Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Her Majesty The Queen and top authors create miniature library to celebrate Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House centenary

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from the Royal Collection Trust Press Office:

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, the largest and most famous Dolls’ House in the world, which has been on display for visitors to Windsor Castle since its creation. 

The Dolls’ House was built between 1921 and 1924 as a gift from the nation to Queen Mary following the First World War. It is a perfect 1:12 scale replica of an Edwardian-style residence – complete with electricity, working lifts and running water – and is filled with contributions from over 1,500 of the finest artists, craftspeople, and manufacturers of the day. 

One of the great treasures of the Dolls’ House is its Library, which captured the literary culture of the 1920s through miniature books handwritten by the era’s foremost writers, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Vita Sackville-West to A. A. Milne and Thomas Hardy. Now, in an anniversary initiative championed by Her Majesty The Queen, 20 tiny manuscripts have been penned and decorated by hand by leading writers and illustrators, to establish a Modern-Day Miniature Library, once again providing a snapshot of contemporary literature in Britain.  

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The new manuscripts range from short stories, poetry collections and illustrated tales to plays, articles and recipes, many inspired by the Dolls’ House or written specially for the occasion. Each manuscript, measuring just 4.5cm high, has been hand-bound with a unique cover by a leading designer-bookbinder. Each miniature cover is a work of art, with each binder taking inspiration from the contents of their book to create designs that range from gilded and traditional to whimsical and strikingly modern. The new books, which will become part of the Royal Collection, are now on display for visitors to Windsor Castle and can be seen throughout 2024. 

Her Majesty The Queen has contributed her own miniature book to the collection: a handwritten introduction to the Modern-Day Miniature Library project. Bound in the Royal Bindery at Windsor Castle, the book features a gold-tooled miniature version of Her Majesty’s cypher, measuring just 7mm tall. It was created using a specially made cypher tool, which was modelled on the tool used to apply Queen Mary’s 7mm-tall cypher to the original Dolls’ House Library books in the 1920s. 

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On Tuesday, 30 January, Her Majesty The Queen will host a reception at Windsor Castle to thank the authors, illustrators and binders who have contributed their work to the project. Her Majesty will view the new miniature books and will be shown her own hand-bound contribution for the first time, which will then be added to the display for visitors. 

The contributors to the Modern-Day Miniature Library are: 

Her Majesty The Queen, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House: foreword, bound by Glenn Bartley, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle. 

Simon Armitage, There was a steep grass bank then a field, bound by Matthew Stockl, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle. 

Alan Bennett, The Mantelpiece, bound by Andreas Maroulis, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle. 

Malorie Blackman, A Message to Jessica, bound by Bayntun-Riviere. Illustrations by Elizabeth Mira Morrison. 

Lucy Caldwell, Intimacies, bound by Gillian Stewart, Juju Books. Illustrations by Orla Routh (age 5 ¾). 

Joseph Coelho, An Abecedarius of the Very Teeny: and other poems, bound by Matthew Stockl, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle. 

Imtiaz Dharker, The Welcome, bound by Flora Ginn. 

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo, bound by Glenn Bartley, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle. 

Bernardine Evaristo, The African Origins of the United Kingdom, bound by Sue Doggett. 

Sebastian Faulks, Music for a Dolls’ House, 1924–2024, bound by Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe. 

Philippa Gregory, Richard my Richard: a play, bound by Stuart Brockman, Brockman Bookbinders. 

Robert Hardman, The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, 6.V.2023, bound by Ted Bennett. Illustrations by Phoebe Hardman (age 14). 

Anthony Horowitz, A Tiny Ghost Story, bound by Angela James. 

Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, bound by Hannah Brown. 

Sir Ben Okri, Poems, bound by Rachel Ward-Sale, Bookbinders of Lewes. 

Tom Parker Bowles, A Recipe Fit for a Queen, bound by Andreas Maroulis, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle. 

Elif Shafak, Aisha woke up from troubled dreams, bound by Haein Song. 

Sir Tom Stoppard, Kolya’s Glove, bound by Lester Capon. 

Sarah Waters, Underhand House: part one, bound by Christopher Shaw. 

A. N. Wilson, The Residents: a poem, bound by Peter Jones. 

Dame Jacqueline Wilson, The House Mouse / translated from Mouse Squeaks, bound by Eri Funazaki. 

As well as the display of miniature books, visitors to Windsor Castle this year can see a special centenary display of items usually contained within the Dolls’ House. Staged in the magnificent Waterloo Chamber, this display allows visitors to get even closer to the House’s tiny treasures, which range from a fully strung miniature grand piano and Crown Jewels inset with real diamonds to a minuscule vacuum cleaner and sewing machine. 

The room at Windsor Castle that was created to house the Dolls’ House almost 100 years ago has been restored to mark the anniversary, and the Dolls’ House itself has been re-lit to simulate daylight rather than moonlight. On Royal Collection Trust’s website, new ‘dolls’-eye view’ films are giving viewers around the world the chance to discover the House’s miniature marvels in closer detail than ever before.  

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The new publication The Miniature Library of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House by Elizabeth Clark Ashby is available now, exploring the stories behind the creation of the original Dolls’ House Library. The book includes a foreword by Her Majesty The Queen, as well as excerpts from selected works, some of which are reproduced for the first time. The book joins a new Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House souvenir range that is available in Royal Collection Trust’s shops. 

Anniversary events and activities throughout the year will include a Dolls’ House-themed family trail for visitors to the Castle, as well as family activities during the Easter holidays. An online evening event in April will see Royal Collection Trust curators revealing behind-the-scenes details and sharing how the House is conserved for future generations to enjoy.



Her Majesty The Queen opens her miniature introduction by expressing her admiration for the Dolls’ House Library: ‘For me, it is the library that is the most breath-taking space in the house’. Her Majesty also praises the contribution of all involved: ‘These new books highlight the incredible richness of twenty-first century Literary talent – and demonstrate how fortunate we are to have access to so many outstanding writers, whose work brings joy, comfort, laughter, companionship and hope to us all, opening our eyes to others’ experiences and reminding us that we are not alone.’ 

Stella Panayotova, Royal Librarian and Assistant Keeper of The Royal Archives, said: ‘These tiny books are big in imagination and talent, in feelings and insights. Exquisite books rekindle the joy of careful reading, close looking, quiet thinking. We are truly grateful to the authors, illustrators and designer-binders for awakening the century-old magic of the Dolls’ House. It is exciting to share their small books with large audiences, delighting and inspiring visitors of all ages.’ 

Glenn Bartley, Head of the Royal Bindery, Royal Collection Trust, said: 'The art and craft of hand bookbinding has changed hugely in the past 100 years. The familiar, traditional style of the bindings made for the original Dolls’ House could not be more different to the contemporary designs of today, which demonstrate individual creativity and make great use of alternative materials. It has been a delight and great honour for me, my colleagues and invited bookbinders to be involved in this project, and to know that our bindings will become part of the history of Queen Mary's Dolls’ House and the Royal Collection.’ 

Lucy Caldwell said: ‘The child in me leapt at the thought of creating a miniature book – it is the most magical of commissions. No less magical was making it with my own 5-year-old daughter. I won’t be here in a hundred years, and nor will she, but there is something very moving in thinking of the people, maybe the children, who might be inspired by our perfect miniature book when the bicentenary of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House comes around.’ 

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Julia Donaldson said: ‘It was an honour to be asked to write a miniature book for the new collection. I did think of doing something entirely new but then felt it would be iconic to have a tiny version of The Gruffalo, especially since it seemed a good way of celebrating his 25th birthday (the book was published in 1999). It was quite tricky working out the new pagination and making my handwriting as small as could be, but Axel had a greater labour of love creating all those extra pictures. I can't wait to see the final product.’ 

Axel Scheffler said: ‘I felt very honoured to be asked to contribute a miniature book to the Dolls’ House library, and of course, it had to be The Gruffalo! It was a little bit of a challenge to re-illustrate the whole story on approximately 90 tiny pages rather than 30 regular-sized pages. But, as I like to draw small pictures, it put me to a test, but suited me well.’ 

Bernardine Evaristo said: ‘I love the idea of contributing towards such a historic and iconic project, while also maintaining my iconoclastic spirit. My poem invites us to reconsider Britain’s deep history and origins in a way that challenges assumptions and provokes debate.’ 

Sebastian Faulks said: ‘The size made it a real challenge. But fun. I’m not a poet and there was no room for prose, so I wrote a kind of syllabic verse. My handwriting has not been under such pressure since infant school. I can only apologise for my illustrations. It was such an honour to have been invited to contribute.’ 

Philippa Gregory said: ‘I agonised over what to include but decided on something unpublished, and settled on some early scenes from my new play on Richard III. My extremely poor craftwork skills did not dent my ambition and I started the fiddly task of writing (and illustrating!) the tiny little book. It took me ages with many, many failed attempts but I’m immensely honoured to have created a treasure that will become part of the Dolls’ House library, which serves as a playful national record of today’s writing.’ 

Anthony Horowitz said: ‘I have written what must be the shortest, smallest ghost story in the world and I’m so proud that it will be included in this very special project. Every house should have books in it. Even a doll’s house.’ 

Charlie Mackesy said: ‘What a huge privilege it is to play a very tiny part in a rather wonderful thing.’ 

Sir Ben Okri said: ‘It was a real honour and delight making this miniature book for the Queen’s Dolls’ House Centenary. There is something magical about working with the very small. My contribution to this enchanting project was making a little book of my poems. Writing small concentrates the mind and draws one into the mysterious kingdom of art. But then the Dolls’ House too is a mysterious kingdom that once encountered starts a secret yearning to dwell there. This is a wonderful project and I hope its charms are experienced by all the great and small children of the realm.’ 

Tom Parker Bowles said: ‘I cannot tell you what an honour it was to be asked to contribute a miniature book to Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. Although my recipe “Fit for a Queen” will struggle to match the skill, art and beauty of Andreas Maroulis and the Royal Bindery.’ 

Elif Shafak said: ‘Writing a miniature story for Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House library was both fascinating and deeply inspiring. It made me appreciate not only the magic of words, carried throughout the centuries, but also the delicate work of writers and poets, artisans and artists, bookbinders and carpenters, past and present. I loved the way this unique project brings together hearts and disciplines, weaving literature and history and art, offering a welcoming space, a warm home, for everyone who values the art of storytelling.’ 

Sir Tom Stoppard said: ‘As a child I was always fascinated by Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, though I don't think I ever set eyes on it. I must have read about it. At a young age, the miniaturisation seemed almost miraculous to me. So I was frankly thrilled to be invited to contribute to the new Dolls’ House library so many years later.’  

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Sarah Waters said: ‘Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is an extraordinary artefact, a gorgeous showcasing of the arts and the craftsmanship of the 1920s. As someone with an interest in British cultural and social history, I feel honoured and hugely excited to be part of this centenary celebration. And I love the way the new mini books project continues the Dolls’ House tradition of valuing literature and reading, by celebrating British writing now, in all its rich diversity.’ 

Dame Jacqueline Wilson said: ‘I was taken to see the Queen’s Dolls’ House when I was seven. I was completely enchanted and particularly loved the miniature books in the library. It was such a thrill to be invited to contribute one myself all these many years later.’ 

Mail Call

TRH Prince Charles and Prince Francois of Luxembourg

 This is a selection of recent cards that I have received.  There are several cards I do not share with my readers as I want to respect the senders' privacy.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Catherine and the King are released from hospital

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 Not long after the Prince and Princess of Wales left The London Clinic,  Buckingham Palace released a statement that the King was also being released and heading home.

Friday, January 26, 2024

King Charles is in the hospital

 The king is at the London Clinic, the same hospital, where the princess of Wales is recuperating. It is understood that he stopped in to visit her..

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Infanta Cristina has signed the divorce papers

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 Infanta Cristina of Spain and her husband Iñaki Urdangarín, have signed their divorce papers, according to Hola, the Spanish weekly magazine.   The divorce is by mutual agreement.   An official announcement is expected shortly.

The couple announced their separation in January 2022.  At that time, the Infanta said she would not rush into ending her marriage.   "By mutual agreement, we have decided to interrupt our marriage relationship. The commitment to our children remains intact."

They were married in Barcelona on October 4, 1997.   

Cristina and her estranged husband waited to file for divorce until their youngest child, Irene turned 18 on June 5, 2023.


John Wesley Walker (1945-2024)


Bucharest October 2011 @Marlene Koenig

John Wesley Walker, the husband of Princess Irina of Romania, died on January 23, 2024, at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston, Oregon.  He was 78 years old.  He and Princess Irina lived on a farm in Irrigon, Oregon, where they raised horses.  

John and Princess Irina were married on November 10, 2007, in a civil ceremony in Reno, Nevada.  It was the second marriage for both of them.

Wedding Day in 2007

He was born on December 30, 1945, in Douglas, Missouri, the son of John William Walker and Lucy Alice Hall.  He was a United States Marine and served with distinction in Vietnam.  He later worked in law enforcement as a police officer and a deputy sheriff in Coos, Oregon.  He retired in 2003.  

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding horseback, gardening, and was an animal lover.

John is survived by his widow, Princess Irina, and his son and two daughters, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.  

A memorial service will take place in spring.

Elisabeta Palace October 2011,  all photos by Marlene Eilers Koenig  

The death of Empress Auguste Viktoria's mother

January 25, 1900

The New York Times is reporting that the Dowager Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg-Augustenburg has died. She had been suffering from pleurisy. The Duchess was the mother of the German Empress, Auguste Viktoria, who arrived with her husband, the Kaiser, at her mother's castle this afternoon.

The Duchess Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein had also suffered from a heart complaint, and "lately her condition gave rise to such anxiety" that the Empress twice visited Dresden to see her mother, according to The Times (London.) Only yesterday, the duchess's doctors reported that she was improving, so the "news of a fatal issue of an illness was unexpected in Berlin."

The Duchess was born Princess Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a daughter of Ernst, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, and his wife, Princess Feodora of Leiningen, who was Queen Victoria's older half-sister.

Adelheid and Duke Friedrich were married on September 11, 1856. Their first marital home was at Dolzig in Nieder Lausitz, but in 1863, when Frederik VII of Denmark died - and the question of the issue of Schleswig-Holstein became "acute -- the couple moved to Kiel. Friedrich became heir to the duchies after his father, Duke Christian August, renounced his claims. But in 1866, when Schleswig-Holstein, Hannover, and Hesse-Cassel became Prussian provinces, Duke Friedrich "again retired, a broken and dissipated man, to Dolzig." When his father died in 1869, Friedrich inherited Primenkau in Silesia. He and Adelheid alternated living there and at Gotha until his death on January 14, 1880.

A month after Friedrich's death, Princess Auguste Viktoria became engaged to Prince Wilhelm of Germany, the eldest son of Crown Prince Friedrich and Crown Princess Victoria.

Shortly after Auguste Viktoria's marriage, Duchess Friedrich moved to Dresden, "where she lived a very retired life, interesting herself chiefly in painting and music." The only time she was "visible to the public" was when she occupied her box at the Royal Opera.

The Duchess is survived by five children: Auguste Viktoria, the German Empress; Princess Caroline Mathilde,  who is the wife of Duke Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg; Duke Ernst Günther, and married to Princess Dorothea of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; Princess Luise Sophie,  the wife of Prince Friedrich Leopold of Prussia; and Princess Feodora.

All court functions have been canceled in Berlin.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Princess Nadejda weds Duke Albrecht

HRH Princess Nadezhda Klementine Maria Pia Majella of Bulgaria was married today to HRH Duke Albrecht Eugen Maria Philipp Carl Joseph Fortunatus of Württemberg in a Roman Catholic service at Bad Mergentheim, Germany, shortly after the civil ceremony  The princess will celebrate her 26th birthday on January 30.  The groom turned 29 on January 8.

Nadezhda was the fourth and the youngest child of King Ferdinand of Bulgaria and Princess Marie Louise Bourbon-Parma, who died shortly after giving birth to her daughter.  Duke Albrecht was the HRH Duke Albrecht of Württemberg and Archduchess Margarete Sophie of Austria, the younger sister of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The couple was secretly engaged in the fall of 1923, as Nadezhada's older brother, King Boris III, then in the middle of a political crisis, did not want the news of the engagement made public.  Boris informed his father that "it would be a good idea to have his sisters married."

"In principle, I am not enthusiastic about marriages, as you know, and I will not change my convictions about it," he wrote to his father.  He recommended an early marriage for his sister "while the firm still has some appearances of luster left."

The king planned to announce the marriage as a fait accompli after it had taken place.  He did not travel to the wedding. Still, Nadezhada's father, King Ferdinand, who lived in exile in Coburg, and her brother, Prince Kyril, were among the guests, including members of the Austria and Württemberg families.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

A cream Tea with Henry VIII's Wives


If you live in the UK or can pop over for a weekend, this would be an event to attend.  At Hever Castle.  Tea with Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn,  Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Katherine Parr, who are represented by among the finest of modern Tudor scholars: Amy License, Kate McCaffrey,  Dr. Elizabeth Norton, Sarah Gristwood, Dr. Owen Emmerson and Dr. Nicola Tallis.

This event will take place on March 2, 2024 in the Guthrie Pavilion at 2 p.m.



Sunday, January 21, 2024

Danish Royal Family in Aarhus

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King Frederik X and Queen Mary attended a celebratory service in Aarhus Cathedral earlier today.  They were accompanied by their children, Crown Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent, and Princess Josephine.  Queen Margrethe,  Princess Benedikte, and Count Ingolf af Rosenborg also attended the service.

who will King Edward marry?

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January 21, 1936

Who will the new King marry? That is the question on the minds of many of Britons as they mourn the death of King George V, who died yesterday.
His eldest son, David, the 41-year-old Prince of Wales, is now king and will be known as Edward VIII, according to the AP.
[The AP noted erroneously that the king, according to "law governing royal marriages," may marry only "a royal princess." The original article was written shortly after the death of King George. One assumes reporters scrambled to get stories on the wire with limited fact-checking.]
There are only six eligible princesses, according to the AP: Princesses Irene of Greece and her younger sister, Katherine, Princess Eugenie of Greece, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, and Grand Duchess Kira of Russia.
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Crown Princess Juliana would not have been considered as a candidate for Edward's hand, as she was the heir to the Dutch throne. She would be a Queen Regnant. No need to be a Queen Consort.

The AP article acknowledges that most of Edward's "friendships, however, have been with women whose social ratings were high but who were not of royalty."

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One of Edward's favorite dancing partners was Viscountess Ednam, who died in a plane crash some months ago; Mrs. Dudley Ward, and "more recently the dark-eyed Mrs. Ernest Simpson, the former Miss Wallis Warfield of Baltimore, Md."
Mrs. Simpson is said to be "one of the most fashionable Americans in London society," and is said to be one of the new king's closest friends."

Friday, January 19, 2024

Danish Royal House releases new photos


all three photos @Dennis Stenild, Kongehuset 

The Danish Royal House has released three official portraits of the King and Queen and their children

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The Princess of Wales: abdominal surgery

 The Princess of Wales was admitted to the London Clinic yesterday for abdominal surgery. The surgery is not related to cancer.

The Prince of Wales canceled engagements today to be with his wife.

King Charles III - medical news

The King will have a corrective procedure for a benign enlarged prostate. This will take place next week.

Monday, January 15, 2024


">On behalf of the United States, I congratulate Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of the Kingdom of Denmark as she concludes her tenure and offer thanks for her enduring commitment to deepening the partnership between our two nations.  Queen Margrethe’s 52-year reign spanned ten U.S. presidents, an era during which the Kingdom of Denmark and the United States moved closer together as security and trade partners, while the bonds of friendship between our people grew ever stronger.  Queen Margrethe’s commitment to her duty, her nation, and all the people of Denmark through the past five decades has set an incredible example of selfless, principled service.  The United States congratulates King Frederik X on his succession to the throne and looks forward to continuing our more than 200-year history of partnership and cooperation with the Kingdom of Denmark.

Crown Prince Leka confirms divorce proceedings


HRH Prince Leka

Crown Prince Leka of Albania has confirmed that he and his estranged wife, Elia, have agreed to divorce.   

" HRH Prince Leka and Elia Zaharia have agreed to end their marriage.  As their marriage has failed, they have by mutual consent agreed to a divorce.  They have initiated the necessary procedures to end their marriage.  

Despite the break in the trust in their family, Prince Leka continues to believe that the values of mutual respect and understanding will form a continued relationship in raising and educating HRH Princess Geraldine.

Prince Geraldine's spiritual and physical well-being will remain at the center of her parents' attention.  They are dedicated to ensuring a happy and safe life for Geraldine.

HRH Prince Leka will not make further statements or comments and requests the right to privacy to be respected regarding this matter."

King Frederik X attends Parliament


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 Earlier today, King Frederik X attended his first Parliament as sovereign.  He was accompanied by Queen Mary and Crown Prince Christian.  Queen Margrethe, Prince Joachim, and Princess Benedikte were also present.

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A new official portrait of King Charles III

@Hugo Burnand

The King is wearing his Royal Navy uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet.


The new King and Queen of Denmark

Dennis Stenild, Kongehuset ©

The Danish Royal House has released four photographs from the King Frederik X of Denmark's succession.

Keld Navntoft, Kongehuset ©

Keld Navntoft, Kongehuset ©

Keld Navntoft, Kongehuset ©