My book, Eczema and Atopic Dermatits: The Best Websites has recently been published. I've also had many articles published, but I'd like to write more non-fiction books and, of course, a novel!
My articles can be seen at many websites, including Life in Italy, Crescent Blues, Paris Eiffel Tower Newsletter, and France This Way.
I found this rather salacious and gossipy article today: Queen Victoria's Lovers. Remember that the word 'lover' often had a different and more innocent meaning in those days. Princess Victoria may not even have kissed Lord Elphinstone or Lord Paget! It's understandable that she had her eye on them - they were both tall and handsome, apparently.
I read recently that the remains of Jose de Gregorio are going to be exhumed to see if a Madrid housewife is his illegitimate daughter. She claims that she is the daughter of de Gregorio and one of his former servants.
Although the dashing de Gregorio was an expert horseman in the Spanish Olympian team, his wife, known as 'The Red Duchess,' was even more interesting. Born in Estoril, Portugal, Luisa, the Duchess of Medina Sidonia, was raised in a grand ducal palace. However, she watched her parents try to help the poor villagers during the Second World War. She started to have Socialist leanings because of the deep division she saw between the rich and the poor. She also became a Republican, rather surprisingly, considering her family's history. Although she was rebellious and expelled from several convent schools, she read Spanish history voraciously. She learned that one of her ancestors was the commander of the Spanish Armada, and another one was a Spanish Prime Minister.
When she was 18 her father died, and she inherited his title. She also married de Gregorio who was six years older and had two boys and a girl. However, the marriage soon ran into trouble.
The fiery Duchess, only five feet tall, became an activist. She began giving much of her land away for agricultural co-operatives. She also famously went to jail in 1968 for eight months, because she told the press about the loss of four hydrogen bombs in Spain, caused by a collision involving a US B-52 bomber, and led protests demanding compensation for the villager's contaminated lands. She was offered her freedom in return for silence, but she bravely refused.
She wrote a criticism of prison conditions, and novels about social conditions in Spain. She was accused of insulting the police and the judiciary in her novel La Huelga ('The Strike'). In her novel, published in 1967, she suggested that Andalusian workers were treated brutally by landowners and police with the collusion of the Church.
She lost custody of her children because of her activism, and she also became estranged from them. Eventually, the duchess took charge of the archive of her beautiful palace at Sanlucar de Barrameda and decided to preserve it for future generations. She wrote many non-fiction books based on the archive.
This strange duchess married her lesbian lover, the secretary of the foundation to preserve the archives, on her deathbed. She also left this woman the palace, and the children have accused her of depriving them of their inheritance.
The beautiful new princess weighing 8 lb 3 oz was born at 8:34 am on Saturday, May 2 after a short labour. She shares her birthday with Catherine the Great, a fascinating royal, and she is fourth in line to the throne. Prince William said that he was very happy, and he introduced little Prince George to his new sister quite quickly.
Favourites for the princess's name include Charlotte, Alice and Elizabeth. My favourite is Elizabeth - no prizes for guessing why!