Tuesday December 6th was what I would call historic! Meeting in
historic Windsor Guildhall, surrounded by paintings of Queen Elizabeth with most of her relatives, where her son Prince Charles and Camilla tied the knot here. But the icing on our GM Christmas pudding was our Special Speaker - fascinating, award winning historian, biographer and novelist Simon Sebag Montefiore. Yes, the internet can't hold a well dipped candle to love letters from Imperial Russia. Not after Simon Sebag Montefiore has uncovered long held secrets from the Russian archives.
Simon's illustrious career started in finance but soon changed to war correspondent and journalist where he found himself in the middle of the Russian revolution. As a biographer and historian he was fortunate to gain access to the Russian historical archives not long after 3,000 - 4,000 rather romantic (shall we say) private letters between Catherine the Great and Prince Potemkin were rediscovered, a treasure trove of source material from which he penned his biography "Catherine The Great & Potemkin, The Imperial Love Affair." His latest biography, "The Romanovs", has been optioned by none other than Angelina Jolie. I'm sure she will make full use of the twisted tale Simon has teased apart for us! Can't wait to read it!
We were also gifted with historical tales which a volunteer docent of Guildhall, Brigitte, shared about Guildhall itself. Apparently Prince Philip was a tad dismayed the painting of himself in his later years faced opposite one his lovely wife Queen Elizabeth II when she was still young Princess Elizabeth, making himself appear "old", so he said. I thought his quite dapper, personally, but then who doesn't like a man in a uniform?
Many thanks to AWBS member Ann McCormack for leading the question and answer section of the meeting, to Julie McLemore for the lovely festive holiday themed slides and especially to the ever amazing Sunita Shroff for pulling together this memorable holiday general meeting. What a great team!
Warmest of Holidays to you all,