A Right Royal Christmas demonstrates that our present-day festival has much deeper roots than Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who are usually given the credit for 'inventing' it - with a little help from Charles Dickens, of course. Through princely diaries, letters and journals, and the eyes of outside observers, this anthology eavesdrops on royal festivities over many centuries. Factual accounts are included alongside poetry, drama and novelists' imaginative re-creation of a mystery play and Henry VIII's boyhood. Here is Duke William of Normandy glancing nervously over his shoulder as the crown of England is placed upon his head in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066; troublesome Thomas Becket faces his murderers bravely in Canterbury Cathedral; Edward I tries to foist a puppet king on Scotland; and Mary Queen of Scots cannot resist trying to outdo her rival Elizabeth on Twelfth Night. More recently, Queen Victoria admits to falling for the lion-tamer at the circus; Queen Alexandra toboggans downstairs on a silver teatray; and Edward VIII plummets from a pinnacle of happiness into an abyss of despair at Sandringham.
The present Queen reveals how much she enjoyed a visit to the USA during the bicentennial celebrations. Those who share in this Right Royal Christmas include T.S. Eliot, Robert Graves, Simon Schama, Elizabeth Longford and Tom Fleming. Others, such as Joan Aiken, Punch, Robert Cruikshank and Keith Horrox, add wry humour to complete a fascinating and entertaining anthology of royal merry-making over the centuries.
A Right Royal Christmas: An Anthology by Hugh Douglas was published by The History Press Ltd in September 2011. The ISBN for A Right Royal Christmas: An Anthology is 9780752464312.