised message, and as the Diamond Jubilee year comes to a close what better way to mark it than with this lovely book.
‘Majesty’ editors Ingrid Seward and Joe Little, together with royal press correspondents Lynne Bell, Richard Palmer and Camilla Tominey, have compiled a month by month account of all the festivities at home and abroad during this historic year. The focus is very much on the Queen, starting with the low key events marking her accession day in February, through all the tours around the country and, of course, the actual Jubilee weekend itself, from the pouring rain of the river pageant, through to the lively concert at the palace and the pathos of Her Majesty alone at St Paul’s when the Duke of Edinburgh was hospitalised with an infection.  Other members of the family are not forgotten either. Who could forget Prince Harry’s exuberant tour of Jamaica; or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s triumphant Asia-Pacific visit; Charles and Camilla’s  trip  to Scandinavia; or the Queen’s historic visit to Ireland.
Beautifully written and lavishly illustrated, this is the perfect souvenir of an historic year for the Queen and the British royal family.  A ‘must have’ for all royal watchers.

Coryne Hall 

To purchase visit:

Friday, November 30, 2012

NEW BOOK: The Other Grand Dukes – Sons and Grandsons of Russia's Grand Dukes

One year, six issues of Eurohistory and three books! – No wonder I'm exhausted!

Yet it is with great delight that we have reached this milestone and as I hold to cover jacket of THE OTHER GRAND DUKES, it now becomes quite real ... the books arrival here at Eurohistory is just weeks away!

Arturo E. Beéche, founder and publisher of The European Royal History Journal, thought of the idea for an anthology on Russia’s GrandDuchesses. That book was published eight years ago and since then it has received wide attention and praise. Consequently, a companion book on the Russian Grand Dukes became imperative. The Grand Dukes: Sons and Grandsons of Russia’s Tsars Since Paul I examines the biographies of nearly forty men whose birth gave them the right to one of the world’s most prestigious positions. All sons of Russian tsars are covered in Volume I. The sons of collateral grand ducal branches are covered in Volume II.

The biography of each of the Grand Dukes of Russia brings to life a deeply gripping human saga. These men were born into what then was one of the world’s most powerful ruling dynasties. They were not all saints; they were not all demons – they were men whose birth showered them with untold privilege. Some used their birthright for the common good; some did not. Yet, they allremain amazingly intriguing, complex, complicated and conflicted human beings. At birth they were showered with untold privilege, including a lump sum of money placed in trust for them. By the time these funds were made available to a Grand Duke, the interest alone made them amazingly wealthy. Added to thisbenefit, they derived salaries from their military appointments, investments, real estate and inheritance. Thus, the Grand Dukes were able to maintain a lifestyle only surpassed by today’s oligarchs and yesteryear’s robber barons. They were consummate spenders in paintings, art, architecture, jewels, all while acting as sponsors of talented writers, thinkers, poets, ballerinas, among many others. One was a playwright of considerable talent. Another played a role in working toward the liberation of the serfs. One was a leading admiral with a fondness for “fast women and slow ships.” Another Grand Duke lived a tortured existence as a closeted homosexual, yet became the father of nine children. Told in a two-volume set, this is their story.

Participating in this extensive research project were some oftoday’s best-known royalty authors. They included: Charles Stewart, awell-known and respected royal anthropologist, as well as one of the world’s leading experts in the rules that governed the lives of European royalty; Janet Ashton, a
well-known contributor to royalty magazines and published from the United Kingdom; Zoia Belyakova, a well-known Russian scholar with countless books to her name; Lisa Davidson, one of the leading forces behind The Alexander Palace Time Machine (; Coryne Hall, a highly-respected royal author with several books and countless articles to her name; Ilana Miller, a Pepperdine University faculty member, who happens to be a leading expert on the Grand Dukes of Hesse and By Rhine; Greg King, one of today’s most talented royal biographers; Marlene Eilers-Koenig, a well-known expert on royalty and the descendants of Queen Victoria; William Lee, a university professor fromOregon with a deep love of Russia and its culture; John van der Kiste, easily the most prolific royalty author of today; Grant Hayter-Menzies, a talentedwriter and contributor to historical journals; Penny Wilson, a well-known writer and expert on the Romanovs. Finally, Arturo E. Beéche, whose vision and guidance is responsible for the royalty epicenter that has become.

Inside THE OTHER GRAND DUKES, readers will find a wealth of information included in these chapters:


A Word from the Publisher



Chapter I – The Sons of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich
Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich
Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich
Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich

Chapter II – The Son of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich
Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich

Chapter III – The Grandson of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich

Chapter IV – The Son of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich
Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich

Chapter V – The Sons of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaievich
Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich
Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich
Grand Duke Dimitri Konstantinovich
Grand Duke Vyacheslav Konstantinovich

Chapter VI – The Sons of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaievich
Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaievich Junior
Grand Duke Peter Nikolaievich

Chapter VII – The Sons of Grand Duke Michael Nikolaievich
Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich
Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich
Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich
Grand Duke Serge Mikhailovich
Grand Duke Alexis Mikhailovich

Endnotes Notes     


Name Index

Photo Section (69 images)    
Family Trees

Table #1: The Russian Imperial Family
Table #2: The Vladimirovichi and Pavlovich Lines
Table #3: The Konstantinovichi Line
Table #4: The Nikolaievichi Line
Table #5: The Mikhailovichi Line

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Book: ROYAL GATHERINGS – Who is in the Picture, Volume 1

ROYAL GATHERINGS was inspired by an Eurohistory Magazine section, What's In a Photo, that has proven to be the publication's most popular feature. Co-authored by Ilana D. Miller and Arturo E. Beéche, it promises to be an excellent addition to Eurohistory's growing library of unique titles.   

Ranging from the overthrow of King Francesco II of the Two Sicilies in 1859 to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este in 1914, ROYAL GATHERINGS examines 38 group photos taken at various royalty get-togethers between those years. Each of the thirty-eight chapters focuses on one particular gathering. In each gathering the authors provided vignettes, or what Prince Michael of Greece calls "la petite histoire," on each of the royal personages featured in the chosen photograph. 

Besides written stories on each of the royalties present in any of the given group photos, the authors have also included many individual photos to accompany the text. The book contains more than 250 photos, as well as an extensive family tree that  includes most of the royalties discussed in the book. ROYAL GATHERINGS is 172-long glossy pages, hardbound.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Exciting Publishing News: Eurohistory to Publish RUSSIA AND EUROPE

It is with much satisfaction and joy that Eurohistory announces a joint venture with Russian publisher Liki Rossii, publisher of some exquisite books about the Romanovs and the history of the Imperial family.

Our first joint effort is to be RUSSIA AND EUROPE: Dynastic Ties. Authored by Galina Korneva and T. Cheboksarova, renowned Russian  historians and prolific authors.

Liki Rossii describes their book as:

"The book includes fascinating stories of the life and tragic end of one of the most powerful and wealthy dynasties of the Romanovs (1613-1917) with more than 500 photographs collected from the main archives of Russia and European countries.

The vanished world of the Russian Imperial Family is still attractive in many of its aspects. Magnificent residences of the Romanovs, which were built by the best architects, and the extraordinary collections of fine arts they contained continue to attract authors and readers. For 80 years Russian archives, which could be compared with undiscovered treasure mines, were closed to a wide range of specialists around the world. Foreign archives in turn were not available to Russian researchers. The authors of Russia and Europe worked in archives in Russia, Denmark, Germany, England, and the USA, identified previously unrecognized photographs contained in Russian resources and introduced them to the reader with extensive commentary on their origins.

The “language” of original photographs is sometimes able to tell more than pages of texts about the special world of royalty and the circle of nobility. The authors also used information from Russian and foreign periodicals, memoirs and special literature. Readers will find new and well-structured materials about the main events in the lives of the Romanovs and their relatives in Europe, the masters in all kinds of art who worked on commission of the sovereigns, the state and family visits of members of European dynasties and the prominent companies that started their businesses thanks to the support of rulers.

Two chapters about Germany and Denmark and their princesses who became Russian Empresses during this period. A few chapters are devoted to the descriptions of the two-way influences between Russia and Greece, Württemberg, and Mecklenburg-Schwerin, countries where Russian Grand Duchesses lived as spouses of sovereigns."

Eurohistory's official book reviewer, renowned author Coryne Hall recently received a copy of the Russian-printed English edition of the book. Her review, which we share with you here, will also appear inside EuroHistory XC (December 2012).

Coryne tells us:

"Every now and then something comes along which is truly worth waiting for. This book was originally published in Russian and many of us having been waiting for the translation ever since – and it does not disappoint. “Russia and Europe” examines the ties between the 19th century Romanovs and the royal houses in Germany, Denmark and Greece with which they were allied by marriage. Although the book was written for Russians, every fan of the Romanovs will find something new and interesting in here. Palaces, trains, yachts and churches are all included in a real treasure trove of information.

The authors begin with Germany which, as the small German courts provided brides for many of the Grand Dukes, occupies the most space in the book. Wurttemberg, Baden, Hesse and Mecklenburg-Schwerin all have their place here, but there are also articles on the dawn of the automotive industry and the St Vladimir Brotherhood. We meet Romanovs about which less has been written – Vera of Württemberg, Elena Pavlovna and her family as well of course as Alix and Ella of Hesse and Victoria Melita.  The section on Anastasia Michaelovna is particularly interesting, covering not only Schwerin but the palaces of her relatives – Xenia’s palace in St Petersburg, Harax in the Crimea, and Borzhomi in the Caucasus.

Denmark comes next, concentrating of course on the family of the only Danish Empress, Marie Feodorovna, the former Princess Dagmar.  Much of this will be familiar to readers but it was nice to see a mention of the Kaiservilla at Fredensborg, which is less well-known, and also the Danish Ambassador, Harald Scavenius, who did so much to help the imprisoned Grand Dukes after the revolution.

The section on Greece concentrates on Queen Olga and her numerous family, including Queen Olga’s charity work, Strelna, Crete, Corfu and a lovely section on Grand Duchess Elena.

The illustrations, mostly taken from archives in Moscow and St Petersburg, are outstanding. It is really hard to pick out a highlight but for me it has to be the picture of Grand Duchess Elena sitting with her dolls – who are almost as big as the Grand Duchess herself.  Some of the photographs will be familiar to western readers but others will not.

This is an outstanding book, with detailed family trees, a huge bibliography and, rare in foreign books, an index. A “must” for all devotees of the Romanovs!"

RUSSIA AND EUROPE will be our first book of 2013 and if all goes according to schedule, it will be  one of six books Eurohistory plans to print in 2013, as we begin our business plan to focus more on newer, unique, in-house produced titles instead of used books. 

Of course, we will continue publication of our magazine as well. Eurohistory will celebrate 16 years of publication next year and we are fast approaching the 100th edition of a highly respected and widely supported magazine, now with subscribers in all continents and more than 70 countries!

Exciting news indeed!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Presentation – Estoril Los Años Dorados

Our dear friend Ricardo Mateos Saínz de Medrano, the noted and celebrated Spanish biographer, has presented in Barcelona his latest book, Estoril – Los Años Dorados.

The book covers the post-war years from 1946-1969 when the beautiful seaside resort of Estoril became home to many of Europe's exiled royals, from King Carol II of Romania to Archduke Josef of Austria.

The book, available only in Spanish, is a true jewel. The official presentation of the book was attended by HRH the Duke of Bragança, who flew in from Portugal to join in the festivities.

Someone ought to let me translate this beautiful work of royal history! escuchas...

At center, HRH the Duke of Bragança and Ricardo Mateos Saínz de Medrano.

Monday, July 16, 2012

News Release – Eurohistory Issue LXXXVII (June 2012)

News Release – Eurohistory Issue LXXXVII (June 2012)

Dear Subscribers and Readers,

We have been extremely busy here at Eurohistory. Besides working on two new books (more on this later), we are nearly done with our latest magazine, Issue LXXXVII (June 2012), which will go to print this week and begin mailing July 25!

Inside this latest issue our of widely-read magazine, you will find articles on the following topics:

1. Emperor Karl I of Austria

2. What's In a Photo – A Royal Wedding in Palermo (1931)

3. The Diamond Jubilee

4. The Wedding of HRH Princess Antonia of Bourbonp-Parma and Martin Krusbæk

5. Obituary: Dowager Fürstin Delia su Oettinegn-Wallerstein

6. Obituary: Doña Emanuela de Dampierre

7. Obituary: Count Carl Johan Bernadotte

8. Anniversaries – Archduchess Helen of Austria

9. Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg

10. Royal News

11. Book Reviews

As always, enjoy the reading!

For subscription and renewal information contact us at

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Other Grand Dukes – Nears Shipping to Printing

The last few weeks here at Eurohistory have been rather busy. Not only were ERHJ Issues 85-86 mailed to all our subscribers (mailing was completed last Tuesday), but I have been busily putting the finishing touches on our newest book THE OTHER GRAND DUKES – Sons and Grandsons of Russia's Grand Dukes.

This sequel to our very successful THE GRAND DUKES – Sons and Grandsons of Russia's Tsars contains the biographies of 18 Romanovs from Kirill Vladimirovich to Alexis Mikhailovich, all being children and grandchildren of Romanov Grand Dukes.

The book is divided into seven chapters in which contributors (Janet Aston, Arturo E. Beéche, Coryne Hall, Greg King, John van der Kiste, Marlene Koenig, Penny Wilson) have thoroughly examined the lives of the 18 Romanovs included in this volume. Noted royal legal specialist Charles Stewart contributed an erudite introduction, while HRH The Prince Michael of Kent kindly authored the Foreword.

The book spreads through nearly 280 pages. It also includes five family trees and a 24 glossy page photo section filled with amazing images of these Grand Dukes.

THE OTHER GRAND DUKES – Sons and Grandsons of Russia's Grand Dukes is scheduled to head to printing in about two weeks (hopefully sooner) and we expect to begin selling copies by the end of July!

Also, ERHJ LXXXVII (June 2012) is under construction and will mail as scheduled at the beginning of July!

Monday, June 11, 2012

M – 40 å på tronen (M – 40 Years on the Throne

“M – 40 å på tronen”, by Jens Andersen.  (Lindhardt og Ringhof, Denmark. 508 pages, illustrations throughout the text, many in colour.  Text in Danish.

Elizabeth II isn’t the only Queen celebrating a jubilee this year.  In Denmark they have been celebrating the 40th anniversary of the accession of Queen Margrethe and, to mark the event, this lovely book celebrates her reign.
In building up a picture of the Queen, and also the relationship between the Danish people and the monarchy over the past 40 years, Jens Andersen has spoken to the people who know her best – including Queen Margrethe herself.  Other contributors include The Prince Consort, her sons, her sister Princess Benedikte and Queen Sonja of Norway, with whom Queen Margrethe enjoys a close friendship. He has read her speeches, spoken to politicians, artists and historians to give a rounded portrait of the Danish monarch. The Queen’s thoughts on a variety of subjects such as feminism, language, sport and culture are included, as are accounts of her state visits and her interest in art (there are some wonderful illustrations of  Queen Margrethe at her easel), which she shares with Queen Sonja.
It’s a great shame that the text is only in Danish, as this book deserves to reach a wider audience but for those who can’t read it the photos more than compensate, including many that I have never seen before.
This is a good all-round portrait of a much loved monarch. 

Coryne Hall

Prince William. Born to be King – Review by Coryne Hall

“Prince William. Born to be King,” by Penny Junor. (Hodder & Stoughton). 424 pages, approx 77 illustrations, many in colour.

To coincide with  the prince’s 30th birthday,  journalist Penny Junor has published this latest biography of Prince William, described as the “first definitive, in-depth portrait of the man who was born to be King”.   Ms Junor has previously written about William’s parents, the book is well produced and the omens for it were good.

Unfortunately, any biography of William has to take into account the breakdown of his parents’ marriage, so the first part of the book is a rehash of the old Charles and Diana War of the Wales’ saga. Of course, we’ve heard it all many times before.  Junor sees Diana as unstable, manipulative and says that because her own mother left when she was six, Diana had no idea how to be a mother to William and Harry. The serialisation of the book in a British newspaper provoked much controversy on this point, to say the least. Penny Junor has used her contacts, built up over many years as a royal biographer, but, at the end of the day, as she admits, only William and Harry “had experienced the full nightmare of life within the Wales household” as their parents played out their war in the tabloids. 

You have to wait until page 151 before you start really seeing what sort of a person William really is, and what effect the tabloid wars had on the Prince.  Ms Junor says he likes to be in control of his life and his public image, although he has now accepted the role destiny has in store for him. His meeting with Kate Middleton and their subsequent marriage has added a new dynamic to the royal family, giving them a golden couple who are in demand all round the world. Despite this, William is determined to keep his private life private.

The book is packed with anecdotes about William (and Harry) and there are some lovely pictures.  I can’t help feeling, though, that Ms Junor should have waited a few years. So much was written about William at the time of the wedding that there is really nothing new here for more seasoned devotees of the royal family.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Queen's Diamonds – Review by Coryne Hall

“The Queen’s Diamonds” by Hugh Roberts. (Royal Collection Publications). 320 pages, 348 illustrations, many of them in colour.

What better way to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee than a book on the Queen’s Diamonds.  Sir Hugh Roberts, Surveyor Emeritus of The Queen’s Works of Art, was Director of the Royal Collection from 1996 until 2010.  His book, authorised personally by the Queen, traces the history of the most significant pieces in Her Majesty’s collection, either inherited or acquired during her reign.  This is personal jewellery, as distinct from the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

Diamonds have been the principal and most prominent adornment at major events of every reign, and “a necessary part of the outward show of monarchy”, as well as “a visible representation of the wealth and influence of the country.”  Using documents from the Royal Archives, including Queen Mary’s photographic jewellery inventory, Sir Hugh guides us through the various pieces from owner to owner, showing how certain pieces were transformed as fashions and tastes changed and stones were taken from unfashionable pieces and reused.  It is also fascinating to learn how pieces came apart, to be worn in different ways.

Sir Hugh begins with Queen Adelaide, the first female sovereign to wear George IV’s diamond diadem, now worn by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. Despite Queen Victoria having to give back the Hanoverian Diamonds, the collection continued to grow, with additional help of major jewels from India and other parts of the Empire.  Queen Alexandra started the fashion for jewelled ‘dog collars’ and introduced jewellery influenced by the Russian styles, such as the Kokoshnik Tiara, which she had seen on her sister Dagmar, the Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. One of Queen Alexandra’s most elaborate pieces was the Dagmar Necklace (a wedding gift from Frederik VII of Denmark), incorporating a replica of the Dagmar Cross, a famous medieval relic. 

Unsurprisingly a large amount of space is given to Queen Mary.  Her acquisitions include the famous Cullinan Diamonds and the Delhi Durbar necklace. Jewels purchased from the estate of Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia, including the famous Vladimir Tiara, are included, but those purchased from Empress Marie Feodorovna’s estate (which largely contained stones other than diamonds) are not. She also inherited jewels from Princess Mary Adelaide Duchess of Teck, Princess Mary Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Augusta Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Mary was particularly ingenious in having her jewels altered, dismantled and remade.

I was amazed at how much jewellery Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) inherited from Mrs Ronald Greville - sixty spectacular pieces from Mrs Greville’s personal collection, including the Greville Tiara (latterly loaned to the Duchess of Cornwall) with its distinctive honeycomb design. Queen Elizabeth’s collection also included the Halo Tiara (loaned to the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day), and the Maple Leaf Brooch, worn on visits to Canada, most recently by the Duchess of Cambridge. Incidentally, Mrs Greville’s ‘jewellery box’ was actually a tin trunk!

With the accession in 1952 of the first Queen Regnant since 1837 the Queen Consort’s heirloom jewellery could be combined with the new Queen’s personal jewellery and, on State occasions, with the Crown Jewels. The result, as first seen at the coronation, is spectacular.  Legacies from Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth are now combined with some new acquisitions such as the Williamson, the finest pink diamond ever discovered.

The photographs in this book are superb. Each item is shown actual size and, in some cases, larger, so that the beauty of the stones and their settings can really be appreciated.  Photographs also show the various royal ladies wearing the pieces, illustrating how each Queen chose to wear, or alter, the items. 

This is a breathtaking book, recommended for any fans of royal jewellery.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Really...Penny Junor is writing a bio of Prince William

Every once in a while I sit back and dumbfounded by the choices made by the powers that be at publishing houses here in the USA and in the UK.

Penny Junor, who has written several opportunistic books about the Prince of Wales and his late former wife, as well as about the English royal family, now regales us with a new biography of the Duke of Cambridge.


Hvidøre – A Royal Retreat – Review by Katrina Warne

 HVIDØRE. A ROYAL RETREAT. By Coryne Hall & Senta Driver. Rosvall Royal Books 2012

Hvidøre was the beloved holiday home of Queen Alexandra and her sister Dagmar, The Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia. They brought it in 1906 following the death of their father King Christian IX of Denmark. Hvidøre is situated on the coast north of Copenhagen near Klampenborg. The sisters were regular visitors until the outbreak of the First World War. After the Russian Revolution, Dagmar made it her permanent home until her death in 1928. From 1920 her daughter Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna lived there with her, along with her husband Nikolai Kulikovsky and their two sons.
Coryne Hall tells the history of the Italianate villa and the sister’s lives there. Many of the photographs were taken around 1911. They have been beautifully re-produced. They show the interiors of the villa when the sisters lived there. It is interesting to see their tastes and how their chose to furnish their rooms. There is the inevitable clutter on various surfaces with family photos and other ornaments on every surface. There are other photographs of the sisters and their family to help illustrate the story of their time in the villa.
On 3rd June 2000 I was lucky enough to be invited to a lecture Coryne Hall was asked to give on Dagmar at Hvidøre. It was a lovely sunny day as a group of us (including Senta Driver) made our way from the station to Hvidøre.  Coryne had been invited to lecture by Paul Kulikovsky (a great grandson of Grand Duchess Olga). As Hvidøre is not normally open to the public, it was a not to be missed opportunity to see inside as we were given a tour of the villa after Coryne’s lecture. Hvidøre is now owned by the Novo Nordisk Group who specialise in the treatment of diabetes. 
This book shows the intimate private life of Alexandra and Dagmar. It will add to their admirer’s knowledge about the pair. The book is produced in Rosvall Royal Books usual format, so it will fit well on the library shelf alongside the other books they have published.

Victoria Revealed – Review by Coryne Hall

 “Victoria Revealed:  500 Facts About the Queen and Her World.” (Historic Royal Palaces). 152 pages, illustrated in colour throughout.

When Queen Victoria was born in 1819 England was largely rural, by the time she died in 1901 Britain had been changed out of all recognition and Victoria herself had been transformed from passionate princess to elderly Empress.  This lovely book, published by Historic Royal Palaces in connection with the new exhibition at Kensington Palace, provides 500 facts about Victoria’s world starting with her girlhood, then as woman, wife, mother and widow before moving on to her time as sovereign. “Ten Girlhood Favourites”; “Baby Mementoes” (her own and her children’s); her most interesting grandchildren; outstanding achievements of the age in the arts, engineering, science and literature, are just some of the aspects covered in this book. Victoria had trouble descending stairs because of “something wrong in the knee”;  Prince Albert designed a brooch for her containing their daughter Vicky’s first milk tooth; and Victorian conventions included leaving calling cards but not, apparently, covering piano legs!

There is something for everyone in this beautifully illustrated book.

Dear Ellen – Another Rave Review by Marlene Koenig

This is a rave. A real rave. I am not saying this because I am one of the sellers of Dear Ellen on Amazon. (I sell Eurohistory's books on Amazon, and I get a teeny weeny percentage of each sale.)

I am saying this because this is the best book produced so far by Eurohistory. Dear Ellen ... is a super photo book of royal photographs ... photographs from the private albums of Grand Duchess Helen of Russia, who married Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark. They were the parents of three daughters: Olga (Princess Paul of Yugoslavia), Marina (Duchess of Kent) and Elisabeth (Countess zu Toerring-Jettenbach.)

The book's dedication is by Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia. Elizabeth's brother, Prince Alexander wrote a remembrance of their grandmother. Arturo Beeche also had the cooperation of Archduchess Helen of Austria and her brother, Count Hans-Veit zu Toerring-Jettenbach, the children of Princess Elisabeth.

The book is divided into 12 chapters: Prince Nicholas (1872-1902); Grand Duchess Helen (1882-1902); the Wedding (1902); Life Together (1902-1938); Widowhood (1938-1957); Princess Olga and her family; Princess Elisabeth and her family; Princess Marina and her family; The Greeks : Prince Nicholas' siblings; Grand Duchess Helen's siblings; Prince Nicholas' first cousins; and Grand Duchess Helen's first cousins.

A true treasure trove of many previous unpublished photos. Grand Duchess Helen was the only daughter of Grand Duke Wladimir of Russia and Duchess Marie Pavlovna of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Marie Pavlovna was determined to find a good husband for Ellen. Prince Max of Baden was the man most likely, but the proposed engagement soon fizzled out, and Grand Duchess Helen was left without a fiance. Her mother opened the Almanach de Gotha in search of another royal husband for her pretty and well-endowed daughter. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and King Albert I of the Belgians were on Marie Pavlovna's shortlist, but another candidate emerged for Helen's hand.

Prince Nicholas of Greece was determined to marry Helen, although he was not on Marie Pavlovna's list. He was a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes and his wife, the former Grand Duchess Olga Constantinova of Russia, a prince without true opportunity -- and income.

The wedding on August 29, 1902 turned out to be a true success. Helen gave birth to three daughters, Olga, Elisabeth and Marina, three of the most adorable princesses of the early 20th century. Helen and Nicholas had a happy and fulfilled marriage, a loving relationship that sustained the Russian Revolution (the murders of close family members and the loss of the very remunerative appanages), the collapse of the Greek monarchy, and exile.

After a putative engagement with Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Olga married Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, a non-dynast to the Yugoslav throne, who serve as one of three regents during King Peter II's minority. Elisabeth, known as Woolley, married German Count Carl Theodor zu Toerring-Jettenbach. The youngest daughter, Marina, made the most spectacular marriage, when she married Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, son of King George V and Queen Mary.

One hundred and thirty six pages of pure joy. This is a book that cries out for frequent browsing.

Helen's three daughters were amazingly photogenic, and the strength of their beauty can be found not only in the lines on their faces, but also in the grace and determination they had in their private lives. All three sisters endured struggles and separation, largely due to the vicissitudes of the second world war.

I could wax lyrical for hours about this book. One of my absolute favorites is the photo is the one on page 97: a tableaux vivant arranged by Maria Kirillovna of Russia, Alexandra of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Wladimir of Russia, Irma of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Kira of Russia.

It is nice to see how Grand Duchess Helen's extended family interacted with each other. I have only seen one photo of Helen's niece, Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna's wedding, in 1925, a portrait of the bride and groom. The British and American press were largely uninterested in this wedding, even though the bride's mother was born a British princess, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. If the Russian monarchy had survived the first world war, the marriage between elder daughter of the heir presumptive to the throne and the wealthy Prince of Leiningen would have been a grand event indeed. But in 1925, the marriage was a media afterthought. It was so nice to see that Grand Duchess Helen included a photo of Maria's bridal attendants. All were members of the family. Her sister, Kira, and two first cousins, Alexandra and Irma of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, were the bridesmaids, and the two pages were her younger brother, Wladimir, and Prince Friedrich Josias of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the youngest child of her mother's first cousin, Duke Carl Eduard of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha ... what a shame this photo was not released as a postcard.

Art Beeche's text offers a rich complement to the myriad of photographs that offer readers a delicate journey that meanders into the lives of those who lived in Imperial Russia, Imperial Germany and the fledgling Greek monarchy.

Grand Duchess Helen and her family experienced wealth we can only dream about, and in a revolutionary minute, all of wealth was gone. Helen became more than survivor, she became a can do sort of person can do when the chips are down. She inherited magnificent jewels, but the true jewels were Helen's family.

I  have one quibble. It would have been really, really nice if Art Beeche had included an index to the photographs .. it would make my life easier.

The price of the book is $43.95


Where to buy it:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dear Ellen – A Top Seller After a Month in Sales!

Much to my absolute delight (as I blush, truly) my latest book, DEAR ELLEN – Royal Europe Through the Photo Albums of Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia, continues as the top seller at renowned Dutch royalty bookstore Hoogstraten English Bookstore, where I signed copies of the book two weeks ago.

You can also purchase DEAR ELLEN at:



MAJESTY Magazine:

Librairie Galignani – Paris: