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  #21  
Old 06-25-2008, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by scooter View Post
Was Diana even born then? How could she kill off something before she was even alive?
Erm - read the article that was linked to, and you'll see what the author meant. Strikes me as a real stretch, but I'm sure that subtitle will get people to read the article who otherwise wouldn't, and that, no doubt, was the point.
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  #22  
Old 06-25-2008, 09:56 PM
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How shy Di killed off the debs

'We had to put a stop to it. Every tart in London was getting in." In these words, the late Princess Margaret, with her customary blend of regal hauteur and sod-you directness, described one of the reasons behind the decision, in 1958, to bring an end to the centuries-old tradition of the presentation of debutantes to the Queen.

Last Curtsey: The end of the debutantes, by Fiona MacCarthy - Reviews, Books - The Independent




Have you read the book, Skydragon?
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  #23  
Old 06-25-2008, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by scooter View Post
Dont think so, she was born 1 1/2 years before me and I am born in 1963. I distinctly remember when she was engaged to C and I was a high school senior at the time.
-3. Minus 3. As in, 3 years before she was born.
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  #24  
Old 06-26-2008, 10:20 AM
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I think the author was trying to say that symbolically, Diana killed any hope of reviving the idea of the traditional debutante with her tell-all 1995 interview. After the presentation ceremonies ended in 1958, the idea of the virginal, proper, docile deb were dying out in the 60s and 70s with all those scandals. Diana's virginal, proper, docile image in the early 80s was seen as a potential return to the traditional image of the pure deb. Think about how her wedding (and specifically her dress) was a throwback to the big, traditional, romantic wedding from the rebel counterculture chic of the 60s and 70s. However, Diana turned out to be the most rebellious deb of them all. She took lovers, divorced, most importantly, spilled her her guts out on her lovers and divorce in Morton's book and on TV. That the woman thought to be epitome of old-fashioned mores turned out to be the modern of them all, is what killed the idea of the a return to tradition. Thus, it buried the hope of ever reviving the court presentation ceremonies and all they represented.
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  #25  
Old 06-26-2008, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by EmpressRouge View Post
I think the author was trying to say that symbolically, Diana killed any hope of reviving the idea of the traditional debutante with her tell-all 1995 interview. After the presentation ceremonies ended in 1958, the idea of the virginal, proper, docile deb were dying out in the 60s and 70s with all those scandals. Diana's virginal, proper, docile image in the early 80s was seen as a potential return to the traditional image of the pure deb. Think about how her wedding (and specifically her dress) was a throwback to the big, traditional, romantic wedding from the rebel counterculture chic of the 60s and 70s. However, Diana turned out to be the most rebellious deb of them all. She took lovers, divorced, most importantly, spilled her her guts out on her lovers and divorce in Morton's book and on TV. That the woman thought to be epitome of old-fashioned mores turned out to be the modern of them all, is what killed the idea of the a return to tradition. Thus, it buried the hope of ever reviving the court presentation ceremonies and all they represented.
From reading an excerpt of this book, it struck me for the first time that Diana after a year or so must have been really truly been a shock to Britain and the Royal Family, as she had grown up in an aristocratic family and really turned her back on that way of life. Wonder how come, as her sisters and brothers did not.
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  #26  
Old 06-26-2008, 05:46 PM
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I think it was more than a year or two before she turned her back on the old way of life. Frankly, I give her a lot of credit, being as unhappy as she was, for sticking it out quietly as long as she did. As for her siblings not doing so, perhaps their adult life/spousal relationships were more fulfilling, leading her siblings to be more satisfied with the status quo. If you're happy, you're not going to be looking to change things. If you're miserable, you start looking around for ways to 'improve' your life.
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  #27  
Old 06-26-2008, 06:41 PM
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I haven't read the book, though I would be interested to, but from the way it sounds, I think that there is almost a sense of nostalgia and irony to this book. Right, there are no formal ceremonies to present children to the Queen, but there is a sort of informal debutant season still going strong in the UK, as I've seen first hand with many of my relatives. Trust me, Debutants are not as extinct in the UK as some assume, and eve les so in greater Europe.

I agree with EmpressRouge that the author was most likely hinting to the fact that Diana in a way put a cabosh on the idea of a "pure, white, and shiny" Aristocratic Englishwoman, but I thikn she also cemented the idea that to find that pure sort of person you must not be as socially prejudice as the Blue Bloods once were, Kate Middelton is a fine example.

I think that in a way this article highlights everything that we all love and hate about the status quo, while really only highlighting what the entire world was living through in those time. Sex adn so forth were elements of the 60's and 70's,and were natural for any teenager to be mixed up in, because socal status doesn't exempt you from certain heartaches and peer-pressure as some may believe.

But as a grandchild of one of the Debs that came out at the last presenting, there may be more to this story than anyone would be willing to offer, as it really is just a secret society that everyone wants to fight there way into.
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  #28  
Old 08-06-2008, 09:15 AM
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I've read this book, its OK, it has some interesting information about the 1958 season and the court presentations, it's a good social history and looks at later attempts to revive the season, it also looks at what happend to the gals who curtsied in 1958, The Diana bit just says how after the Panorama interview the deb died and that the traditional idea of a deb could never be revivied. The 1960s is also blamed as part of this end.

Best Quote "We had to end the presentations, every tart in London was getting in" attributed to HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
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  #29  
Old 08-07-2008, 08:37 AM
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There is another book, The Last Dance, about the London debuntante season of 1939, the season many claimed was the season of the last true debutantes.

Of course it was right before WWII so the atmosphere prior to war was given some attention.
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  #30  
Old 08-07-2008, 09:12 AM
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I have a lovely photograph of a cousin (long dead) wearing the traditional white feathers and white dress when she was presented to Queen Mary. It was a nice custom but must have been a rather expensive one, even Wallis borrowed a dress when she was presented.
Then, there were the garden parties. Invitations were applied for and a letter of recommendation from some "bigwig" usually got the person in. I don´t even know if they still have these or are they a thing of the past.
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  #31  
Old 08-07-2008, 11:23 AM
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I find it one of life's amusing ironies that whilst the BRF declared the 'Deb Do' passe in Britain, American 'Society' is ruthlessly enforcing the rite of passage of the "Debutante Ball". After having graduated from the finest "Mommy and Me Group", and aspiring Ivy League pre-schools, private schools and a few "Finishing" schools the poor dears are thrust into Society's gentle arms by mothers whose enthusiasm would not be out of place behind the scenes at a beauty pagent!
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  #32  
Old 08-07-2008, 10:41 PM
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Sometimes I wonder about Amazon. I was looking for Last Curtsey over there, and it turns out that it's eligible for their Fall Textbook promotion.

Amazon.com: Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes: Fiona MacCarthy: Books

Somehow, reading this thread, I'd never have taken it for a textbook....
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  #33  
Old 08-09-2008, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by MARG View Post
I find it one of life's amusing ironies that whilst the BRF declared the 'Deb Do' passe in Britain, American 'Society' is ruthlessly enforcing the rite of passage of the "Debutante Ball". After having graduated from the finest "Mommy and Me Group", and aspiring Ivy League pre-schools, private schools and a few "Finishing" schools the poor dears are thrust into Society's gentle arms by mothers whose enthusiasm would not be out of place behind the scenes at a beauty pagent!
I went to a Southern upperclass private school and debutante balls were big but even then they started to lose their significance.

The girls got their ball but after the ball, everybody's life went back to normal.

In my mother's day, it was much more of a big-do. Families on the fringe were clamoring for their daughters to get in and there was a season afterwards where a lot of engagements were announced.

By the time I was in school, the girls had their big parties and then went to the universities just like the girls who didn't go to deb balls. The deb balls were considered more fertile ground for the deb's fathers to meet and cement business deals than it was for their daughters to find a husband.

But the royal debutante audience seems like it was on a totally different plane. It was as if the King and Queen were the pinnacle of society and one could not be considered a part of society (and enjoying all its privileges) unless one was presented to the King and Queen.

I think the royal debutante audience could only exist in a time when the King and Queen were considered the pinnacle and arbiters of society. Starting in the 60s, people didn't want to be dictated to as far as who they socialized with or what they did with their free time.

The society that everyone had previously aspired to had disintegrated or made irrevelent and for the most part, people on the fringes stopped trying to get in.

It did make the deb balls rather irrelevant.
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  #34  
Old 09-17-2008, 06:40 PM
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Royalty and High Society

Can anyone recomend any books on royalty, high society or the jet set ? X
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  #35  
Old 09-20-2008, 01:50 AM
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Hello!Well there is not alot of books out there that merges these two things.In books of high society like those written by the late great Society writer like Stephen Birmingham,there are hints of European Royalty and comparisons here and there.My favorite books by him is America's Secret Aristocracy and The Right People.There is also the 2004 big Assouline coffee table book celebrating the life and style of Venezuelan Grandee and American fashion designer Caroline Herrera.There are few mentions of British Royalty and a picture with King Juan Carlos and Princess Margaret.
Also read Robert Lacey's book called Aristocrats.Most likely you already have.Alot of bios on Jackie Kennedy constantly stress this subject.It is a great idea to write a book on this.There seems to be not a single book out there that focuses on this.You should write it Alistair,and make millions and you better send me a signed copy!
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  #36  
Old 09-20-2008, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Alastair_r View Post
Can anyone recomend any books on royalty, high society or the jet set ? X
Well, you can start with checking in your local library for books on the royal family, or a particular royal/aristocrat you are interested in.
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  #37  
Old 09-20-2008, 03:10 AM
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If you look through this forum, you'll see all sorts of recommendations of books on royalty. Last month's book-of-the-month choice was "The Marlborough House Set," which is about Edward VII's aristocratic set of friends. If you want something more up-to-date, I'm sure the threads in this forum will give you some leads.
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  #38  
Old 09-20-2008, 07:45 AM
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Not sure about books, but you could always hire out High Society which features Grace Kelly (HSH The Princess of Monaco) and Bing Crosby...
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  #39  
Old 11-07-2008, 12:25 PM
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I know its a while since you first posted this question but I have a few ideas for books on Royalty & High Society etc. RoyallyRich mentioned Assouline publications - well quite a few of their titles bridge these two areas. " Royal Holidays" for example. It's worth looking at their website. They are coffee table books but there's a fair amount to text too.
If you are interested from a historical perspective, Charles Graves "Royal Riviera" is excellent now out of print, but fairly easy to pick up.
I have a particular interest in reading about the social history of the South of France/Monaco & can also recommend"Cote D'Azur (Inventing the French Riviera)" by Mary Blume & " When the Rviera Was Ours" by Patrick Howarth
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  #40  
Old 11-17-2008, 02:16 AM
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I stumbled up Stephen Birmingham's America's Secret Aristocracy in Half Price Books, bought it and loved it. I reread it alot! I also have High Society: The History of America's Upper Class and Royal Holidays on my Christmas wish list. They're both by Assouline.
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