The Imperial Tea Party; Family, politics and betrayal: the ill-fated British and Russian royal alliance

 
9781780723068: The Imperial Tea Party; Family, politics and betrayal: the ill-fated British and Russian royal alliance
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** The Times Book of the Week**
**The Daily Mail Book of the Week**

The British and Russian royal families met properly only three times before the Romanovs' tragic end in 1918. The Imperial Tea Party draws back the curtain on those pivotal encounters; encounters that had far-reaching consequences for 20th-century Europe and beyond.


Russia and Britain were never natural bedfellows. But the marriage, in 1894, of Queen Victoria s favourite granddaughter, Alicky, to the Tsarevich Nicholas marked the beginning of an uneasy Anglo-Russian entente that would last until the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The three extraordinary meetings that took place during those years, although well-intentioned and generally hailed as successes, were beset by misunderstandings and misfortunes. During their visit to Balmoral, the Tsar took to his room with toothache, and both he and the Tsarina complained about the appalling weather. And their criticisms were later matched by complaints from British courtiers about the Russians hospitality - the food, the music, the slow service...

In this wonderfully waspish account, Frances Welch presents a vivid snapshot of two dynasties at a time of social unrest. The two families could not know, as they waved each other fond goodbyes from their yachts at Cowes in 1909, that they would never meet again. The assassination of the Tsar and his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918 horrified King George, and whether things might have turned out differently if he had accepted their plea for refuge has been the subject of speculation ever since.

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Review:

"A deeply affecting book about the meetings of the Russian and British royal families in the years before the Russian Revolution". - Daily Mail

"An excellent history ... Welch has a gossip columnist s nose for a story. Intrigue aplenty. She strikes the balance between parties and pathos." - The Times

"A fascinating book that explores the close, if increasingly fraught, links between the Russian and British royal houses... Welch is an excellent writer." - The Daily Telegraph

"In this funny, touching and ultimately tragic book, Frances Welch brilliantly exposes how the British family courted and then abandoned their royal cousins in the run­up to World War I." - The Mail on Sunday -

"In juxtaposing the trivial with the monumental and the intensely personal with the inconceivably remote, this book shines a light into an extraordinary, intermittently hilarious and ultimately tragic corner of 20th-century diplomacy." - Country Life -

"This is a delightful witty and entertaining book... Frances Welch captures perfectly the pathos and banality of the Russian Imperial Family, locked in a Faberge-encrusted cage of domesticity and baby language." - Jane Ridley, The Times Literary Supplement-

'Reading her books is rather like reading the novels of Ivy Compton-Burnett: accounts of rarefied, claustrophobic worlds, featuring strange, intense relationships, and with a strong tendency to wander conversationally from subject to subject, place to place and person to person.' - The Spectator -

' Frances Welch has a sharp eye for a quote... and knows her subject well... an entertaining, informative book.' - The Literary Review ---

About the Author:

Frances Welch is the author of Rasputin (2014), The Russian Court at Sea (2011), Romanov Fantasy (2008) and Sydney Gibbes: Tutor to the Children of the Last Tsar (2004), all published by Short Books. Frances Welch has written for The Sunday Telegraph, Granta, The Spectator and The Financial Times. She lives in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

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