Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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.

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