The Quest for Queen Mary

James Pope-Hennessy

£25.00

 

The Quest for Queen Mary is being republished in partnership with Hodder & Stoughton on the 20th October. All orders will be shipped after this date.

 

Queen Mary, the widow of George V, and grandmother of the Queen, died at Marlborough House on 24 March 1953, a few months before the Coronation. She was eighty-five years old.

 

Unusually for a Queen consort, an official biography was commissioned. The last similar such exercise was the life of the Prince Consort, commissioned by Queen Victoria. The task was entrusted to James Pope-Hennessy.

 

***

“Hidden away for years, the unexpurgated notes of Queen Mary’s biographer could be the funniest book of the year… I have not recently enjoyed a read more. Had Meghan Markle read it in time to learn a bit about the realities of palace life, prudence might have suggested to her that the Hollywood kind is cosier.”

Sir Max Hastings in The Sunday Times  

 

Category:
Description

Queen Mary, the widow of George V, and grandmother of the Queen, died at Marlborough House on 24 March 1953, a few months before the Coronation. She was eighty-five years old.

 

Unusually for a Queen consort, an official biography was commissioned. The last similar such exercise was the life of the Prince Consort, commissioned by Queen Victoria. The task was entrusted to James Pope-Hennessy.

 

Pope-Hennessy embarked on his three year quest for Queen Mary. It was to take him to many royal courts and to the lunch and tea tables of retired courtiers and Ladies-in-Waiting. He had access to a great number of private documents. He was shown royal residences both in England and in Europe. Part of the time he lived at the Gasthaus zu Scharfen Eck, Hagnau, Bodensee, in Germany, where the cost of living was cheaper and he was able to write quietly. As he went along, he kept notes of what he saw.

 

Pope-Hennessy had not intended the notes of his royal interviews to be published for fifty years (i.e. until 2009). He described them as follows: “To supplement the manuscript and printed sources I kept a private and confidential file recording in considerable detail the conversations I had both with Queen Mary’s immediate descendants, related German, Danish and Norwegian royalty and with surviving members of the Court of King George V and Queen Mary. None of these interviews have been published, nor could they be until a lapse of fifty years. They are strictly confidential and form, I believe, a not uninteresting study of royal psycholology as it was and as it largely remains today.”

 

In The Quest for Queen Mary Hugo Vickers introduces the figures that Pope- Hennessy interviewed, and adds footnotes to place certain figures and events in context.

Additional Information
Binding

Hardback

ISBN:

978-1529330625

Trim Size

234 x 156mm

Praise for The Quest for Queen Mary

“Intoxicating, frank, and often hilarious… What this fine book demonstrates with wit, candor, and unassailable force, is that royal persons are not at all like ordinary people.”

The New York Review of Books

 

 

“A complete delight, conjuring up, with a few sharp strokes of the pen, a mad, exotic species from a world gone by.”

The Mail on Sunday

 

“Illuminating, intriguing and boundlessly entertaining… One of the definitive works on European royalty… masterfully handled by Hugo Vickers.”

Country Life

 

“Odd, perhaps, to take Queen Mary on the beach, but one of this year’s funniest and most eccentric books is The Quest for Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy.”

Craig Brown

 

“Retains a gleeful freshness… and offers peepholes into a lost world.”

The Oldie

About the author

HUGO VICKERS is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and an acknowledged expert on the Royal Family. He has written biographies of many twentieth century figures, including the Queen Mother, Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, Cecil Beaton, Vivien Leigh, Princess Andrew of Greece and the Duchess of Windsor. His book THE KISS won the 1996 Stern Silver Pen Award for Non-Fiction.

JAMES POPE-HENNESSEY was a British biographer and travel writer. He died in 1974. His friend Maud Russell described him as ‘two characters lodged in one shell: one serious, hardworking, self critical (so far as his writing was concerned) workmanlike being, and that other self, wild, careless, unheeding. A person might easily have known only one half of him and not had a clue to the other half’.

Refund Policy

Zuleika is happy to exchange or refund your items. Please contact us, quoting your order reference number, which you can find in the correspondence sent following your order. Goods must be returned within 30 days of purchase and be in perfect condition. All refunds and exchanges are at Zuleika’s discretion.