Wednesday, 15 August 2012

"A King's Story", by HRH the Duke of Windsor

A Book for Every Occasion - that's me.  This year, I've followed all the big celebrations. 

The 100th Anniversary of the death of Scott in the Antarctic - I own a dozen books on this subject, the latest being the newest, published late last year in time for the Xmas market:  "The Last Photographs of Captain Scott", a Christmas gift from elder daughter.  The author is David Wilson,  great-nephew of Edward Wilson, Scott's close friend and fellow explorer.  So poignant.

The 200th Anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens - yes, I own most of the novels, and the latest biography, "Charles Dickens, A Life", by Claire Tomalin.  Again a timely publication ready for this anniversary.

I've been to two Dickens exhibitions and two Scott of the Antarctic exhibitions.

Then it was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  Never one to do things by halves, I bought six Jubilee mugs and two Jubilee tea caddies.  I've also been to Sandringham twice and last week, (courtesy of darling elder daughter once more), to Buckingham Palace.  Darling daughter is an actuary and earns more than her father, although only 27.  She has bucked the trend of the Generation Y-ers as being lamented in the press this week and last.  She presented us with vouchers for Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle as Christmas presents.  Windsor coming up.

So I dug out my maroon-coloured dog-eared hardback, "A King's Story" by the late Duke of Windsor.  The book is dedicated  "To Wallis", but the late Duchess doesn't appear much.  When the book was written in 1950, it would have been highly inappropriate to detail the progression of the relationship from initial meeting to sexual obsession.

What is really interesting is the first two-thirds of the book, where we are given an intimate insider's view of life growing up in the Royal Family.  Having been to Sandringham, it was lovely to read of the author's childhood spent largely in that rural residence, whilst waiting for his father, George V, to inherit the crown and thus move to Buckingham Palace.

Another fascinating insight is the royal protocols and fancy dress parades, which really don't seem to have changed at all since Queen Victoria's time.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with spending some of the nation's cash on things which will entertain and bring a smile and a diversion to our boring mundane lives.

Which brings me to the Olympics.  Marvellous spectacle, and didn't we do well!  A big hand for Great Britain, and let's hope that now we can stop being so miserable all the time, stop downplaying our achievements and instead celebrate our strengths.  The organisation was absolutely impeccable, and that alone is a skill we should be marketing around the world.  I haven't seen any books about the Olympics yet, but will keep a look out. Bradley Wiggins is due to bring a book out in October, I believe).

So, there is only one more anniversary this year that I am aware of.  This will be the 100th anniversary of the death of Emma Hardy, the first wife of Thomas.  As she inspired many of his greatest poems, I hope that we will be treated to some celebration of her otherwise quiet and unremarkable life.

Am keeping a look out.

1 comment:

  1. Nobody remarked on the anniversary of Emma's death. I spent months researching her life and their joint life, and wrote a play for Radio 4 about her, which I submitted in Feb 2013 to the BBC open submissions "Writersroom". It got past the first "sift" which is good because only 17% of all the 2900 submissions did, but no further. I'm wondering whether to rework it and try another outlet.