Wellingtons Through History

Weidenfeld & Nicholson published Wellington: A Journey Through My Family by Lady Jane Wellesley. Lady Jane is the daughter of the present 8th Duke of Wellington. Her book takes readers a bit haphazardly but amusingly on a ride through 200 years of family history spiced with many anecdotes.

French Princess or Changeling: The Sister of Louis XVII

Princess Marie-Thérèse of France was born the only legitimate daughter of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. Together with her parents and her brother Louis XVII, she was imprisoned by the republicans in the Temple. Her illegitimate half-sister Ernestine wasn't imprisoned with them, though, and added another unsolvable puzzle to the French Revolution.

Christina, the Female King of Sweden

Christina of Sweden was five when her father King Gustav II Adolf fell in the battle of Lützen. Upon his death, her mother Queen Maria Eleonora was put under house arrest and exiled to castle Gripshom. On the express wish of the king, Christina was raised and trained as a prince and not a princess. At 16, she declined to co-rule with a regency council; instead she took full control at 18 when coming of age.

Bern: Seat of The Swiss Federal Government

Bern (or Berne, or Berna) is usually referred to as the capital of Switzerland, which it isn't. The first mistake lies in calling the Confoederatio Helvetica Switzerland; Switzerland doesn't exist. And of the Helvetian Confederation, it is the seat of the Federal Government and as such is quite simply called Federal City and never capital. The Swiss constitution shuns the term capital. Bern's history goes back quite a long way before all that happened, and part of that history allows you to go shopping in town on a rainy day without getting wet.

The First Family of Science: The Piccard Scientists

'The First Family of Science' was a sentence coined for the Piccard family which has produced an unbroken line of explorers and scientists over four generations. The latest scion is Bertrand Piccard, the man who surrounded the globe in a hot air balloon. And now we are all waiting for him to do the same with the first aircraft powered by solar power only: Solar Impulse.