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Royal Marriage Secrets, by John Ashdown-Hill - review

21 September 2013
Royal Marriage Secrets: Consorts and Concubines, Bigamists and Bastards John Ashdown-Hill

The History Press, pp.224, £12.99, ISBN: 9780752487267

My brother Pericles Wyatt, as my father liked to say, is by blood the rightful king of England, the nephew of Richard III in the 18th generation, and as such… Read more

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Petronella Wyatt

20 April 2013

One of Lady Thatcher’s least publicised qualities, which raised her above any  other politician I have known, was the complete absence of schadenfreude or triumphalism. In 1992, I was fortunate… Read more

A different sort of Turner landscape: Positano

Amalfi: This blessed plot

29 December 2012

This is not an article about hedonism. Oh, no. The Amalfi coast may be the favoured historical playground of the bad and the beautiful — from Tiberius to Sophia Loren… Read more

Petronella Wyatt

29 October 2005

David Cameron had me in his arms. His breath was warm on my face. Oh, be still my beating heart! It all lasted less than an hour, but I shall… Read more

A bastard? Me?

1 October 2005

David Davis is the first prospective Tory leader to have been born in a council house to an unmarried mother. The bookies’ favourite to take over from Michael Howard, Davis,… Read more

Wild card

25 June 2005

Alan Duncan, the dapper shadow transport spokesman, is indisputably the most eye-catching of the Tory leadership contenders. Aside from being openly gay, he has a habit of saying and doing… Read more

The price of happiness

12 March 2005

Richard Layard, the founder of the LSE Centre for Economic Performance, is a brave man. The Labour peer and adviser to the government has written a book on happiness. Or… Read more

The race card

29 January 2005

My 17-year-old niece recently won a place at Trinity College, Oxford. Although she is one of the brightest girls at her private school, and often works through the night, she… Read more

Lies and more lies

15 January 2005

Spending any length of time in South Africa is both an uplifting and sobering experience. Uplifting because for an English visitor the days are an unbroken series of blue skies,… Read more

Peacocks on parade

1 January 2005

So many outfits in so many shapes and colours; so many ruched tight trousers, or legs encased in flowing chiffon; sharp jackets in claret or blue velvet; frilled, slit skirts… Read more

A surfeit of fish

18 December 2004

People ask me why I spend Christmas in South Africa. Why don’t I remain in England and have a proper British Christmas? Or, why don’t I go to Hungary, where… Read more

Irresponisble behaviour

11 December 2004

The other day I arrived back from a trip abroad to find the house in its usual state of working order. The boiler had burst and there was no hot… Read more

Speed eating

4 December 2004

New York Thanksgiving is a bigger marathon than Christmas. Maybe because the holiday lasts only four days instead of 12. Thus Americans feel obliged to cram as many lunches and… Read more

Scrambled eggs

6 November 2004

I don’t mind rude letters, really I don’t. I don’t mind much, actually, which probably illustrates a fatal weakness in my character. But I do mind having eggs thrown at… Read more

All change

7 August 2004

I was lunching with some friends the other day (I don’t lunch for every column, incidentally, but these happened to be friends from abroad whom I hadn’t seen for a… Read more

Vintage me

31 July 2004

The other day I was asked by a friend to a lunch party. I told her that, unfortunately, I would have to leave early as I had a very important… Read more

Over the hill

3 July 2004

The French have always enjoyed delivering snubs to les rosbifs. But now they have gone a step trop far. All red-blooded Englishmen, and loyal Englishwomen, should be inflamed this week… Read more

Pretty boys

29 May 2004

As I was sitting in the car the other day, I looked to my right and saw a billboard depicting a pair of giant legs. Glancing up, I noticed, for… Read more

Village gossip

10 January 2004

Cape Town Cape Town is as different from Johannesburg as Cheltenham is from London. Actually, this is to insult Cape Town. But whereas Jo’burg, being the country’s business capital with… Read more

Behind bars

3 January 2004

Johannesburg The South African sun is beating down on my brother’s garden. We have just returned from a shopping mall in Johannesburg. Jo’burg is full of shopping malls, massive American-style… Read more

An enduring love affair

13 December 2003

Virginia I have had for a long time a certain obsession. It began in France when I was about 14 or 15. To be exact, it began in Paris, in… Read more

Beagles and booze

29 November 2003

Virginia On a Sunday afternoon in the winter there is practically nothing that well-off people in the state of Virginia like to do more than go beagling. So it was… Read more

Shopaholic desert

20 September 2003

At dinner the other night in Washington I was sitting next to Robert Redford. Actually, this is a slight fib. I was in a restaurant called Nora’s – which, incidentally,… Read more

Putting on L-plates

6 September 2003

It seems a bit odd, learning to drive in one’s thirties. Readers will wonder why I have put it off for so long. The answer is that, as Eliza Doolittle… Read more

Wit and women

30 August 2003

At a dinner-party in Italy, from which country I have now returned, a question came up. This was, are women really bitchier than men, and, if so, why, when their… Read more