Britannia's Oddballs: The Forgotten Characters who Won and Lost the British Empire

The key players in the rise and fall of the British Empire are household names – Nelson, Wellington, Churchill. However, Britannia’s rise to ‘rule the waves’ owes much to many minor actors, now forgotten or written out of history. This book redresses that, re-introducing the reader to a rich cast of characters, including the cross-dressing Governor of New York; Mary Baker who convinced society (and possibly Napoleon) that she was Princess Caraboo of Jevasu; and Brigadier General John Nicholson, who inspired a religious cult in India that still exists today..

Uneasy Crowns: Fifty stories of Royal Mental Illness from the Mildly Eccentric to the Criminally Insane

‘Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown’, wrote Shakespeare, and that unease is all the greater when the monarch is mentally ill. The tragic characters portrayed in Uneasy Crowns range from the harmless, such as the Princess who thought she had swallowed a glass piano – to the homicidal, like the Pope who murdered six Cardinals. Today, the few remaining ruling houses are less affected by mental illness than in the past, due mainly to antibiotics and populism. The first has eliminated syphilis and the second has allowed the royal gene pool to be bolstered by spouses from the middle and working classes, thereby reducing or eliminating hereditary insanity and the unfortunate side-effects of in-breeding.

Britannia's Piles: The Forgotten Places and Things of the British Empire

The history of the British Empire is usually referenced by dates, battles and people but little is known about the forgotten places that were key to historic events. For example, at the Battle of Waterloo, a house in the village was both Wellington’s headquarters and the final resting place of the severed leg of Wellington’s cavalry commander, the Earl of Uxbridge. Still less is known about the monuments and mementos of Empire – the figurehead from Nelson’s funeral car or Coronation Memorial Park in Delhi, now a derelict garden. These sites, their history, and the bizarre stories and people associated with them, all feature in this book.

Britannia's Ladies: The Forgotten Women of the British Empire

Often overlooked in the history of the British Empire are the many women who played a variety of role – from the admirable to the notorious =- in its development. This book looks at the lives of more than 30 influential or infamous women, including Phoebe Hessel (1713-1821), who enlisted in the 5th Regiment of Foot as a man, fought at the Battle of Fontenoy and lived to the incredible age of 108; fearless archaeologist and adventurer Lady Hester Stanhope (1776-1839); Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of Byron, mathematician, and arguably the first computer programmer; Isabella Bird (1831-1904), the first female member of the Royal Geographical Society; and Dorothy Lawrence (1896-1964), war reporter and soldier who served on the front line in WWI.

Anecdotal Evidence: A Memoir of Three Generations

Anecdotal Evidence provides vignettes of the rich, famous, royal and infamous characters associated over three generations with the author’s family.