The Library Society is delighted to welcome authors and historians Jane Marguerite Tippett and Martin Williams for their first State-side book discussion on the diverse but complementary approaches they adopted when researching and writing about the lives and reigns of King Edward VII (r. 1841-1910) and his grandson, King Edward VIII (r. 1936), later Duke of Windsor. Tippett hit gold with access to untapped archival materials, while Williams, finding himself unable to access the Royal Archives because of the COVID-19 pandemic, instead utilised primary and secondary sources derived from a host of other archives across England and Ireland. Providing a fascinating juxtaposition of monarchs, as well as the methodologies and practices of biographer historians in the twenty-first century, their presentation will explore what drew them to their respective subjects, and how they came to shape such compelling and original narratives.
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$25 – Members or $35 – General Admission
About Jane Tippett:
Jane Tippett is a historian and archivist. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a BA in French, History and English Literature. She received her MSt. in History of Art from Wadham College, Oxford, where she wrote her dissertation on the centrality of provenance in the contemporary fine art auction market. Since graduating she has worked as a private archivist to high-net-worth families and interior design firms in New York City, Boston, and London. Once A King: The Lost Memoir of Edward VIII (Hodder & Stoughton, October 2023) is her first book. Her next book, Monsieur, which will be published in May 2024, is a survey of the photographic work of Patrick O’Higgins, the biographer and longtime companion of Helena Rubinstein. She currently lives between New York and London.
About Once a King: The Lost Memoir of Edward VIII:
Using never-before-seen sources, Once a King is a fresh, revelatory and gripping insight into the Duke of Windsor – King Edward VIII – who gave up the throne to marry the woman he loved, twice divorced American Wallis Simpson. Considering Edward VIII’s travels and interests as Prince of Wales as well as his relationship with Wallis Simpson and the course of events leading up to his abdication and subsequent exile, Once a King offers a previously unexplored lens through which we encounter first-hand the hitherto concealed subtlety and raw emotion of two of the twentieth century’s most iconic Royal figures: the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
About Martin Williams:
Martin Williams is a London-based writer and art and social historian who has worked at Christie’s, Bonhams and Sotheby’s Institute of Art. A highly experienced public speaker, he has addressed literary festivals, academic symposiums and private members’ groups across the UK, besides contributing essays and reviews to the arts and literature pages of Country Life and Slightly Foxed. His Instagram account, @disraeli81, has acquired over 21,000 followers worldwide. Williams’ first full-length work of narrative non-fiction, The King is Dead, Long Live the King!, was published by Hodder & Stoughton in April 2023. A London Times ‘Book of the Week’, it has variously been described as ‘fascinating and absorbing’ (Hugo Vickers), ‘witty, informative and immensely readable’ (Miranda Seymour), ‘a tour de force’ (Dr Kate Strasdin) and ‘compulsory reading’ (Dame Joanne Lumley). In December 2023, it was selected by Country Life magazine as a ‘Best Book of the Year’.
About The King is Dead, Long Live the King:
Unforgettable as it was, the public response to the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022 was not without precedent. When her great-grandfather King Edward VII – glamorous, cosmopolitan and extraordinarily popular – died in May 1910, the political, social and cultural anxieties of a nation in turmoil were temporarily set aside during a summer of intense and ritualised mourning.
In The King is Dead, Long Live the King! Martin Williams charts a period of tension and transition as one era slipped away and another took shape. Witnessed by a diverse but interconnected cast of characters – crowned heads and Cabinet ministers, debutantes and suffragettes, artists and murderers – here is the swansong of Edwardian Britain. Set against a backdrop of bereavement and parliamentary crisis overshadowed by the gathering clouds of war, we see a people caught between past and future, tradition and modernity, as they unite to bid farewell to a much-loved monarch who had personified his age.
From Buckingham Palace to Bloomsbury, and from the lying-in-state in Westminster Hall to a now legendary Royal Ascot enveloped in black, this is a vivid evocation of a world on the brink of seismic upheaval.