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.