The Quest for Queen Mary
When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary's official biography, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. Now published in full for the first time and edited by the highly admired royal biographe...more
Hugo Vickers has brought to life James Pope-Hennesey's (JPH) notes and records he made for his book on Queen Mary.
These notes and records of the conversations he held with European royalty, courtiers and a spattering of others are a window into a world now past.
With the Her Majesty The Queen's (Elizabeth) approval doors are opened and JPH is given free reign to meet, talk and often dine, smoke, drin ...more
James Pope-Hennessy was commissioned to write the official biography of Queen Mary after her death in 1953 and interviewed dozens of European royalty and courtiers to gather their impressions of the Queen and her family. He took extensive notes about his interviewees and their insights and left instructions that they were not to be published for another 50 years as many comments were provided off the record. Hugo Vickers, author of biographies ...more
Not as daring as _ Ma'am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret_ but still has its moments. I will look for Pope-Hennessy's official biography of Queen Mary , for which these interviews were undertaken, now.
The interviews were under a 50 year embargo, but other than mentioning the homosexual members of the exte ...more
Some interviews were more interesting than others, but that is only logic given the amount of people he approached on QM's life, and it is also really fun when J P-H shared my views on the person he was interviewing. Some of them were really tiresome and a bore, and yet, one can feel that this was the «Indian Summer» of deference to the British Royals, most of them "please, don't quote me...". Overall, he managed to pull that book from the ashes and wrote something that is still a treasure to ...more
Utter entertainment as P-H prowls ar ...more
This is rather a compilation of his notes on his visits and interviews with people who knew her. Much time is spend on who this is and why he needs to go see them and how easy or difficult it was to speak to them and who was the gatekeeper blocking his path... and then we ...more
This is a compilation of back-up notes, anecdotes from his journey in writing QM’s biography. It’s very interesting in places but only because of my having read the main act first.
Some great little stories, such as how the Duke of Gloucester tried to “help” a lady c ...more
"The Quest for Queen Mary" was with the exception of the descriptions of HM Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Windsor, a total bore. Almost every page was NO ...more
The book is essentially a series of interviews conducted in the 1950's by James Pope-Hennessy, official biographer of Queen Mary. It has been edited to make it more accessible to the average reader, with introductory notes to each interview about who the person was and what his or her relation to t ...more
As such, it is a collection of reminiscences rather than a chronological account of her life and it is interesting to see the different attitudes to the queen. There does seem to be a consensus that she was generally a rather cold woman, imbued with a very strong sense of duty and responsibility, as well ...more
Loved the story of QM’s war against ivy, tho I would have been furious had it been my house and grounds that the Dowager Queen re-arranged and re-organized.
But then, I was born a citizen, not a subject. Perhaps I don’t quite “get” the notion of unforgivable social conduct being “charming”, and being transmuted into great fodder for a dinner party story, ...more
The book is diffic ...more
Largely owing to his mother's influence, he decided to become a writer and left Oxford in 1937 without taking a degree. He went to work for the Catholic publishers Sheed & Ward as an editorial assistant. While working at the company's offices, in Paternoster Row in London, he worked on his first book, London Fabric (1939), for ...more