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Friday, April 18, 2014





The Brighton Pavilion was built as the Prince Regent's seaside retreat and with it's exotic appearance and over-the-top architecture, the fanciful structure has brought many to open-mouthed astonishment, including the Duke of Wellington.  Thankfully, Princess Lieven took the time to record the Duke's reaction to his first visit to the Prince's pleasure palace:

Brighton, January 26, 1822

I wish you were here to laugh. You cannot imagine how astonished the Duke of Wellington is. He had not been here before, and I thoroughly enjoy noting the kind of remark and the kind of surprise that the whole household evokes in a new-comer. I do not believe that, since the days of Heliogabalus, there have been such magnificence and such luxury. There is something effeminate in it which is disgusting. One spends the evening half-lying on cushions; the lights are dazzling; there are perfumes, music, liquers – “Devil take me, I think I must have got into bad company.” You can guess who said that, and the tone in which it was said. Here is one single detail about the establishment. To light the three rooms, used when the family is alone, costs 150 guineas an evening; when the apartment is fully opened up, it is double that.

What were your impressions of the Pavilion? If you haven't been to the Pavilion yet, or if you'd like to virtually visit once again,here are a few videos that will be of interest.

You can join Lucy Worsley on a tour of the Pavilion from the series The Regency Brand here.

Take another tour of the Pavilion, complete with historic recipes, with the Royal Upstairs Downstairs team here.

Watch a short video about George IV's secret tunnel at the Pavilion here.

Did you know that the Pavilion's kitchens were transformed into an operating theatre during WWI?

You can find more about the Brighton Pavilion on the website is here.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Victoria here. 2014 marks several significant historical anniversaries.  One hundred years ago, the world became embroiled in the Great War, known nowadays as World War I. Two hundred years ago the Allies triumphed over Napoleon, sent him into exile on Elba, then celebrated their grand victory with a series of London extravaganzas before settling into the Congress of Vienna where they argued over the fate of a non-Napoleonic Europe.

Kensington Palace

Three hundred years ago in 1714, the Hanoverians became Kings of England, when King George I took the throne left vacant by the death of Queen Anne (1665-1714) in August 1714. Anne's several children had predeceased her and at her death, Great Britain was left without a successor as monarch. A few years earlier, after the death of her one child who lived to the age of eleven (William, Duke of Gloucester, 1689-1700), the English Parliament struggled to find a successor to the Queen, a successor who would not restore Roman Catholicism.  The Act of Settlement of 1701 gave the crown, assuming no further children were born to Anne, to Sophia, Electress of Hanover, and her Protestant descendants.  She was a granddaughter of James I, and though dozens of Catholic family members had closer ties to Anne, all but Protestants were precluded from the succession.  Sophia, the Electress, had died just two months before Queen Anne's passing; thus, her eldest son was Elector and became British King.