Page 176. " The King died last night and Kipling died last week. "
King George, 1893
Public DomainKing George, 1893 - Credit: Bain News Service Publisher

King George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert) was born in June 1865 and died in January 1936.

The grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, he ruled over the UK and was Emperor of India during WW1, which subsequently thrived thereafter.

During King George V’s reign many political changes took place in the empire, with socialism taking a more secure foothold, alongside the equal rise of communism and fascism.

Meanwhile, 'Jungle Book' author Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) penned popular poetry and short stories towards the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

The Nobel Prize winner, the first English language writer to win the accolade, was highly regarded in literary circles and was even offered a knighthood, which he declined to take.

Themes throughout Kipling’s work included that of British imperialism, as well as stories of British soldiers in India.

Kipling’s children’s stories remain as celebrated today as they ever were.

Rudyard Kipling on Book Drum

Page 182. " I wanted to see the Velazquez self-portrait "

Spanish painter/portrait artist Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660) thrived during the Baroque period and was a popular presence in the court of King Philip IV – indeed, he painted many portraits of the Spanish Royal family.

Testament to his talent is the fact that fellow artistes, namely Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, later recreated some of Velázquez’s artwork.

Click here to view the Velazquez self-portrait.

Page 183. " Nothing but the Royal Crisis in the newspapers "
Abdication Act 1936
Public DomainAbdication Act 1936 - Credit: Edward VII

The 'Royal Crisis' was of course, the abdication of the short-reigning King/Emperor Edward VIII in 1936.

Choosing to wed his American socialite, Wallis Simpson rather than retain rule of the UK and India, a constitutional crisis was subsequently caused in the British Empire. Opposed to the marriage was, quite frankly, everyone – the UK governments and also the autonomous Dominions of the British Commonwealth.

The King’s scandal evoked moral outrage, political, legal and…religious, for as Head of the Church of England, which did not permit marriage to someone whose ex-spouses were still alive, it did not look good.

Nevertheless, love, for the King, prevailed and he followed his heart and abdicated his right to rule in December 1936, becoming simply, His Royal Highness the Duke of Windsor. He married in 1937.

Page 194. " Joan Miro (1893-1983), Catalan artist. Hemingway owned 'The Farm' "

Spanish painter and sculptor Joan Miró i Ferrà (1893-1983) was Barcelona-born and made his name in surrealist art, indeed, pioneered the way forward for this particular artistic style.