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  #1  
Old 04-02-2018, 10:50 PM
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"The Quest for Queen Mary" by James Pope-Hennessy, ed. Hugo Vickers (2018)

I've just begun reading The Quest for Queen Mary. Edited by Hugo Vickers, this recently published book contains James Pope-Hennessy's notes of the interviews he conducted while researching his authorized biography of the Queen: Queen Mary 1867-1953, published in 1959.

A lot of interesting information including details Pope-Hennessy could not include in the biography (he instructed that his notes not be published for 50 years). For example, Queen Mary told Margaret Wyndham, one of her Women of the Bedchamber, that before her engagement to the Duke of Clarence she had been (mutually) in love with Arthur Alexander Grosvenor, later 5th Viscount Hood, but "of course she could never have married him, nor would she have thought it right" (Margaret Wyndham's words). Quite another side to the Queen's character.

Queen Mary also admitted to Margaret Wyndham that she realized she got the "better brother" when she married the future George V after the Duke of Clarence's death:

"My dear how right you are. I even realised it at the time I got engaged. My father-in-law was always saying to me 'See that Eddie does this, May" or "Make sure Eddie does that, May" so that I got so worried I went to my mother and said "Do you really think I can take this on?" "Of course you can" she replied.

So toss Tom Bower and Andrew Morton aside - this book is definitely a must read for BRF fans.
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:59 PM
Majesty
 
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Very very interesting, Gawin. I made a note to myself to buy this then forgot all about it, so I'll do it now.

I had no idea about Arthur Grosvenor. I suppose her mother, kindly in many ways though she was, would have balked at her marrying someone untitled, and Mary herself had such a strong sense of duty. She knew the Queen had her eye on her as a fiancee for the unsatisfactory Eddy, and therefore that was her destiny.

It's awful to contemplate but Eddy's premature death was such a stroke of luck for May, and of course she realised it.
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Old 04-02-2018, 11:15 PM
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A stroke of luck for the monarchy too!

I mistyped Lord Hood's name: It was Grosvenor Arthur Alexander Hood, later 5th Viscount Hood.

I did a Google search and found a picture of him dressed as Sir Galahad for the Duchess of Devonshire's 1897 ball:

Lieut. Hon. Grosvenor Arthur Alexander Hood, later Lieut. Colonel, 5th Viscount Hood (1863-1933).
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  #4  
Old 04-02-2018, 11:38 PM
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Besides Lord Hood, Margaret Wyndham also told Pope-Hennessy Queen Mary was in love with Lord Hopetoun, later 1st Marquess of Linlithgow.

The Tecks often stayed with the Hopes when QM was a teenager (perhaps a teenage crush? - Lord Hopetoun was seven years her senior). Lord Hopetoun's sister told Pope-Hennessy that "we always thought that if one of the royalties failed, Princessy [QM] might marry my brother."

QM wasn't quite the placid character she's usually made out to be.
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  #5  
Old 04-03-2018, 12:25 AM
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I think May was quite shy and reserved, practical and strong minded. Of course, young women in those days weren't expected to be 'forward' or flirtatious. It wasn't 'done'.

I suppose we don't think of Mary as being pretty when she was young. I think she had nice colouring and complexion. I remember reading a description by a fellow dinner guest of May when she was Duchess of York as being voluptuous, which isn't something usually attributed to her either.

Btw here in Australia (I've just done a quick Google search) The Quest for Queen Mary seems to be virtually unobtainable. Amazon Aus don't have it, nor does Booktopia. Looks like I'll have to trawl overseas, as I did before Amazon set up here. Freight fees are exorbitant though!
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  #6  
Old 04-03-2018, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
I think May was quite shy and reserved, practical and strong minded. Of course, young women in those days weren't expected to be 'forward' or flirtatious. It wasn't 'done'.

I suppose we don't think of Mary as being pretty when she was young. I think she had nice colouring and complexion. I remember reading a description by a fellow dinner guest of May when she was Duchess of York as being voluptuous, which isn't something usually attributed to her either.

Btw here in Australia (I've just done a quick Google search) The Quest for Queen Mary seems to be virtually unobtainable. Amazon Aus don't have it, nor does Booktopia. Looks like I'll have to trawl overseas, as I did before Amazon set up here. Freight fees are exorbitant though!
I'm abit surprised that she "let herself" fall in love with men of relatively unroyal status..
however I suppose she was more emotional than she appeared on the surface.
I think the book's avaialbe on Amazon, Curry... I'm alos going to try my library for it..
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2018, 05:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
I think May was quite shy and reserved, practical and strong minded. Of course, young women in those days weren't expected to be 'forward' or flirtatious. It wasn't 'done'.

I suppose we don't think of Mary as being pretty when she was young. I think she had nice colouring and complexion. I remember reading a description by a fellow dinner guest of May when she was Duchess of York as being voluptuous, which isn't something usually attributed to her either.

Btw here in Australia (I've just done a quick Google search) The Quest for Queen Mary seems to be virtually unobtainable. Amazon Aus don't have it, nor does Booktopia. Looks like I'll have to trawl overseas, as I did before Amazon set up here. Freight fees are exorbitant though!
I definitely see the voluptuousness, even when taking into account that the women were often corseted. I think that May looked particularly va va voom in her wedding pictures.

I don't remember the source, but I recall reading that Mary Adelaide, May's mother was forward and flirtatious when she was young, but the behavior was frowned upon.

One thing that has crossed my mind a few times, was that either Mary was quite gossipy or someone close to her was gossipy. It seems like interesting tidbits where she or someone she confided in was the source have come out, like the story about George VI crying on her shoulder during the abdication crisis.
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  #8  
Old 04-03-2018, 08:57 AM
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Yet another romance for QM. According to Cynthia Colville, another long-time Woman of the Bedchamber:

"Thinks she [QM] was not in love with either Prince Eddie or King George...she was in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg, who reciprocated: they agreed to behave well and stop seeing each other."

Henry of Battenberg of course was married to Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria's youngest daughter. Cynthia Colville doesn't state where her information came from - was it gossip or did she hear it from QM herself?

She did state that QM told her that "in the early days of their marriage she & the Duke of York had terrible rows, but things settled down later."
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:17 AM
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What with being found in the arms of the flirtatious Princess Louise and having a love affair with Princess May, as well as coping with his wife, Henry was a busy boy!

Actually, I think this one is a bit unlikely. I just can't imagine Mary tangling with a married man. For one thing, if it was ever found out bang went any chance of her making a suitable marriage.

The furious rows surprise me though. I thought she was always in thrall to George as a representative of the British Crown. Still, I'm glad things calmed down eventually
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denville View Post
I'm abit surprised that she "let herself" fall in love with men of relatively unroyal status..
however I suppose she was more emotional than she appeared on the surface.
I think the book's avaialbe on Amazon, Curry... I'm alos going to try my library for it..
Amazon lists this as 'currently unavailable' and my local library doesn't have it either. However, I saw it listed on www.hoogstraten.nl, the famous Dutch royalty bookshop for 35 euros! But shipping costs will be added, so I shall wait until summer when I visit Europe again.
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post

The furious rows surprise me though. I thought she was always in thrall to George as a representative of the British Crown. Still, I'm glad things calmed down eventually
Yes, me too! As I stated before it seems she wasn't the placid-all-for-royal-duty person I always thought she was. She was much more complicated and comes across as more human.

At this point I think I should clam up & give others a chance to read the book for themselves.
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by gerry View Post
Amazon lists this as 'currently unavailable' and my local library doesn't have it either. However, I saw it listed on www.hoogstraten.nl, the famous Dutch royalty bookshop for 35 euros! But shipping costs will be added, so I shall wait until summer when I visit Europe again.
I ordered mine from Amazon UK. It's also available from the publisher, Zuleika:

https://www.zuleika.london/product-p...-pope-hennessy
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  #13  
Old 04-03-2018, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curryong View Post

The furious rows surprise me though. I thought she was always in thrall to George as a representative of the British Crown. Still, I'm glad things calmed down eventually
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gawin View Post
Yes, me too! As I stated before it seems she wasn't the placid-all-for-royal-duty person I always thought she was. She was much more complicated and comes across as more human.

At this point I think I should clam up & give others a chance to read the book for themselves.
Me three. It is also interesting because Mary became pregnant and gave birth to their first child before their first anniversary.

I remember reading that she found the shooting parties dull, which whew, being the wife of an avid shooter would have meant that she must've spent many hours bored out of her mind, especially in the early years of her marriage.

A couple of non sequitur thoughts:
One of George's sister's referred to May as dreadfully dull.

After being given permission to speak freely, one of King George's associates told him that he was very boring and that is why his sons preferred to spend their time elsewhere. George's reply was, "I like my wife," which I took to mean that George would rather spend a quiet evening at home with May than gallivanting about.
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Old 04-03-2018, 02:32 PM
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Yes, and they moved into that ugly York Cottage which in addition to being small and as the family grew, rather cramped, George had so thoughtfully furnished for his bride with Maples furniture! Add to that Motherdear popping over from Sandringham on a regular basis and no wonder things got a bit fraught! I wonder whether this book has details on what Mary thought about York Cottage and her relationship with her mother in law.
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Old 04-03-2018, 02:38 PM
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I think they were forced to put up with constant interference from other family members which added to the strain - Queen Victoria, his parents, her mother. Her mother irritated him, his mother & sisters irritated and bored her, his mother selected the furniture for their house, and so on. Mary was also almost constantly pregnant which she disliked and was embarrassed about - married 1893, first child born 1894, second 1895, third 1897.
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:14 PM
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This book is finally back in stock in the US and I am receiving it on Saturday. I can't wait!
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  #17  
Old 01-03-2019, 07:53 PM
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Thank you Gawin and everyone for the info on this book, ABE Books has it and I just ordered mine today......sounds like a very good read!
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:40 PM
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I got the book. Holy mackerel! Even the introduction is packed with interesting information. Don't worry -- no spoilers here! :)
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  #19  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:24 PM
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I bought it a while ago and it's on my Amazon Kindle. It's thoroughly enjoyable, packed with all sorts of little highlights about not just Queen Mary but other royals, including Scandinavian ones. The author adds his impressions of those he meets as well. Thoroughly reccommended!

BTW, because of the success of the 'Quest for Queen Mary' Pope Hennessy's long out of print biography on Queen Mary is being re-issued, in February I think, with a new foreword. I remember reading the bio as a library book years ago and have forgotten most of it, so I'm keeping my eye on that one too.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:31 AM
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James Pope-Hennessy interviewed the Duke of Windsor in France and, while he made a positive remark or two, expressed a few uncomplimentary comments about the Duchess. Some interesting comments were also made about Queen Mary that I will post in her thread.

Quote:
The Weird Windsors - uncensored: Explosive notebooks of an official royal biographer invited into exiled Duke's gilded cage that are confessional, controversial - and so vivid it's as if you're there

  • James Pope-Hennessy interviewed many members of the Royal Family
  • In 1957 he spent time with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor near Paris
  • He said the Duke was actually a lot less small than he had been led to believe
  • Of the Duchess he said that she was a stupid woman with a 'petty brain'
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...iographer.html
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