Hugo Vickers was born in 1951 and educated at Eton and Strasbourg University. His books include Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece; Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough; Cecil Beaton; Vivien Leigh; Loving Garbo; Royal Orders; The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; and The Kiss, which won the 1996 Stern Silver Pen for Non-fiction. He is an acknowledged expert on the royal family, appears regularly on television and has lectured all over the world. Hugo Vickers is married and has two sons and a daughter.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 14 April 2011. The author has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Royal Family, and has had a fascination with the story of the Duchess of Windsor since he was a young man. This book brings a fresh perspective on the story by focussing on the later years of exile.
Hugo Vickers has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Royal Family, and has had a fascination with the story of the Duchess of Windsor since he was a young man. There have been a number of books about this doomed couple, but this book brings a new perspective on the story by focussing on the later years of exile. While Vickers has his own theories about the Abdication itself, and he makes it very clear that Mrs Simpson did not lure the King from the throne, the drama of this narrative comes from the criminal exploitation of an old sick woman after the death of her husband. She was ruthlessly exploited by a French lawyer called Suzanne Blum. Some members of the Royal Family, like Mountbatten and the Queen Mother, don't emerge with much credit either. Hugo Vickers relates a tragic story which has lost none of its resonance over the years since the Duchess died in 1986.
Harold Nicolson called her 'the greatest Queen since Cleopatra', while Cecil Beaton called her 'a marshmallow made on a welding machine'. Stephen Tennant said: 'She looked everything that she was not: gentle, gullible, tenderness mingled with dispassionate serenity, cool, well-bred, remote. Behind this veil she schemed and vacillated, hard as nails.' Who was she? The Queen Mother's story has not yet been properly told. This was partly due to her long life, and the difficulty that always exists when a biography of a living person is attempted, partly because she was a queen - and the real person gets hidden behind the perceived image - and partly because she is hard to pin down. From her privileged aristocratic childhood, to the Abdication and the problems with Diana - this book questions how she faced her challenges and crises, assesses her role, how powerful she was, and how she coped. This is a candid, personal portrait of one of Britain's most loved national treasures. Hugo Vickers, an acknowledged expert on the House of Windsor, has spent seventeen years researching this book, and observed the Queen Mother in public and private over a period of forty years.
Greta Garbo's enduring legend derives from her incandescent performances as a woman in love in such classics as Camille, Queen Christina and Grand Hotel. For half a century her apparently reclusive existence enhanced her reputation as a remote and enigmatic screen goddess. Now, in this beautifully illustrated book, Hugo Vickers tells the remarkable story of Greta Garbo and of the two love affairs that dominated her life: with Cecil Beaton and the notorious Mercedes de Acosta. It is a highly revealing portait of an exotic world - at its centre, an enthrallign and demanding star who gave little in return.