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Family secrets


Royalty in all shapes and forms

THE FORGOTTEN TREASURE OF THE LAST TSAR

When Kerensky had seized power in Russia during the Revolution of February 1917, he had interned the tsar, the tsarina and their five children in the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. He had tried to send the prisoners to England, but King George V, first cousin of Nicholas II and first cousin of the Empress,…

THE GHOST OF THE LAST TSAR

While I was writing my book on Russian Imperial Palaces, we dined, my editor and I, in Saint Petersburg with a handful of curators from the Hermitage. As always, a Russian-style diner, very joyful with lots of drinking, and, also in Russian-style, the conversation soon fell onto one of their favourite subject: ghosts. And so…

THE FAKE ANASTASIA ( Part 2)

The audience was restricted: Dorothy and I, her brother, Mr. Benjamin and the Cannon couple. The room to which we were shown had all the usual accessories: a water basin, a guitar, aluminium trumpets. We turned off the lights and almost immediately the medium fell into a trance. In total darkness, we heard quiet rustling…

THE FAKE ANASTASIA

Since the discovery of DNA, there is no more Anastasia mystery, as it was immediately proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that Mrs Anderson ¬who pretended to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, youngest daughter of Nicholas II, survivor of the Yekaterinburg massacre – had nothing to do with her. Long before the war, my…

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THE SCANDALOUS GRAND DUKE

At the time, I worked in the National Archives of the Russian State, in an immense sinister building, badly lit but redeemed by the boundless kindness of the employees. We discussed my family with these extraordinarily cultivated ladies. I told them about the four brothers of my grandmother Queen Olga. “No, one of them said…

Queen Anne1705, portrait bu Mickael Dahl_ England queen_ ENgland War_ Anne & Sarah_ Michael of greece chronicles_

ANNE AND SARAH

In the winter of 1711, neither France nor Louis XIV was faring very well. Frost was destroying the crops, it was so cold that people were dying in the streets, the Spanish War of Succession had been dragging on for over ten years, there was no more money, no more troupes, no more resources, no…

THE DIGESTIVE OF THE TIME OF THE WAR_Michael_of_greece_digeen temps de guerre

THE DIGESTIVE OF THE TIME OF THE WAR

My mother’s first cousin, the Duke of X, was as charming as he was jovial. During the Second World War, like so many Frenchmen, he and his whole family sought refuge in the family castle in the country. At that time, the question of where the ingredients and foods that appeared on the table came…

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A GHOST STORY AS TOLD BY THE PRINCESS PALATINE

Elisabeth Charlotte of Bavaria, Princess Palatine and the second wife of Louis the 14th’s brother and the Duke of Orleans, or ‘Monsieur’ (the traditional title given to the eldest living brother of a French king), is one of my favourite ancestors. Larger-than-life; sincere; courageous; she would share her thoughts with everyone; she enjoyed cold cuts,…

THE REGENT’S WEDDING

At the moment I am watching the television series “Versailles”, in which I find many of my ancestors portrayed in a rather unorthodox manner. There is however a story the scriptwriters have omitted. Louis XIV had many children from his mistress the marquise de Montespan, both boys and girls. He had showered them with donations,…

THE FALSE REMAINS OF LOUIS XVI

One of the mysteries I recently uncovered has to do with how the Revolution would dispose of its victims, all these princes and dukes, these women, these young people. Until now, I believed that they would be thrown into mass graves and that their bodies would be doused in quicklime to render them unrecognizable. Apparently…