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  #21  
Old 01-09-2019, 07:53 PM
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I finished the book. That being said, it is the kind of book you can open to any random page and enjoy it. As it's a collection of interviews, there is no plot or thread that one has to follow.

The most surprising thing about this book is that Mr. Pope-Hennessey was given access to the current Queen's bedroom at Sandringham. Granted it was in the 1950's and it was not written about in the original book, but, in this book, it is described in detail and the description is very uncomplimentary. He described it as being more impersonal than a hotel room. It's my thinking that perhaps items of a personal nature were removed from the room by household staff before Mr. H-P toured the house.

On the whole I enjoyed this book very much. Mr. P-H had very keen powers of observation and his descriptions about the various royals and personalities he meets with are wonderful.


While the excerpt in the DM shows Pope-Hennessey to be knocking the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the two chapters about them provide a much fuller picture in which he thoroughly enjoys their company and attentive hospitality. As with most of the people the author spoke with, Mr. H-P tends to record his first impressions of them, warts and all, and then more warts, then, as he gets to know them and draw them out, they are revealed as very entertaining, considerate and warm-hearted. This is most true of the time spent with The D and D of Windsor.


The author's weekend spent with the Gloucesters and Princess Alice Countess of Athlone is very illuminating. You get a real sense of Prince Henry and his personality. Totally unpretentious. He comes across as most engaging.
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  #22  
Old 01-10-2019, 06:15 PM
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I'm about half way through the book & enjoying it tremendously. It's tricky keeping up with the lesser known interviewees & who is related to which great aunt etc but google is helping with that.

Pope-Hennessy's ability to recall & record the details of decor, clothing & conversation is astounding & his wit is hugely entertaining. 10/10 so far.
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  #23  
Old 08-16-2020, 12:04 AM
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I just reread this book. I read a funny anecdote that I had forgotten about.

Apparently King George V was sitting down, reading one day. His youngest, Prince John was in the room, not really near The King. Queen Mary came in, walked over to the King and kissed the top of his head.

Prince John said aloud, "She kissed him! That ugly old man!"

QM and The King couldn't stop laughing.

I love this story!
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  #24  
Old 08-16-2020, 12:17 AM
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I just read this book and I LOVE IT!! I absolutely love JPH's descriptions of the people he interviewed. There were several laugh out loud moments.
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  #25  
Old 08-16-2020, 01:40 AM
Aristocracy
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leopoldine View Post
I just reread this book. I read a funny anecdote that I had forgotten about.

Apparently King George V was sitting down, reading one day. His youngest, Prince John was in the room, not really near The King. Queen Mary came in, walked over to the King and kissed the top of his head.

Prince John said aloud, "She kissed him! That ugly old man!"

QM and The King couldn't stop laughing.

I love this story!
Yes, there are a few amusing anecdotes regarding John and his parents and what is really nice is that for all George's harshness with his sons in particular and Mary's somewhat detached mothering style, both of them were surprisingly fond of and indulgent with their youngest special needs child and he was allowed to get away with a great deal.
There's a story I barely remember from someone who was one day having afternoon tea with George V. The tea arrived and John was due to join them and George said "watch when John comes in, he'll make straight for that chocolate cake". Apparently he did and was allowed to eat as much as he wanted.
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  #26  
Old 08-16-2020, 01:45 AM
Aristocracy
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by Lilyflo View Post
I'm about half way through the book & enjoying it tremendously. It's tricky keeping up with the lesser known interviewees & who is related to which great aunt etc but google is helping with that.

Pope-Hennessy's ability to recall & record the details of decor, clothing & conversation is astounding & his wit is hugely entertaining. 10/10 so far.
His wit IS hugely entertaining I agree, there is also something of a nasty streak to it as well, but that's just my opinion. He was a marvellous biographer, I take nothing from him.
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  #27  
Old 08-16-2020, 02:37 AM
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I definitely would be reading the "The Quest for Queen Mary" book out from my local library, after finish reading another historical non-fiction book!! I really like Hugo Vickers' spoken contributions in several documentaries, which are balanced and well-expressed.
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  #28  
Old 12-07-2020, 06:09 AM
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After reading The Quest for Queen Mary edited by Hugo Vickers, I really enjoyed the book, especially on how James Pope-Hennessy described the setting, atmosphere, characteristics and personalities of each interviews. The way Pope-Hennessy conducted his interview, just from reading the questions he asked and how he interacted with multiple interviewees was brilliant. I particularly like The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (& Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone) chapter, because of the anecdote and light-hearted humour. The Duke of Gloucester is quite a character, which changed my previous assumption of him.

I also like Hugo Vickers' footnotes at the bottom part of the page, especially on introducing people that were unfamiliar or I have known little of.

I would like to thank the Royal Forum for introducing this book.
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