Daughters of Britannia : the Lives and Times of Diplomatic WivesBook - 1999
Drawing on diaries, memoirs, and personal correspondence, explores the private world of the wives of foreign service diplomats, examining the challenges, hardships, and pageantry of the lives of nearly one hundred women, including Vita Sackville-West, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and Lady Diana Cooper.
In an absorbing mixture of poignant biography and wonderfully entertaining social history, Daughters of Britannia offers the story of diplomatic life as it has never been told before.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Vita Sackville-West and Lady Diana Cooper are among the wellknown wives of diplomats who represented Britain in the far-flung corners of the globe. Yet, despite serving such crucial roles, the vast majority of these women are entirely unknown to history. Who was Mrs Vigor, gossiping from St Petersburg in the 1730s about the intrigues of the imperial court, or Miss Tully, incarcerated in the British consulate in famine-torn Tripoli on the eve of the French Revolution?
Drawing on letters, private journals and memoirs, as well as contemporary oral history, Katie Hickman explores not only the public pomp and glamour of diplomatic life, but also the most intimate, private face of this most fascinating and rays mysterious world. Far from leading pampered lives of luxury and privilege, many women endured harsh, isolated circumstances that they continuously met with remarkable resourcefulness and strength: journeys could take many months to complete, medical facilities were often primitive or nonexistent and young children frequently died due to the conditions, not to mention wars, kidnappings and assassination attempts.
Katie Hickman balances stories of high drama with detailed recollections of domestic life in which women faced such daily challenges as getting their husbands' shirt fronts suitably boiled and starched in the wilds of Xinkiang or finding the right size bulletproof vest in which to do the gardening in Beirut. Touching on the lives of nearly a hundred diplomatic wives (as well as sisters and daughters), Daughters of Britannia is a brilliant and compelling account of more than three centuries of British diplomacy as seen through the eyes of some of its most intrepid but least heralded participants.
Drawing on diaries, memoirs, and personal correspondence, this fascinating study explores the private world of the wives of foreign service diplomats, examining the challenges, hardships, and pageantry of the lives of nearly one hundred women, including Vita Sackville-West, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and Lady Diana Cooper. 35,000 first printing.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 311-314) and index.