A Royal presence graced the Yorkshire Post Literary Lunch yesterday as Princess Michael of Kent spoke about her latest historical novel.
Addressing a large audience at the Cairn Hotel in Harrogate, Her Royal Highness shared the little-known story of the first royal mistress of King Charles VII of France.
Her latest book, Agnés Sorel: Mistress of Beauty, is the second part of the Anjou Trilogy of historical novels based on royal life in early 15th century France.
The Princess said: “I first came to England to learn interior design. In Austria, if your house was good enough for your grandparents, it was good enough for you. Only the nouveau riche had interior designers, so only the nouveau riche had very nice houses.”
When she married Prince Michael in 1978, it was deemed inappropriate for a member of the Royal family to be in “trade,” so her mother advised her to return to her study of history and become an author. She has now written five historical novels and the first in the current trilogy, The Queen of Four Kingdoms, was published to rave reviews.
Also speaking as Anne O’Brien, whose book The King’s Sister covers a similar period in history but on the other side of the Channel.
It focuses on the young Elizabeth Plantagenet, described in one account as “wilful, wanton and highly sexed” – but the author found her role in history was surprisingly not widely known. By contrast, Hilary Boyd’s second novel, A Most Desirable Marriage, looks at life from a different angle, focusing on a long marriage which suddenly comes under threat.
Jane Thynne’s book Tips For Meanies contains a wealth of tips on thriftiness. She had a number of stories of famous spendthrifts, not least the Royal family – whom she admires for their use of Tupperware and patching up of old clothes.