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Greece

THE MURDEROUS GARDENER

My aunt Bébelle, the Countess of Paris Isabelle d’Orléans Bragance, told me that when she was young she often visited one of her maternal aunts who owned a very beautiful villa on the banks of Lake Geneva. The aunt was especially proud of her garden, and of her roses in particular. One day, the aunt…

THE JOKESTER GHOST OF TAOS

  About twenty years ago, we visited the very beautiful city of Taos in New Mexico. We stayed at Luan House, which had been turned into a hotel. It was a magnificent villa built in the regional style popular during the 1920s and 1930s by an American art patron millionaire, Mabel Dodge. Everyone of any…

“THERE IS ROOM FOR ONE MORE”

I saw this story in a very old black and white film. I read it in a collection of stories published by Benson, and had read before that it in a collection of true tales, of which I cannot recall the author. It took place in England in between 1905 and 1910. A man is…


EXILED IN SAINT BERTRAND

Saint Bertrand de Comminges is a beautiful, old small city poised amongst the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is nestled amidst forests beyond lowlands full of History. A cathedral full of marvellous items dominates the city. Very old houses and private mansions line the twisty-turny streets. Bertrand de Got had been one of its bishops…

THE MAGICIAN’S CHAMBERMAID

  Over twenty years ago, Marshal Alan Brooke’s descendants invited me to their castle in Northern Ireland. Theirs was a courageous and enterprising household; they had decided to restore the family domain and open it to the public. They were endearing, welcoming, intelligent and warm. The surprising thing is that I cannot remember the name…


THE BEGUM

During one of my trips to India, I met a rather unique maharani. Her husband owned India’s most beautiful library, which was filled with ancient manuscripts about medicine and botany. She was short and round. She wore real Christmas decorations wrapped around her neck as a sort of necklace. And yet on each of her…

PHOTOS OF THE SPANISH ROYAL FAMILY

Infant Alfonso of Orleans and his wife princess Beatrice of Great Britain, uncle Ali, aunt Bee. He belongs to the Spanish branch of the Orleans family; he was an exceptionally gifted pilot, original, always unexpected, adored by his nephews and nieces, including me. She was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, a famous beauty like her…

THE MAHARAJAH OF GWALIOR AND THE BANDITS

Many decades ago, we had been the guests of the sumptuous Maharajah of Gwalior, government minister and huge personality. He had told us of his dacoits. They were the local bandits that occupied the savannah. They were organized in gangs, the most famous of the time lead by a woman, Phoolan Devi, which had been…

The wedding of William Leeds with Princess Xenia of Russia

Greece family portraits

My grandmother Queen Olga of Greece in exile in Italy. Immediately behind her is my father, Christopher, and next to him, his sister Maria. Behind her is her brother Andrew, father of the Duke of Edinburgh.   King Georges II of Greece and his brother, the heir to the throne Paul of Greece, visiting the…

LE MENTOR

Today a sleepy, coastal village, at the beginning of the 19th century Avlemonas was the scene of dramatic events. The Russians landed there to kick the French off the island. On September 15th 1802, the few inhabitants witnessed a fateful shipwreck. A small sailing ship by the name of “Mentor” arrived from the East and…