Royal Lodge Windsor

Afascinating biography of Royal Lodge, Windsor. Ideal for readers of John Martin Robinson, Simon Thurley and Lucy Worsley.

Royal Lodge is one of a scattered group of dwellings, mansions, forts and follies in the southern recesses and environs of Windsor Great Park which have served royal pleasures and private needs ever since the carefree days of Charles II. It has been the home of artists and courtiers and farmers and foresters, the picnic pavilion of queens and the private abode of two kings.

Nestled amongst groves of ancient woodland and landscaped gardens, it is where the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) made their home in 1932 and where their two young daughters – Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret – played happily in the Little House, Y Bwthyn Bach, in the garden.

Meticulously researched, royal chronicler Helen Cathcart paints a vivid picture of the evolving architecture, changing décor and esteemed inhabitants of Royal Lodge from earliest days through to the mid-twentieth century.

The Queen And Prince Philip

If I am asked today what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage, I can reply with simplicity and conviction. I am for it. – The Queen, 20th November 1972

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip enjoyed seventy-three years of happy married life together – the longest marriage of any royal British couple in history.

But how did they meet? What did their families think of their burgeoning relationship? What obstacles did the young couple face before and after their marriage? And how did a childhood friendship grow into the love story of the century?

In The Queen and Prince Philip royal biographer Helen Cathcart superbly reconstructs the early years of Elizabeth and Philip’s relationship, tracing their growing affection from the summer of 1939, when ‘Lilibet’ was a teenager and Philip a dashing navy cadet, through their wartime courtship and magnificent wedding in 1947 at Westminster Abbey. She skilfully narrates their adjustment to new parenthood in Clarence House and how, shortly afterwards, both their lives changed forever when Elizabeth ascended the throne as Queen in 1952 and Philip became Prince Consort.

Set against a revealing background of family and wider social events, this is the first full story of their early years together as husband and wife documented from family letters, royal journals and the personal recollections of those close to the royal couple.

The Queen and Prince Philip takes us behind the scenes of one of the most romantic royal love stories of all time.

The Queen Herself

Ideclare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service… – Princess Elizabeth, 1947

Born third in line to the British throne, Elizabeth never expected to be Queen, yet her destiny was fixed with the abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII.

Royal biographer Helen Cathcart’s fascinatingly intimate account charts Elizabeth’s extraordinary life, from her birth and early years growing up in the royal palaces – sleeping in the dungeons of Windsor Castle during the air raids of the Blitz – through to her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947 and their life together as new parents.

The death of Elizabeth’s beloved father, King George VI, in 1952 saw her life change forever when at the age of twenty-five she became Queen.

Cathcart vividly brings to life many of the key events during the first thirty years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, including her spectacular Coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953 and subsequent six-month grand tour of the Commonwealth, as well as Her Majesty’s first televised Christmas broadcast in 1957.

Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, including family letters, royal journals and personal recollections, The Queen Herself is an exceptionally detailed biography of a loving daughter, wife and mother, as well as an iconic and celebrated national figurehead devoted to a life of service.

The Queen Herself offers a fascinating insight into Her Majesty The Queen’s remarkable life and reign.

The Queen Mother

Affectionately known as the Queen Mother, she was born a commoner and never expected to be Queen. Yet, her life was forever changed with the abdication of her brother-in-law, Edward VIII, and she rose to become one of the most popular royal figures.

Helen Cathcart’s fascinatingly intimate account charts the life of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, from her birth and early years to her courtship and marriage to the second son of King George V and Queen Mary, through the abdication crisis and later period as Queen consort, before giving insight into the first forty years of her life as Queen Mother after her daughter, Elizabeth II, had ascended to the throne.

During her long life the Queen Mother witnessed numerous challenges to her nation, including two world wars and the decline of British power, yet, as Cathcart reveals, she remained an unwavering pillar of support to both her husband and her daughter through these difficult times.

Drawing information from family letters, royal journals and the personal recollections, The Queen Mother is an exceptionally detailed picture of one of the most influential women of the twentieth century.

Princess Margaret

Loyal sister and friend to Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret grew up in the public gaze and during her lifetime was one of the most-discussed women in the world. But what was early life like for the younger sibling of the future monarch? And what role did she carve for herself within the Royal Family?

Royal biographer Helen Cathcart offers a fascinating personal study of the first four decades of the Princess’ life, from her birth at Glamis Castle and phenomenal childhood popularity in the nostalgic era of ‘the two little princesses’, through watching her parents crowned in Westminster Abbey and dancing among the crowds after her sister’s Coronation. The author casts crucial new light on ‘the Townsend affair’, a crisis once compared with that of the Duke of Windsor, and the culminating love story of the Princess and the young photographer, Antony Armstrong-Jones.

Against the changing scenes of royal palaces, Thames-side hideaways and Caribbean islands, and with deep family insight, Princess Margaret is the definitive inner story of the Queen’s beloved sister, charismatic and unconventional, yet always her steadfast self.

The Princess Royal

To understand what it is to be a Princess Royal, the ‘doyenne of royal biographers’ Helen Cathcart skilfully portrays the lives of the foremost royal daughters from the days when princesses were ‘ladyes’ and the King’s eldest son was styled Prince Royal, through to our present Princess Royal.

There have been seven Princess Royals throughout British history, the inaugural of whom was Princess Mary, the eldest daughter of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, followed by Princess Anne (daughter of King George II), Princess Charlotte (daughter of King George III), Princess Victoria (daughter of Queen Victoria), Princess Louise (daughter of King Edward VII), and Princess Mary (daughter of King George V). The current holder of the title, Princess Anne, emerges from this background, clearly demonstrating how the role or Princess Royal has evolved over the generations into one of duty and personal achievement.

Drawing on royal letters, journals and associated material, the author’s fascinating pen captures the first four decades of Princess Anne’s life, from playful child and stylish teenager to champion rider and tireless campaigner for good causes. Along the way are royal engagements and regimental dinners, a love affair with a Dragoon and a terrifying kidnap attempt.

The Princess Royal is the definitive account of what it means to be the first and most royal of royal daughters and how Princess Anne is truly a Princess Royal for our times.

The Queen And The Arts

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II acquired a cultivated appreciation of the arts from an early age, with the study of a picture a week in her schooldays, and in maturity has consistently proven herself a dutiful, conscientious and enthusiastic patron of the arts.

In this impressive volume, Helen Cathcart guides the reader through the public galleries, state apartments and private rooms of royal abodes, pointing out the historic furniture and bespoke ceramics, the royal portraits and of course the Old Masters that adorn the tapestried walls. Here is the pencil sketch by Michelangelo, the watercolour by Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise, the first edition Lewis Carroll in the Royal Library, and the Fabergé easter eggs, among many other treasures.

The Queen and the Arts not only highlights Her Majesty’s abiding interest in the arts in all its forms but also her expert knowledge and care of the royal collection and her wish for it to be seen and enjoyed by as many as possible.

Charles Before Diana

The eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles has been heir to the British throne since he was three years old.

In this lively and illuminating account, royal biographer Helen Cathcart charts the first thirty years of Prince Charles’s life, from his birth at Buckingham Palace in 1948 and rugby-playing schooldays at Gordonstoun, through his undergraduate years cycling to lectures at Trinity College, Cambridge, and subsequent military career in the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.

Cathcart reveals a young man of many interests – actor, polo player, cellist, helicopter pilot, and conservationist – and takes the reader behind the scenes of notable events in the Princes’ life, including his investiture as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in 1969 and move to Chevening in 1974, before giving insight into his romantic relationships prior to his marriage to Lady Diana Spencer.

Drawing on an extraordinary fund of private material, Charles Before Diana is an intimate portrait of the man behind the Prince – a man with an endearing sense of comedy and a conscientious devotion to duty.


Dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world – King George V

Sandringham, the much-loved Norfolk retreat of Queen Elizabeth II, has been the private home of four generations of monarchs since 1862, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought the country estate for their eldest son Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.

Written with warmth and wit, Helen Cathcart charts a hundred years of royal domestic history at Sandringham, from earliest days through to celebrated visitor attraction. As well as being the scene of private family life, this stately abode has played host to magnificent balls and glittering parties as well as witnessing more dramatic events, including the 1891 fire, the death of the heir presumptive to the British throne in 1892, and the first Christmas Day Message broadcast live by King George V in 1932.

Drawing on a wealth of sources, including architect’s papers, building reports, royal letters and journals, Cathcart paints a vivid picture of life at Sandringham through the ages, of evolving architecture and changing décor, the comedy and drama of each new reign.

Lord Snowdon

Antony Armstrong-Jones, photographer, designer and film-maker, gained worldwide attention when he married Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister, Princess Margaret in 1960 – the first non-aristocrat to marry into the Royal Family for 400 years.

How did a ‘commoner’ come to marry a princess, a woman whom he had long admired from afar?

In fact, ‘Tony’ descended from Welsh gentry, the son of a barrister and a society hostess. Educated at Eton College and Cambridge University – where he coxed the Light Blues to victory in the 1950 Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race – his family shared a long-established link with the Mountbatten arm of the Royal Family.

In this engaging biography Helen Cathcart traces the first four decades of Lord Snowdon’s life, from the child of divorce and schoolboy victim of polio to successful photographer of the rich and famous and dutiful member of the Royal Family. Cathcart draws on close personal family sources to reveal the man behind the camera, the Old Etonian whose sense of timing and inquisitive interest in people made him one of the most original of British photographers. Set against a background of Irish castles, Thames-side hideaways and royal palaces, Cathcart also tells the definitive story of Lord Snowdon’s romance with Princess Margaret and their early married life together as one of Britain’s most glamorous couples.

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