The Queen attends Jane Austen talk
Her Majesty the Queen recently attended a talk on Jane Austen by royal historian and television presenter Lucy Worsley, hosted by the Sandringham and West Newton branch of the Women’s Institute to mark the bicentenary of the author’s death.
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Worsley is no stranger to presenting to the Women's Institute, but admitted that this was a nerve-wracking event with the most amazing of audiences. The historian, who is also joint chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces, discussed Jane Austen, the bicentennial year and the new bank note featuring the author with the Queen and more than thirty other members. “I was [going] to say she’s going to be the first woman on the banknote then I thought ‘no she’s not […] she’s going to be the second’ [after] the Queen, sitting there in the front row,” she added.
The group then went on to discuss their favourite Austen books, but Worsley would not reveal the Queen’s personal preference.The talk formed part of the Queen’s annual visit to the local branch of the WI during her stay on her Sandringham estate, a visit which also included the presentation of prizes for chocolate cake and patchwork, a comic performance of Cinderella by members of the WI and the traditional afternoon tea. The Queen is president of the branch, and has been a member since 1943, joining as a young Princess Elizabeth. “It’s a subject I care about,’ Worsley continued. ‘My life is really about discovering things about forgotten people. Austen is not a forgotten person but someone I care a lot about.’
Her talk to the Queen is only the beginning of Worsley’s bicentennial celebrations of Austen’s life. Her major new biography, Jane Austen at Home, is due to be published this summer, in which Worsley will explore what home meant to Austen through the places and possessions which mattered to her. Explaining why she was excited by this new project, Worsley said: “Her novels created so many of our ideas, even today, about happiness, marriage and relationships, and indeed about the nature of love. I am hugely excited […] to begin revisiting the places where those iconic characters and stories were created.” The new book will be complemented by a nationwide series of talks on Austen, further details of which can be found on Worsley’s website.
For further information read: http://www.lynnnews.co.uk, The Crown Chronicles, The Bookseller and lucyworsley.com
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