The Coronations of 1902 and 1911


Jan 28, 2003
2,525
5
223
They may have looked chic, but to their servants - my grandparents - they were just little Duff and Diana, and were called as such behind closed doors. And the aristos were quite a nuisance really, in social terms, and had to be politically castigated in public by their servants, if society was to progress in the early - mid 20th century. Not that it did much good, probably, in terms of immediate progress.

And Lady Diana is, of course, Mrs. Julia Stitch in the Evelyn Waugh WW2 trilogy. It's a great series of books, and it certainly illuminates Duff Gordon's position as Minister of Information in the real War, among many other situations. They (we) all did their bit 1939 - 1945, but I don't think modern people are quite as brave ... and I include myself.
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
111
'Martin may have already mentioned this, but I also read that she was the first Consort Queen to attend the Coronation of the successor to her husband, as she wished to devote her support to George VI.'

Actually, I did NOT know that - you live and learn! If asked, I would have said that Alexandra attended the coronation of George and Mary in 1911 as a matter of course. The late Queen Mother was certainly present at the coronation of her daughter in 1953.

Believe it or not, I'd agree with you that Mary is NOT the most 'exciting' figure in royal history. Despite her glacial and stately facade, she lacks (for me) the glamour and appeal of lesser-known characters like the beautiful and fascinating Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne and subsequently Duchess of Argyll, and the late Duke of Kent - with his drug addictions, sexual proclivities and all. Yet I suppose this is precisely what makes Mary so fascinating - what was REALLY going on behind that immaculate exterior?

You mention Mary's 'particularly ostentatious jewellery'. It was no more flashy than that of any other queen or empress of that era (have you seen photographs of Alexandra dressed for her own coronation? Or for the Devonshire House ball of 1897?) and several friends in the jewellery business have agreed with me that Mary wore her rocks with far more style and taste than her mother-in-law. It has been suggested that she was so captivated by the trappings of wealth and status because she herself came from a relatively impecunious branch of the royal family.

Nor did Mary lack humour and a curiosity about the lives of the British people. She loved the musicals 'Oklahoma' and 'Annie, Get Your Gun'. She would sometimes drive out from Marlborough House to sit in the gallery of the local youth court, listening to the testimonies of juvenile offenders. After a particularly bravura performance from one urchin, she drily remarked 'Most interesting - although I have never heard so many lies told in all my life'.
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
111
Diana Cooper also makes a cameo appearance as Lady Leone, the displaced British Ambassadress to Paris, in 'Don't Tell Alfred', Nancy Mitford's delightful sequel to her best-selling 'Love in a Cold Climate' and 'The Pursuit of Love'.

Especially for you, Monica, I have a funny story to tell about her.

One cold, damp winter evening in the early 1930s, Lady Diana, shivering under her furs, was waiting at the door of The Dorchester, waiting for her chauffeur to bring the car around. As she tapped her satin-slippered foot impatiently, a homeless man - doubtless a victim of the Depression - approached and begged her for money, saying that he hadn't eaten for three whole days. Drawing herself up to her full height, Diana fixed him with an astonished and disapproving glare. 'Foolish man that you are!' she remonstrated, 'you MUST eat! If necessary, you must FORCE yourself!'

Apocryphal? For you to decide!
 
S

sashka pozzetti

Guest
Well I am only believing what I read about Mary, which as we all know is not always reliable, but it seems to make sense. She had good reason to break with tradition to support her nervous son who as second in line to a healthy brother would not have expected to be such a focus of attention.

The reason I mention the jewelry is not because I have been comparing photos, but because I also read about Mary's extraordinary passion for jewelry. She seems to have been as avid a collector, as her husband was of stamps. She is described as having paid well over the asking price at various auctions, and was apparently noted for her extravagant displays.

Sadly I don't think her attention to such things was worth it as I don't like jewelry, and in static photographs you can never get the impact, but I suppose at the time it must have been very impressive, to those impressed by things that sparkle!!! :)
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
111
On the subject of the death of young Prince John, I wonder if Queen Mary might be allowed to speak for herself? In her diary for 18 January, 1919, she wrote:

'At 5.30, Lalla Bill telephoned from Wood Farm, Wolferton, that our poor darling little Johnnie had passed away...the news gave me a great shock, tho' for the poor little boy's restless soul, death came as a great release...'

A few days later, in a letter to a very old friend, Mary added:

'I cannot say how grateful we feel to God for having taken him in such a peaceful way, he just slipped quietly into his heavenly home, no pain, no struggle, just peace for the poor little, troubled spirit which had been a great anxiety to us for many years, ever since he was four years old - the first break in the family circle is hard to bear but people have been so kind and sympathetic and that has helped us much'.
 
Jan 28, 2003
2,525
5
223
Out of interest, Martin, since Mitford and Waugh only ever put their friends, family and enemies into their novels - who actually were the Montdores and Cedric? And are there any pictures of the real Lady M. before and after the plastic surgery?
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
111
Cedric Montdore was largely based on Margot Asquith's nephew, Stephen Tennant, the quintessential 'Bright Young Thing' of Twenties Society and lover of war-poet Siegfried Sassoon. It was Tennant who basically kick-started the career of his friend and contemporary Cecil Beaton. He came to a rather sad end, hugely fat and surrounded by junk, in his once beautiful house in Wiltshire, Wilsford Manor.

Lord Merlin was the aesthete and composer Lord Berners, who famously dyed the doves at his country house in pastel hues and who had a small spinet fitted in the back of his Rolls Royce.

I have biographies of both Tennant and Berners lined up on my shelves at present...I'll supply more details once I've read them!

The monstrous Lady Montdore was a composite character - I can't point you to any one source of inspiration although I fancy I detect elements of darling Nancy's 'frenemy', Violet Trefusis. I love to imagine the ex-vicereine making her over-night transformation from Queen Mary-style dowdy dowager to Wallis Simpson fashion-plate, direct from the latest number of 'Vogue', under Cedric's dubious auspices!
 
S

sashka pozzetti

Guest
I read that Lady Montdore a composite of Nancy Mitford's mother-in-law, Lady Rennell, and Helen Dashwood who was apparently known as "Hell Bags."
 
S

sashka pozzetti

Guest
Is Freddie Windsor, (the notorious 'party animal' that I have never met, and who was mentioned on this page a number of posts back) the Royal family member who has reason to be a bit embarRassed today? :) or should that be :-o
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,633
446
453
Easley South Carolina
Huh????

I have no idea who "Freddie Windsor" is but if you're talking about that so-called sex tape that somebody tried to blackmail the Royal Family with which was in the news today, I'm afraid all we can do is specualate. They're just not discussing it and the authorities are not giving out names.

(((Shrug))) Can't say as I really care all that much. It's their concern, not mine.
 
S

sashka pozzetti

Guest
A while back on this thread (I think it is the previous page) his name came up as the clubbing/socialite Royal that Martin said no-one would want to be at a party with. I'd never heard of him before then either! Whoever it is, it only reinforces what I think about the idea of a 'Royal' family!!! :)
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,633
446
453
Easley South Carolina
>>Whoever it is, it only reinforces what I think about the idea of a 'Royal' family!!! :)<<

(((Shrug))) That's certainly your right but I don't hold to any such view. Mind you, I don't put any of them on a pedestal as paragons of virtue. As I indicated, they're human and subject to the same desires and passions as the rest of us. However, any judgements I make will be on the character of the individual, and without tying them to any family black sheep as if to say "This guy is what defines all of you."

But that's just me.

As always, your results may vary...
 
S

sashka pozzetti

Guest
You're quite right. It is not the individuals that worry me, if you read back the thread you will see that I feel sorry for the poor souls who get involved in the unchanging tradition of the 'Royal' family. It is as anachronistic as if we all travelled around in luxury liners, without enough life-boats! Anyway it now looks like it is Viscount Linley who also has a problem with cocaine, and male employees. I really don't care what he does as long as it doesn't harm us peasants.!! :)
 
Jan 28, 2003
2,525
5
223
It's taken a long time, Sashka, if you're still here. Looks like you were right about the Royal, not that it matters. Speaking as a peasant, he hasn't harmed me at all. Mind you, his wife doesn't look too pleased.
 

Similar threads