Book Reviews: The Exchange Of Princesses, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived, & Aftermath

Hello everyone,

here's what I've been reading lately:

The Exchange of Princesses by Chantal Thomas
So, you have a story to tell. But you're undecided. Should you write a novel or a non-fiction work about it? Chantal Thomas solved the problem by writing both. In the same book. Half-novel, half-essay, The Exchange Of Princesses is as interesting as it is challenging to read.
It tells the story of a real exchange of princesses. Mariana Victoria, infanta of Spain, left her country to marry Louis XV. At the same time, Louise Élisabeth d’Orléans, daughter of Philippe d'Orleans, regent of France, left her home for Spain, to marry the heir to the Spanish throne. But both marriages, which promised to exalt Philippe's prestige and power, ended in tragedy.
The four spouses were all pretty young, and unable to decide of their own destinies. It must have been terrifying for such young girls (Mariana Victoria was just a child and Louise Elisabeth barely a teenager), to leave their countries behind and start again in a foreign place, among total strangers. Their pain, confusion, and isolation oozes from the pages and makes you feel for them. Unfortunately, it is hidden under a plethora of historical facts that would make for a very interesting read in a biography. In a novel, they just the story down and make it harder to follow it. The convoluted writing style doesn't help either.
I wish Thomas had written either a novel or a double biography. She definitely has the skill to do either. Instead, she penned this distant and disjointed hybrid that makes it impossible to read more than one chapter at a time. I only recommend it to readers who are really eager to know more about these women and their sad marriages.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 3/5

The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger by Greg Steinmetz
If you've ever been to Germany, you've probably heard the name of Jacob Fugger so many times you've lost count of them. But outside the country, he is unknown. And yet, he was one of the most influential and richest man who ever lived. A Renaissance banker, he pursued wealth for its own sake (a radical idea at the time), revolutionised the art of making money (our modern financial system owns him a lot), created the first news service, and was at the centre of a powerful network that numbered emperors and Popes among its members. Fugger lent to them generously, but always when he was in his interest. He wasn't afraid to refuse them something or ask them to repay their debts. This nerve was only one of his secrets. The other was his ability to spot opportunities and pioneer new technologies where others only saw risks. But all this came at a cost. He was despised by many, possibly even his own wife.
Steinmetz does a great job at telling Fugger's own story and put it back in the context of his time. It is a story full of plots and intrigues, wars and battles, losses and triumphs, extreme wealth and extreme poverty. It is also partly our own story. You could say that he helped trigger the Reformation, get the Catholic Church to revise its position on money lending and usury, and create our modern financial system. His story provides an important piece of the puzzle on how we got here. I highly recommend you give it a read.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 4/5

Aftermath - The Makers of the Post-War World by Richard M Crowder
A lot has been written about World War II. But very little is known of what happened just afterwards. A bunch of men got together to rebuild the world and launch a new era of globalisation. Some of them are well-known figures, like Churchill and Truman. Others are diplomats and agents whose name most of us have long forgotten, if ever we have known them. This book tells their story. The story of their diplomatic conflicts and clashes. The story of how they created the NATO, United Nations, the IMF, and Marshall Plan. Little stories and anecdotes about how these men worked, lived, and played.
Although a little dry in places, the book is both fascinating and informative, and provides a good introduction to an era that, although largely neglected today, has helped shaped our world. If you'd like to know more about it, pick up a copy.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 3.5/5

What do you think of these books?

Disclaimer: these books were sent by PR for consideration. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

Fashions For 1816

I'm really digging the fashions for 1816. Those horrible, super wide and huge sleeves that dominated the first half of the 19th century hadn't made their appearance yet. And the dresses are pink! I'm a sucker for pink clothes. My wardrobe contains so many of them, so I think I would have fit right in. What about you?


SAXE-COBURG ROBE FOR EVENING DRESS

The robe of pink, worn over a white satin slip flounced with crape, finished by blond. Bridal veil, fastened with a brooch of pearl and pink topazes, with the hair simply dressed in light curls and parted on the forehead. A muff formed of white satin and gossamer silk trimming. Necklace and armlets of pearls and pink topazes. White satin slippers and white kid gloves.


OPERA DRESS

Slip of pink satin, ornamented down the front and border wilh black velvet in bias, under a robe of black satin richly flowered with black velvet down the sides; full sleeves of black satin ornamented with pink, over a chemisette sleeve of white sarsnet. Hat of fancy spotted straw, lined with pink satin, with a superb wreath of full blown roses. Shoes of white satin; and white kid gloves.

Which one would you have worn?

Further reading:
Belle Assemblée, April 1816

Alexandre Colonna Walewski, Napoleon's Illegitimate Son


On 4 May 1810, the beautiful Countess Marie Walewska gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, Alexandre Florian Joseph Colonna Walewski. Although her husband acknowledged him as his, the baby bore a startling resemblance to Napoleon Bonaparte. And, upon hearing the news of his birth, the Emperor of the French was ecstatic. As soon as it was possible, he rushed to him and embraced him, promising the little fella, "I will make thee a count."

Napoleon desperately needed an heir. Alexandre couldn't obviously be him, but he made the Emperor realise he was more than capable of begetting sons. Eventually, with a heavy heart, he divorced Josephine to marry the young Austrian archduchess Marie Louise.

It was around this time, that Alexander and her mother Marie moved to Paris, in a house Napoleon had provided for them. But, now he was about to remarry again, Napoleon had no intention of resuming his affair with the beautiful Marie. He just wanted his son close to him.

Napoleon wouldn't see Alexandre grow up. Napoleon's luck finally run out and he was exiled on the isle of Elba. Marie, now divorced, brought the child there to see him. Father and son played hide-and-seek. They would see each other for the last time in June 1815 before Napoleon left for St.Helena, never to return to Europe again. Two years later, Alexandre lost his mother too. Shortly after marrying her lover, the Count d'Ornano, Marie died. Luckily, Alexandre's uncle ensured he received a good education.

When Alexandre was 14, he rebelled and refused to join the Imperial Russian army (Poland was then under Russian control). Instead, he fled first to London and then to Paris. In 1830, when Louis-Philippe ascended to the French throne, he sent Alexandre to Poland. Here, he got involved with the leaders of 1830-31 Polish uprisings, who sent him to London as their envoy.


His good-looks and agreeable personality made him a huge success there. He even found a wife. On 1 December 1831, Alexandre married Lady Catherine Montagu, the daughter of the 6th Earl of Sandwich. The couple had two children together, Louise-Marie and Georges-Edouard. Tragically, they both died young. By then Alexandre was a widower too, Catherine having died shortly after giving birth to her son.

Alexandre returned to France, where he became a naturalised French citizen and joined the army. His father would have been proud. He had always wished for his son to become a French soldier. As a captain in the French Foreign legion, he fought in Algeria. In 1837 he dropped out of the military to pursue a career in journalism and playwrighting. One of his comedies, l'Ecole du monde, was produced at the Theâtre Français in 1840. He was also said to have collaborated with the elder Dumas on Mademoiselle de Belle-Isle.

Alexandre had no intention of remaining single for long. He had an affair with the French actress Elisabeth Rachel Félix, who gave him a son, Alexandre-Antoine. But this relationship had no future. Unlike that with Maria Anna di Ricci, daughter of an Italian count. Alexander married her on 4 June 1846. They had four children, Isabel (who died young), Charles, Elise and Eugénie.

Despite his other pursuits, Alexander had never fully abandoned his job as a diplomat. When his cousin Louis Napoleon took the throne, Alexander served as a diplomat in Italy and London, where he announced the coup d'état to the prime minister, Lord Palmerston. He also organised Napoleon III's visit to London and Queen Victoria's return visit to France.

In 1855, Alexandre was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. He favoured an entente with Russia and opposed the Emperor's policy in Italy, which led to war with Austria. In 1860, he left the Foreign Ministry and became Minister of State. He later served as a senator and president of the Corps Législatif. In 1866, he was created a Duke of the Empire. He was also made a knight of Malta and elected a member of the Académie des beaux-arts.

Alexandre died of a stroke or heart attack at Strasbourg on September 27, 1868. He was 58 years old. He is buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Marie Antoinette & The Comte d'Haga


The Queen, who was much prejudiced against the King of Sweden*, received him very coldly. All that was said of the private character of that sovereign, his connection with the Comte de Vergennes, from the time of the Revolution of Sweden, in 1772, the character of his favourite Armfeldt, and the prejudices of the monarch himself against the Swedes who were well received at the Court of Versailles, formed the grounds of this dislike.

He came one day uninvited and unexpected, and requested to dine with the Queen. The Queen received him in the little closet, and desired me to send for her clerk of the kitchen, that she might be informed whether there was a proper dinner to set before Comte d'Haga, and add to it if necessary. The King of Sweden assured her that there would be enough for him; and I could not help smiling when I thought of the length of the menu of the dinner of the King and Queen, not half of which would have made its appearance had they dined in private.

The Queen looked significantly at me, and I withdrew. In the evening she asked me why I had seemed so astonished when she ordered me to add to her dinner, saying that I ought instantly to have seen that she was giving the King of Sweden a lesson for his presumption. I owned to her that the scene had appeared to me so much in the bourgeois style, that I involuntarily thought of the cutlets on the gridiron, and the omelette, which in families in humble circumstances serve to piece out short commons. She was highly diverted with my answer, and repeated it to the King, who also laughed heartily at it.

Note:
*King Gustavus III of Sweden visited Versailles in incognito under the name Comte d'Haga.

Further reading:
Memoirs Of The Court Of Marie Antoinette, Queen Of France by Madame Campan

The Curse Of Excalibur


Synopsis:
Completely abandoned by everyone she trusted and sold into marriage with the vile Uriens to please her brother, King Arthur, Morgan sits alone in Rheged Castle.
A burning desire for revenge on everyone grows inside her.
Most of all, however, she hates Arthur. So when he unwittingly asks her to look after his sword Excalibur, she senses an opportunity.
But Morgan will have to overcome the trickery of Merlin, and summon all of her otherworldly powers to return to Camelot and vanquish her enemies.


If you're as intrigued by Morgan Le Fay as much as I am, then you too must read The Morgan Trilogy by Lavinia Collins. In the first book, The Witches Of Avalon, Morgan took her first tentative steps towards black magic to protect her loved ones, only to be abandoned by everyone.

Pain and loss made her bitter, and eager for revenge, especially against Arthur, the man who sold her to her cruel husband Uriens. In The Curse Of Excalibur, the second book of the trilogy, Morgan has the opportunity to make those who hurt her pay. But it means embarking on a road from which she'll never be able to turn back.

Revenge isn't her only obsession. Her relationship with Kay, Arthur's foster brother, now completely over, Morgan becomes infatuated with Lancelot. But he's in love with Queen Guinevere, and pays her no attention. That's not enough to deter Morgan. Her past experiences have changed her, and she's now willing to reach her goals with any means necessary...

The Curse Of Excalibur is a much darker novel than The Witches of Avalon. Black magic, intrigues, plots, mysteries, and dangerous affairs make for a very gripping read. The story absorbs you from the first page, bringing you into its world. You forget Camelot is just a legend. It seems so real.

The characters are well-developed and rounded. Although Morgan is becoming increasingly harder to like, I enjoy learning her story from her own words. Who else could better make us understand how an innocent young girl can become so vindictive and dangerous?

Although I know (and you probably do too if you are familiar with the Arthurian legends), how the story ends, I can't wait for the last instalment of The Morgan Trilogy. I know it won't disappoint.

Summary:
In The Curse Of Excalibur, Morgan Le Fay tells her own, dark story. A story full of plots, intrigues, and dangerous affairs. Vividly written, it'll grip you from page one.

Available at: Amazon

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: this book was sent by PR for consideration. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

A Game Of Tennis

The Tennis Match by Horace Henry Cauty

A Game Of Tennis by John Strickland Goodall

A Game Of Tennis by John Strickland Goodall


Tennis by John Lavery

A Game Of Tennis by Leopold Franz Kowalski

A Game Of Tennis by Francis Sydney Muschamp

A Game Of Tennis by George Goodwin Kilburne

A Game Of Tennis by John Lavery

Lady Anne Blount, Saviour Of The True Thoroughbred Arabian


Lady Anne Blunt had two passions in life: horses and travelling. Together with her husband, the poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, she travelled extensively though the Middle East, buying Arabian horses from Bedouin tribesmen and the Egyptian Ali Pasha Sherif. To this day, most purebred Arabian horses trace their lineage to one of the horses the couple bought.

Born in 1837, Anne was the daughter of William King, first Earl of Lovelace, and his wife Ada, daughter of the poet Lord Byron and the first computer programmer. When Ada died, William started travelling the world, taking his 15 year old daughter with him. During these trips, Anne learnt several languages (she became fluent in German, French, Italian, Arabic, and Spanish) and passed the time sketching the scenery and landscapes she saw. She was a skilled artist. Her drawing teacher was none other than John Ruskin.


We Are NOT Engaged!



When Queen Victoria met Prince Albert, she fell hard for him, and was eager to become his wife. But before their meeting, she was not so enthusiastic about the prospect of marrying him, or anyone else for that matter, as she revealed in this letter to her uncle Leopold I, King Of The Belgians:


Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice from Yesteryear


Historian and bibliophile Elizabeth P. Archibald loves perusing old textbooks, pamphlets, and etiquette books. They can be as funny as they are informative. Some of the advice is still incredibly relevant today, but other tips are so ridiculous and far-fetched they have you laughing out loud. Archibald has been sharing the most amusing ones in her blog, Ask The Past, which has now become a book.

Ask The Past has tips on how to get rid of bed bugs (sprinkle bed with gunpowder and let smoulder), how to avoid pregnancy (tie some weasel testicals or goat innards around your neck), how to tell if someone is dead (apply lightly roasted onion to his nostrils), and lots more. Each piece of advice is accompanied by Archibald's snarky commentary, which is often funnier and doubles the entertainment.


Did William Cecil Murder Amy Robsart?



In 1560, Amy Robsart, Robert Dudley's wife, was conveniently found dead at the foot of the stairs at Cunmor Palace, near Oxford. Her husband, now free to marry Queen Elizabeth I, has always been considered the prime suspect by those who don't believe the suicide or accident theories. After all, the culprit is always the one with the most to gain, right? And what's more coveted than a crown?

The problem with this theory is that Amy's death put an end to all talk of marriage between Dudley and the Queen. Elizabeth I certainly couldn't risk marring a man suspected of killing his first wife. Robert must have known this, so it would have been a very risky gamble on his part, especially if his wife really was as ill as some sources claim. Waiting for her to die would have been a safer bet. It's not like Elizabeth was in any rush to marry anyone else.

This is probably why this theory is now beginning to lose popularity. But a new one, which is by no means less popular, is emerging: the culprit is William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth I's Secretary of State. Alison Weir, in her biography of Queen Elizabeth I, wrote:

Dorothea Erxleben, The First Female Doctor In Germany


Born in Quedlinburg in 1715, Dorothea Christiane Erxleben née Leporin was the first female doctor in Germany. It's an achievement that wouldn't have been possible without the support of her dad. Unlike most men of his time, Christian Leporin, a doctor himself, disagreed with the custom of letting women languish at home. If they showed any inclination for it, they should be allowed to study and work, the doctor thought.

So, when his daughter Dorothea showed a vivacious intelligence and love for medicine at an early age, Christian taught her the basics. She later was sent, with her brother Tobias, to study medicine privately. But a university degree was needed to complete both their educations in the field. Tobias applied, and was accepted, at the University of Halle without problems. But that door was shut to Dorothea. Women just didn't go to university.


A Wedding Anniversary Guide


The custom of celebrating anniversary weddings has, of late years, been largely practiced, and they have become a very pleasant means of social reunion among the relatives and friends of both husband and wife. Often this is the only reason for celebrating them, and the occasion is sometimes taken advantage of to give a large party, of a more informal nature than could be given under other circumstances. [...]

Upon these occasions the married couple sometimes appear in the costumes worn by them on their wedding day, which they have preserved with punctilious care, and when many years have intervened the quaintness and oddity of the style of dress from the prevailing style is a matter of interest, and the occasion of pleasant comments. The couple receive their guests together, who upon entering the drawing-room, where they are receiving, extend to them their congratulations and wishes for continued prosperity and happiness.

The various anniversaries are designated by special names, indicative of the presents suitable on each occasion, should guests deem it advisable to send presents. It may be here stated that it is entirely optional with parties invited as to whether any presents are sent or taken. At the earlier anniversaries, much pleasantry and amusement is occasioned by presenting unique and fantastic articles, gotten up for the occasion. When this is contemplated, care should be taken that they should not be such as are liable to give offense to a person of sensitive nature.

THE PAPER, COTTON AND LEATHER WEDDING

The first anniversary of the wedding-day is called the Paper Wedding, the second the Cotton Wedding, and the third the Leather Wedding. The invitations to the first should be issued on a grey paper, representing thin cardboard. Presents, if given should be solely articles made of paper.

The invitations for the cotton wedding should be neatly printed on fine white cloth, and presents should be of articles of cotton cloth.

For the leather wedding invitations should be issued upon leather, tastily gotten up, and presents, of course, should be articles made of leather.

THE WOODEN WEDDING

The wooden wedding is the fifth anniversary of the marriage. The invitations should be upon thin cards of wood, or they may be written on a sheet of wedding note paper, and a card of wood enclosed in the envelope. The presents suitable to this occasion are most numerous, and may range from a wooden paper knife or trifling article for kitchen use up to a complete set of parlor or kitchen furniture.

THE TIN WEDDING

The tenth anniversary of the marriage is called the tin wedding. The invitations for this anniversary may be made upon cards covered with a tin card inclosed. The guests, if they desire to accompany their congratulations with appropriate presents, have the whole list of articles manufactured by the tinner's art from which to select.

THE CRYSTAL WEDDING

The crystal wedding is the fifteenth anniversary. Invitations may be on thin, transparent paper, or colored sheets of prepared gelatine, or on ordinary wedding note-paper, enclosing a sheet of mica. The guests make their offerings to their host and hostess of trifles of glass, which may be more or less valuable, as the donor feels inclined.

THE CHINA WEDDING

The china wedding occurs on the twentieth anniversary of the wedding-day. Invitations should be issued on exceedingly fine, semi-transparent note-paper or cards. Various articles for the dining or tea-table or for the toilet-stand, vases or mantel ornaments, all are appropriate on this occasion.

THE SILVER WEDDING

The silver wedding occurs on the twenty-fifth marriage anniversary. The invitations issued for this wedding should be upon the finest note-paper, printed in bright silver, with monogram or crest upon both paper and envelope, in silver also. If presents are offered by any of the guests, they should be of silver, and may be the merest trifles, or more expensive, as the means and inclinations of the donors incline.

THE GOLDEN WEDDING

The close of the fiftieth year of married life brings round the appropriate time for the golden wedding. Fifty years of married happiness may indeed be crowned with gold. The invitations for this anniversary celebration should be printed on the finest note-paper in gold, with crest or monogram on both paper and envelopes in highly-burnished gold. The presents, if any are offered, are also in gold.

THE DIAMOND WEDDING

Rarely, indeed, is a diamond wedding celebrated. This should be held on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the marriage-day. So seldom are these occurrences that custom has sanctioned no particular style or form to be observed in the invitations. They might be issued upon diamond-shaped cards, enclosed in envelopes of a corresponding shape. There can be no general offering of presents at such a wedding, since diamonds in any number are beyond the means of most persons.

PRESENTS AT ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS

It is not, as before stated, required that an invitation to an anniversary wedding be acknowledged by a valuable gift, or indeed by any. The donors on such occasions are usually only members of the family or intimate friends, and may act at their own discretion in the matter of giving presents.

On the occasion of golden or silver weddings, it is not amiss to have printed at the bottom of the invitation the words "No presents," or to enclose a card announcing—

"It is preferred that no wedding gifts be offered."

INVITATIONS TO ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS

The invitations to anniversary weddings may vary something in their wording, according to the fancy of the writer, but they are all similar. They should give the date of the marriage and the anniversary. They may or may not give the name of the husband at the right-hand side and the maiden name of the wife at the left. What the anniversary is should also be indicated.

The following form will serve as a model:


A proper variation will make this form equally suitable for any of the other anniversary weddings.

MARRIAGE CEREMONY AT ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS

It is not unusual to have the marriage ceremony repeated at these anniversary weddings, especially at the silver or golden wedding. The earliest anniversaries are almost too trivial occasions upon which to introduce this ceremony. The clergyman who officiates may so change the exact words of the marriage ceremony as to render them appropriate to the occasion.

Further reading:
Our Deportment, by John H. Young

My Lady Viper By E. Knight


Synopsis:
When Anne Boleyn falls to the executioner’s ax on a cold spring morning in 1536, Anne Seymour knows her family faces peril. As alliances shift and conspiracies multiply, the Seymours plot to establish their place in the treacherous court of King Henry VIII, where a courtier’s fate is decided by the whims of a hot-tempered and fickle monarch.

Lady Anne’s own sister-in-law, Jane Seymour, soon takes Anne Boleyn’s place as queen. But if Jane cannot give King Henry a son, history portends that she, too, will be executed or set aside—and her family with her. In desperation, Lady Anne throws herself into the intoxicating intrigue of the Tudor court, determined to ensure the success of the new queen’s marriage and the elevation of the Seymour family to a more powerful position. Soon her machinations earn her a reputation as a viper in a den of rabbits. In a game of betrayal and favor, will her family’s rise be worth the loss of her soul?


I don't know about you, but I hope the first person trend in historical fiction will disappear soon. It's been over done. And I'm really tired of it. It's too restricting. I'm an omniscient reader. I want to know everything that's going on in the world a writer has created for me, what every character does, thinks, and feels. The first person narrator can tell me only what she experiences and what she thinks other believe and feel. It's hard for me to get into that.

I know that first person narration is supposed to let readers better identify and empathise with the protagonist. But that only works when the protagonist is strong, well-rounded, and intriguing. Anne Stanhope Seymour, sister-in-law of Queen Jane Seymour and aunt-by-marriage of her son Edward, is simply not an interesting enough character to keep the reader glued to listen to her story.

I hoped it wold be different. I love reading historical fiction novels told by characters that are usually relegated to the sidelines. They often offer a different perspective on well-known historical events. Anne, as wife of Edward Seymour and a relative by marriage of the Tudors, was at the heart of the court and its intrigues. Her family faced all sorts of perils.

She's supposed to throw herself deep into these intrigues, but in truth, she doesn't do much, apart from pointing pretty women in the King's direction, hoping he'll either bed or marry them. The rest of the time she's busy seeking revenge on the people who badly abused her (we are told she plays a part in their downfall but how exactly is never revealed - so much for intrigue) and pining over her loves for her husband and her lover. Problem is, she never falls hard for either of them, so even the romance aspect of the novel is pretty lukewarm.

In the end, even though Anne Stanhope Seymour is the protagonist of the novel, to the reader she still feels more like a bystander. That's why I would have much preferred the third person narration. There is so much going on in this story but, because Anne tells it, we only get a glimpse of it. And it's probably not even the most interesting glimpse either.

Having said that, the writing is beautiful. It's what kept me coming back to this book. Knight has a wonderful way with words. The world she conjures up is so vivid. She just needs to let her heroines take a more active role in their own stories.

I know that would result in historical inaccuracies. Tudor women were usually pawns with no will of her own. At least they were not allowed to express any will of their own. But My Lady Viper, like all historical novels, already has its fair share of inaccuracies. Might as well have added one or two more to make the story more engaging.

Summary:
Beautifully written, My Lady Viper suffers from the use of the first person narration. The protagonist, Lady Stanhope Seymour, is just not interesting enough to pull it off.

Available at: Amazon.com and Amazon UK

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclaimer: this book was sent by PR for consideration. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

The Geffrye, Museum Of The Home


So, what does a history nerd do when she moves to London? Goes museum hunting, of course. And, here, museums abound. But they aren't all famous like the British Museum or National Portrait Gallery. Some are smaller, tucked away in some busy, little known corner of this metropolis.

Such is the case with one of my new favourite museums, the Geffrye. An oasis of peace in the hectic heart of Hoxton, the Geffrye Museum is a museum of the home. Its mission is to show its visitors how much homes have changed in the past 400 years.


The Short Life Of Anne Leighton


In late 1591, Elizabeth Knollys, a descendant of the Boleyns, and her husband, professional soldier Sir Thomas Leighton, welcomed a daughter into the world and their family. They named her Anne, and gave her an education befitting her status. The girl was taught sewing, housekeeping, and all the skills needed to manage a Tudor household. She also shared a tutor with her brother. William Bradshaw was a Puritan preacher, with uncompromising beliefs that courted controversy.

Her childhood was spent between Hanbury, in Worcestershire, where the Leightons had their family seat, and Guernsey, where her father acted as Governor. But one day, she would have to leave both, and move to her husband's place. Her father arranged her a match with John St Jones, the younger brother to the heir to the St Jones' fortune. When both his parents died, he was made a ward of Sir Thomas by Queen Elizabeth I.


A Negligent Duchess


When, in April 1776, English author Fanny Burney met Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, at the park, she wasn't too impressed. Here's what she wrote to Samuel Crisp:

Mr. Burney, Hetty and I took a walk in the Park on Sunday morning, where, among others, we saw the young and handsome Duchess of Devonshire, walking in such an undressed and slaternly manner as in former times Mrs. Rishton might have done in Chesington Garden. Two of her curls came quite unpinned, and fell lank on one of her shoulders; one shoe was down at heel, the trimming of her jacket and coat was in some places unsown; her cap was awry; and her cloak, which was rusty and powdered, was flung half on and half off.

Had she not had a servant in a superb livery behind her, she would certainly have been affronted. Every creature turned back to stare at her. Indeed I think her very handsome, and she has a look of innocence and artlessness that made me quite sorry she should be so foolishly negligent of her person. She had hold of the Duke's arm, who is the very reverse of herself, for he is ugly, tidy, and grave.

Omai*, who was in the Park, called here this morning, and says that he went to her Grace, and asked her why she let her hair go in that manner! Ha, ha, ha ! Don't you laugh at her having a lesson of attention from an Otaheitan?


Note:
*A young Ra'iatean man who became the second Pacific Islander to visit Europe.

Further reading:
Journals and Letter by Frances Burney