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Family secrets


Royalty in all shapes and forms
Glamis-scotland-Castle

THE MONSTER OF GLAMIS

“Good thing our hosts are away for the day!” “We will finally be able to share ghost stories, which is an impossible task in their presence!” It was the beginning of spring, the beginning of the 20th century. The count and the countess of Strathmore had invited some twenty guests to enjoy the weekend in…

Blason-scotland-AlexandreIII

A WARNING FOR KING ALEXANDER III

On November 1st 1285, the King of Scotland, Alexander III, remarried. He had lost his first wife, two sons and a daughter, and the heir to the kingdom was now his young grand-daughter. It was a delicate situation and so he decided to try to have a male heir. He himself had been 8 years…

THE PIANIST AND THE TWO SISTERS

It was during, or at the end of the World War. A young Austrian pianist arrived on a Greek island. He was handsome, and alone. He was talented. The two sisters belonged to the island’s aristocracy. Among their numerous properties, they prefered one they had called “happiness”. It was situated on top of a hill…

YANNI’S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER

Yanni is the head of the largest family on the island of Spetses. He is also one of the most renowned butterfly experts in the Balkans. He is a contemporary of mine, and a friend. His family has an interesting history. In the early 19th century, his ancestors were shipowners. But at the time, there…

Lady Ferrers

THE WICKED LADY FERRERS

Andrew Perry was furious. On one December morning in 1970, Perry, the owner of the only stable in the region that rented its horses out to holiday-goers, discovered that somebody had broken into his stable during the night, saddled his black horse and went riding with it, exhausting it to such an extent that when…

stone of scone-stone of destiny-England

THE STONE OF DESTINY

There is an object that goes by the name of the ‘stone of destiny’. It is a rather large, dark grey stone that has been carved into a block and has no ornamentation or inscription on it. It had been custom to use this stone during the coronation ceremonies of the old Kings of Scotland…

THE MAHARAJAHS OF INDORE

Prince Richard Holkar is the only male heir to Indore’s powerful dynasty of maharajahs. It is by no means an ancient dynasty, but revealed itself to be particularly remarkable and marked by rather original figures. Richard’s great-great-grandfather, the Maharajah of the time, was a local boxing champion.                …

THE EMPEROR AKBAR’S WIVES

  Like all great sovereigns, the Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great, had an immense harem, but only a limited number of wives. Naturally, one of them was a Muslim. And his favourite was the Princess of Jaipur. She was a Hindu, and her marriage with the Emperor was a symbol of his tolerance and above…

La Reine Victoria Eugénie

AUNT ENA’S EMERALDS

During the days of the Second Empire, Queen Victoria visited France and became friends with Napoleon III, and particularly with his wife, the Empress Eugenie. Although they came from very different backgrounds, cultures and traditions, the two sovereigns formed a close friendship. After the fall of the Second Empire, and the disastrous Franco-Prussian war of…

THE LAST RITES OF QUEEN CATHERINE

Like every good Italian, Queen Catherine de’ Medici was superstitious. She frequently sought to have her fortune told by her personal seer, Nostradamus, and her astrologist, Ruggieri. “When will I die?” “I do not know when you will die, but what I do know is that you will die near Saint Germain.”  It was a…