Thursday, 5 January 2012

Book news: Some royal books expected in 2012

As usual I will begin the new year with a survey of some of the books due to be published this year. The royal weddings and jubilees of 2010 and 2011 helped make those two years unusually rich on the book front, but 2012 also has some jubilees and related books to offer.
First out is Queen Margrethe II of Denmark’s jubilee next week. The museums at Amalienborg and Frederiksborg will both host exhibitions to mark her forty years on the throne and the former will focus on the Queen’s dresses. To accompany the exhibition Katia Johansen, who has for many years been a curator at the Royal Collections, has written Dronningens kjoler, which will be out next week.
The recent TV show on royal jewels is expected to result in a book to be published by Lindhardt og Ringhof in April, titled De kongelige juveler, written by Anna von Lowzow and Bjarne Steen Jensen. Anna von Lowzow is identical with Anna Lerche, a filmmaker at Nordisk Film who some may remember for her work on the A Royal Family series and book nearly ten years ago, while Bjarne Steen Jensen considers himself a jewellery expert and is the author of the not very reliable Juvelerne i det danske kongehus.
While Queen Margrethe celebrates her forty years on the throne, her third cousin Queen Elizabeth II of Britain will on 6 February be able to mark the sixtieth anniversary of her accession. Several books have already been published to mark the diamond jubilee – among them books by Robert Hardman, Andrew Marr and Sarah Bradford, of which I will post reviews in the foreseeable future – and on Tuesday Sally Bedell Smith, author of several well-received biographies, will join the rank of Elizabeth II biographers with her Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, of nearly 700 pages, to be published by Penguin.
The British historian Kate Williams’s contribution to the jubilee is Young Elizabeth: The Making of Our Queen, to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on 12 April. I suppose this slim volume (208 pages) may be considered some sort of sequel to Williams’s similar book on Queen Victoria of Britain.
This will, by the way, not be Williams’s only book this year; in June her biography of the Empress Joséphine of the French, Mistress of Empires: The Extraordinary Life of Josephine Bonaparte, will be published by Hutchinson.
February will also see the 75th birthday of King Harald V of Norway, on which occasion the National Museum will open the first of their six exhibitions based on the Royal Collections. The exhibitions will be accompanied by a sumptuous book titled Arv og tradisjon – De kongelige samlinger, which will be published by Orfeus and contain contributions by Tor Bomann-Larsen, Per Egil Hegge, Nina Høye, Ingeborg Anna Lønning, Knut Ljøgodt, Widar Halén, Bjørn Høie, Knut Ormhaug, Jan Haug, Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen and myself.
Also on the occasion of the King’s 75th birthday Dag Erik Pedersens has written Idrettskongen, an authorised book on the King’s interest in sports, which will be published by Gyldendal. The Queen will turn 75 in July and in the autumn Gyldendal will publish the much-awaited authorised biography of her, written by Ingar Sletten Kolloen.
The 150th anniversary of the death of Prince Consort Albert of Britain in December 1861 was recently commemorated by a conference on male consorts in history and I hear that this conference will result in a book. Meanwhile I. B. Tauris has published two biographies of such consorts, namely Jules Stewart’s Albert: A Life and Harry Kelsey’s Philip of Spain, King of England: The Forgotten Sovereign. Although both these books bear the date 2012 they did actually go on sale before Christmas.
Another British book expected this year is Jane Ridley’s Bertie: A Biography of Edward VII, which has been postponed at least twice.

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