Category: Stories

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THE DRUNK MINISTER

He was a Secretary of State for the Foreign Affairs in the United Kingdoms. He was one of the most brilliant ministers, one of the most skilled, one of the most efficient, one of the most reliable, but also, out of all the government, the one most prone to drinking. It was because of this…

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THE HANDSOME COUNT OF KÖNIGSMARCK

The one born under the name of Georges I King of England and his wife and first cousin Sophia Dorothea of Celle did not get along well. They had been forced into this arranged marriage and, since the first day they had met, it had been clear that this union was not to be a…

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THE SOUND AND LIGHT OF CARDINAL WOLSEY

Hampton Court is by far one of the most beautiful English royal palaces. The greater part of it was built during the 17th century by the royal couple William and Mary. The English baroque style offers a majestic splendour, truly royal facades, balance, and an extraordinary harmony, but the origins of this sumptuous castle are…

QUEEN CHRISTINA

Christina of Sweden is a phenomenon that passed through the 17th century stunning all her contemporaries. Born in 1626, only daughter to King Gustav II Adolph, her father passes away when she is six years old. She ascends to the throne under the regency of the remarkable Chancellor Oxenstierna, but she does not get along…

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BERNADOTTE

He was a Gascon soldier from the Revolution, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. He had grown up and made his path during this troubled period through the shear strength of his wrists, his wit and his military genius. He had gotten into contact with Bonaparte, but the latter, in some ways, was jealous of him as Bernadotte bested…

A GREEK FOR THE CONQUEST PERU

His name was Pedro de Candia and I discovered his existence in a fascinating book “The Royal Commentaries of Peru” written by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, which my friend Samantha introduced to me. The author is the son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca Princess. He therefore knows both the Spanish and Inca…

Russian Family portraits

The five children of Nicholas II on the deck of the imperial yacht. Visit of Nicholas II and the empress Alexandra to the Grand Duke Konstantin and the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna, probably at Pavlovsk. The Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich, scandalous member of the family, with his sister the Grand Duchess Vera Konstantinovna, and his…

Palace of Strelna

Saint Petersburg, Russia This palace was built for Peter the Great by architect Le Blond. Its park stretched from its terraces to the Baltic. It was passed down to numerous members of the Imperial Family before belonging to my great-grandfather, the Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, and then to his son, Konstantin Konstantinovich. I absolutely wanted…

COUSIN TALYA

One day, someone, I cannot recall who, told me of a distant cousin of mine, a Romanov, who had lived her entire life in Moscow and still lived there. I answered that it was perfectly impossible, that no Romanov could have lived in the Soviet Union at the time of the Soviets, and, worst yet,…

RASPUTIN

Rasputin was this Russian monk who, having been introduced to the last emperor Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, proved to be the only one capable of calming the terrible haemophiliac episodes of the heir Grand-Duke, the young Alexis. This allowed him to gain absolute control over the parents of the unfortunate child, to…