I think the ingredients for a good book are a rags to riches tale, power, injustice and beautiful people with maybe a dash of royalty thrown in. So I was delighted to hear about Princess Michael of Kent’s new novel Quicksilver, the third in her Anjou trilogy, which seems to have all the elements.
I had the perfect opportunity to find out all the details about this book as the Princess’s friends Richard and Basia Briggs (pictured below with the Princess) hosted a party at their Chelsea home to officially launch it.
During the party, the Princess gave a clever speech to tease guests into reading the book. Often authors explain so much and bore all the guests in their speeches and put people off, but the Princess’s talk had the opposite effect as she explained the book’s remarkable characters.
There’s the rags to riches tale with central character Jacques Coeur, who was born to a lower bourgeoisie family and whose father was a lowly farrier in 15th century France. With clever business deals, he became one of France’s top merchants and earned the confidences of the Anjou royal family and particularly Yolande, Queen of the Four Kingdoms. He was also a trusted friend of the society beauty Agnes Sorrel, King Charles VII favourite mistress. Already we have royalty, beauty, rags to riches and power.
And then there’s injustice as Jacques’ power and generosity becomes his downfall and other people in power will try anything to make him lose his position. What happens to Jacques is shocking but I won’t ruin the surprise.
Jonathan Aitken, who has written best-selling biographies, must have been a bit jealous about how many twists and turns the Princess’s book had. He bought a copy of the book to keep an eye on the competition.
It was great to see that the Princess’s family at the event, who all looked so proud of her. Prince Michael doesn’t always attend social gatherings but he stayed for ages and Lord Freddie Windsor, their son, was in awe during the Princess’s speech and congratulated his mother afterwards.