Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Poems for the New Year

Here is some special poetry to see in the New Year! This is my personal favourite by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:
Ring Out, Wild Bells

A Lovely Present From Aunt Louise

Queen Victoria's aunt, Queen Louise of Belgium, bought her this beautiful fan which was once owned by Marie Antoinette.

Wouldn't it be good to have an aunt who is a queen or a princess? The presents would be so much better!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Season

I hope that you enjoy the Christmas season and your holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

How To Become A Princess

Would you like to become a princess? I certainly would. Even though I'm happily married, I'd swap places with Princess Mary in an instant so that I could be married to Prince Frederick and live in beautiful, cold Denmark!

If you'd like to become a princess, Cheryl Anderson Brown of the wonderful Princess Palace tells you how: How To Become A Princess.

(I received a comment on Cheryl's post saying : "Cool post you've got here. I'd like to read more on this theme." I rejected it because it was from an escort agency!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Very English King (Part Two)

Edward's Work

Queen Victoria didn't trust her rather wayward son. She kept him away from the State papers and insisted on doing all of her work herself. The problem was that this was actually one of the causes of Edward's rather fast life. As he didn't have much to do he thought that he may as well enjoy himself! He worked very hard when he actually had a job to do.

He charmed the French, for example, when he became the president of the British section of the international exhibition in Paris in 1878. He toasted the President of the French republic, Marshall MacMahon, and strongly supported the entente cordiale between the two countries.

Edward had always loved France and the French. He spoke French fluently and he had liked the splendour of the French court and admired their way of life. As a teenager on his first visit to Paris, he asked Empress Eugenie to let him stay there.
He said that his parents 'don't want us, and there are six more of us at home!'

Edward also worked hard when he became a Commissioner on a commission for the aged poor. Even a radical Liberal MP praised him and said that he had asked very astute questions. Edward was very interested in this subject but as royalty wasn't supposed to be involved in politics his hands were somewhat tied.

Queen Victoria realised how much she really did love her son when he almost died of typhoid. Their relationship improved greatly and she trusted him with more work, realising that she was growing old and might die at any time.

King Edward

Queen Victoria finally died in 1901 and Edward became King. There was great concern when the Coronation had to be postponed because he had appendicitis and had to have an emergency operation. The King was sixty so there were fears for his life.

Few people thought that Edward would be a good King. They thought that he liked enjoying himself too much but he proved them wrong. He busied himself with the State papers and worked at making peace between countries. Edward was actually nicknamed 'The Peacemaker'.

He charmed the French yet again in 1903. They were angry about the British occupation of Egypt, the Boer war, and criticism of the Dreyfuss trial. King Edward soon brought them around, however. President Loubet even made a return visit.
The Anglo-French agreement was signed in 1904.

Edward had less luck with the wilful and difficult Kaiser. He prophetically said that his attitudes might help begin a war.

The 'King of Europe' died in 1910 and worked almost until the end. The Earl of Grenville remarked when Queen Victoria was alive that: "Prince Albert was unloved, because he possessed all the virtues which are sometimes lacking in the Englishman. The Prince of Wales is loved because he has all the faults of which the Englishman is accused."1.

1. John Van Der Kiste, Queen Victoria's Grandchildren, Sutton Publishing, London, 1983.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Very English King

Edward VII. (Part One)

Blue-eyed and blonde-haired, young Prince Albert Edward impressed everyone with his sweet nature, except his parents. Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, were disappointed in the young Prince because they didn’t think that he was as clever as their favourite, his elder sister, Princess Vicky.

They subjected the little boy to a vigorous and strict school-room regime and kept him away from other boys in case he was exposed to bad influences. The young Prince lacked playmates and was teased rather mercilessly by his elder sister. It was no wonder that he was given to frequent rages and his parents found him hard to control.

Even Baron Stockmar, who had advised this extreme method of education, thought that the routine was too rigorous for the young boy and felt sorry for him. However, the Queen and Albert were determined. They didn’t realise that the young Prince’s talents lay in diplomacy and charm. One of his tutors, Henry Birch, praised the Prince’s ‘very good memory, very singular powers of observation.’

Edward also preferred outdoor pursuits, such as shooting and riding to his studies. He was not one for reading but this didn’t affect his capacity to work when he became King. Queen Victoria, eventually realised that she’d underestimated her son but this took many years.

The Affair with Nellie

Edward studied at the universities of Oxford and Edinburgh but his parents were not pleased with his progress. They thought that he spent too much time enjoying hunting and rich food instead of concentrating on his work. They were to be even more disappointed in him.

When the young Prince trained with the Grenadier Guards his fellow officers discovered his lack of experience with women. They sneaked the pretty actress, Nellie Clifden, into his room to surprise him. Edward was delighted with Nellie and she became his mistress. The problem was that Nellie began boasting about the affair.

Queen Victoria and Albert were outraged. It was not only his lack of morals that caused them concern. Princess Vicky had found a good match for Edward – the Danish Princess Alexandra. His parents were worried that his affair could affect the planned romance.

Prince Albert died of typhoid shortly after the affair. The Queen was so upset that she blamed Edward for causing his death. It would take some time before she forgave him.

Princess Alexandra

Luckily Princess Alexandra was still available. The Prince had met her before but he wasn’t that impressed because he preferred Nelly. After his father’s death he felt very contrite and he thought about the beautiful Danish Princess more and more.

Queen Victoria was very impressed with the young woman and the Prince eventually proposed. The young couple were in love and the Queen thought that their marriage would be happy.

Princess Alexandra soon became disillusioned with her husband, however. Her deafness tended to isolate her and probably annoyed Edward. She also had a succession of pregnancies and Edward started mixing with a fast set who liked shooting, hunting and women.

He became involved in many scandals, which annoyed Queen Victoria and his wife.
This included the Mordaunt scandal in which Edward was accused of being the father of Lady Harriet Mordaunt’s child. Many of his letters to her were read in court. These were quite innocent but Edward also denied any impropriety. Lady Harriet was declared insane shortly afterwards.

Edward’s many mistresses included the beautiful actress, .Lily Langtry and Daisy Brooke. He also had a long affair with Alice Keppel.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dynasties To Meet In Istanbul

This is an interesting article: Russian and Ottoman Dynasties.

I have been a bit lazy lately but I hope to write some longer posts at the end of the week.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Young Victoria

The wonderfully romantic and beautifully photographed movie, The Young Victoria, tells the story of Victoria's struggle for the throne and her love affair with Prince Albert. Emily Blunt captivates as Victoria and deservedly won The British Artist of the Year Award. Rupert Friend is also charming and sympathetic as Prince Albert. The very handsome Paul Bettany, however, almost outshone him as the debonair Lord Melbourne!

Any fan of historical drama is sure to love this film which starts in American cinemas on 12/18! The official website is at: >The Young Victoria. The movie also has a Facebook site.

A Favourite Scene From The Movie

Friday, December 4, 2009

I Left My Heart In St.Petersburg

The atmosphere was electric. Young, aristocratic women showed each other portraits and jewellery with images of the handsome 'Waltz King', Johann Strauss, Jr. He was coming to St.Petersburg and they couldn't wait! There was a race to get tickets.

Johann Strauss, Jr. arrived in St.Petersburg in 1856 and played for 11 seasons. He led his 26-man orchestra to great acclaim at the railway station at nearby Pavlovsk, the 'Musical Station'. This was a beautiful park with a concert hall where high society liked to be entertained.

Here Strauss met the lovely, high-class Olga Smirnitzki, who was also a talented composer. He fell in love with this romantic, moody young woman and wrote her a series of romantic letters. Strauss and Olga kept their relationship a secret because of her aristocratic parents who wanted her to marry an official in St.Petersburg. They left their billets-doux under a tree in a park where Strauss's friend, Leibrock, would collect them.

Strauss wanted to marry Olga and had a discussion with her mother about this but the mother insulted her daughter and insisted that there was no future in the relationship.

In 1859 Strauss returned to Vienna where he played a French Polka called The Messenger of Love inspired by Olga in the Carnival Revue. This was eventually called Taubenpost. He also wrote Viennese Bonbons and Parting with St.Petersburg for Olga.

Olga announced her engagement to another man eventually. Strauss's love affair with the girl that he had called 'My all, my angel' was over. He had thought that she was 'the being destined for me by God' but, sadly, he was wrong. The 'Waltz King' famously wrote that: "I left my heart in St.Petersburg."

There are plans to reconstruct the musical station at Pavlovsk, which was destroyed during the war: Magnetic Levitation Line

(NB: I also write about the aristocracy here - because I want to! Olga came from a noble family>

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Russian Art and Jewellery Sale

There is a good article here about the records broken at a sale of antique Russian art and jewellery: Russian Arts News.

I hope to write a longer post over the weekend.
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