Thursday, 24 January 2008

That charming, plaguey Justin

Does anybody else live on 'Cloud Nine' when planning their novels? I
love this part of the process of novel writing.

But Justin, my new hero, is intrusive. He won't go away. He is so
demanding that when thinking of him I nearly burned the spaghetti
sauce while cleaning the dining room table. And his partner to be is
taking shape in my mind - both her characteristics and physical
appearance. Oh dear, amongst other things, Justin wants me to go on
a shopping spree with him to make sure I know what he likes and
dislikes. And he's so bossy he will soon be writing letters to me
to tell me all about himself, where he was born, who his parents are
etc., etc, but I'm sure it will be interesting

But please, pretty please, Justin and whatever your name don't wake
me up in the middle of the night again to ask my advice, I need my

All the best,


Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Queen Anne - Part Two

Queen Anne – Part 2

Princess Anne’s mother died and her father, James, Duke of York, had taken the unpopular step of becoming a Roman Catholic. Her uncle, the childless King Charles II, knew politics demanded his heirs, Anne and her elder sister, Mary, be raised in the Protestant faith. He appointed Lady Frances Villiers, a committed Anglican, as their governess and leased Richmond palace to Frances and her husband.

The princesses benefited from country air and were privileged to live by the Thames in those days when, due to bad roads, the river was of great importance.

Anne’s indulgent father visited his daughters regularly, showered them with gifts and often stayed for several nights at Richmond Palace. Yet all was not well with the family. In 1673, due to the Test Act, which excluded anyone who did not take communion in the Anglican Church from public office, James was forced to resign as Lord High Admiral and to give up all his other official positions. In that age of fervent religious allegiances, I wonder what effect religious controversy and on Anne, a stubborn child.

What did Anne think when her father married fifteen year old Mary? History relates that James was captivated by his bride. Looking at a copy of her portrait, I’m not surprised. She was tall with a good figure, jet black hair, a fair skin and large eyes that her contemporaries at court described as ‘full of sweetness and light’. The proud bridegroom introduced his new wife to his daughters as a ‘playmate’ but Anne formed a bond, not with her stepmother, whose children would be raised in the Roman Catholic faith, but with vivacious Sarah Churchill, who would have such a profound influence on Anne’s life.

Motherless Anne, a Protestant ‘Cinderella’ of her times, has all the ingredients of a fictional heroine, but what would she make of her life? After all, she belonged to the tragic Stuart family.

It is in ‘Cinderella’s life and times that I have set my novel Tangled Hearts and am setting my new novel, Tangled Lives.

Rosemary Morris

Tangled Hearts available from, Amazon and in bookshops.

Queen Anne - Part One

My novel, Tangled Hearts, is set in the reign of Queen Anne a ‘Cinderella’ princess of little importance during her childhood.

At he birth, neither her uncle, Charles II, nor her father, James, Duke of York, imagined she would become the last of the Stuart monarchs. After all, Charles’ seven bastards proved his virility and there was every reason to believe he and his queen of three years would have legitimate heirs to the throne. And in the unlikely event of their not producing one, his brother and sister-in-law, James and Anne, had produced an elder brother and sister for the latest addition to their nursery, Baby Anne.

In those days infant mortality was high. The son ‘Cinderella’s’ mother carried when she married only lived for six months. But Anne and her older sister, Mary, survived the Great Plague which broke out in the year of her birth. The little princesses grew up in their nursery but their brother James, another brother and two little sisters died. One can imagine the effects of these deaths on ‘Cinderella’, a small girl with poor health whose weak eyes watered constantly.

Doubtless, it was with the best of intentions that with the consent of ‘Cinderella’s’ uncle, the king, her parents sent the four year old to her grandmother, widow of the executed Charles I, who now lived in France.

As I write, I have before me a portrait of Anne as a small girl painted by an unknown artist at the French Court. She is plump and adorable, dressed in brocade and playing with a King Charles spaniel. Her eyes are wary set in an oval face with a mouth shaped in a perfect cupid’s bow.

In 1699, after Anne’s grandmother died, the little girl passed into the care of her father’s sister, Henrietta Maria, Duchess of Orleans, whom Anne’s uncle, the King of England doted on. In 1670 five year old Anne had to cope with yet another death, this time that of her aunt, whose husband, younger brother of the French king, was suspected of poisoning her.

Anne returned to England, her eyes only slightly improved, to be reunited with her parents. By then her mother was unpopular because she had converted to the Church of Rome and her father, who in 1699, gave serious consideration to his salvation took Holy Communion from a papist priest. Her parents’ decisions would have a long term effect on the young princess Anne’s future.