Category Archives: Miscellany

Italian pride

Stendhal’s love of gossip, acerbic comment and piercing observation throw up a continual stream of delight. Here he is, in 1816, on Italian pride speaking truth to power. In Bologna, it would take more courage than I possess to hint … Continue reading

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Jefferson on French ladies

Thomas Jefferson on the difference in life styles between Frenchwomen and American ladies

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Unreal nobility

I already knew that pre-revolutionary France had a great many people were aristocrats – they throng the pages of Nancy Mitford and Antonia Fraser – but I was unaware how many were fake. Now I am fascinated to read that … Continue reading

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Their Majesties’ descent

Who gets to be queen consort to a British king?  For centuries, the answer was simple: only a lady with regnal rank would do.  But that started changing in 1893.  From that date onwards, there has been something of a … Continue reading

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Shrinking monarchy

Whenever it is, the next coronation in Westminster Abbey will, one hopes, not include some of the more recherché features of the last one, in 1953.  Charles III, presuming it is he, will sign up to a job rather different … Continue reading

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Who knows where MH370 is?

When the search for Osama Bin Laden was over, there were some parts of the media prepared to say that his whereabouts had been known all along.  The allegation was that senior figures in Pakistani national security kept that secret … Continue reading

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Justice in the round

One of the many things I find strange about te English judicial system is the way that Crown courts are laid out physically.  It might be a trivial observation, but I fail to see how using what appears to be … Continue reading

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