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Victoria to Vikings - The Circle of Blood by Trisha Hughes - Book Tour

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Victoria to Vikings – The Circle of Blood

At the heart of our present are the stories of our past. In ages gone by, many monarchs died while they were still young. There were battles and diseases and many were simply overthrown. But the days of regal engagement in hand-to-hand combat are over and the line of succession has a good ageing prospect these days.
One of the most famous monarchs in history is Queen Victoria and her passing brought an end to an amazing era. She could be demanding, rude and she frequently fled public duties for the solitude of Scotland. But she loved fiercely, and her people loved her fiercely in return. Under her reign, England achieved greatness it had never known before.
‘VICTORIA TO VIKINGS – The Circle of Blood’ spans from this great queen to another one: Queen Elizabeth II. Ours is the era of the longest living monarch in history and her ancestry is incredible. But walking two steps behind her, stalwart and loyal, stands Prince Philip, the strawberry to her champagne, and with him comes his own amazing Viking heritage.

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Early morning fog lay heavily over the Thames on Friday 11th December 1936. The river wound sluggishly through London as dark clouds collected on the horizon, turning it dishwater grey in the gathering gloom. Slowly, the fog lifted revealing Fort Belvedere in Windsor Great Park as a rambling turreted lodge. For 40-year-old Albert, younger brother of David, King Edward VIII, it was the most distressing day of his life.
For days before, Albert had not been welcome at Fort Belvedere, even though he had tried repeatedly to talk to his brother. When he arrived, the press were already camped outside and a myriad of flashbulbs went off simultaneously to catch a glimpse of the distraught prince for a worldwide audience. Everyone knew that the British monarchy was being shaken to its very core.
Once inside the gates, the uproar ceased as Albert was led through a hallway to where his brother waited for him. A few officials whispered quietly in respectful conversations but as Albert entered, they ceased talking. The unseen presence in the room was Wallis. Albert had no doubt that it was she who was the catalyst that was bringing the four brothers together that morning. She was the presence who had brought David to this point to sign away his birth right.
On a writing table, small elegant crystal glasses and a jug of water waited on a gleaming silver tray. Beside them sat copies of the Instrument of Abdication ready for David to sign.  Each copy needed to be signed and witnessed by each of his brothers as the kingdom and empire was transferred from one brother to the other. When that was done, Albert would be the next king of England as King George VI. All that was needed was David’s signature to make it official.
Albert was in shock. Nothing had prepared him for this calamity. Although painfully aware of his own weakness, he fully understood his older brother’s failings. The passion that burnt in Albert’s chest had never burnt brightly in David’s. There were too many rules and too many regulations for him. It had been less than a year since their father had died and Albert shared his mother’s bewilderment that the monarchy was being plunged headlong into this crisis. His mother and father had brought all boys up to believe that the monarchy was “something sacred” and every monarch had the responsibility and obligation to put the country before anything else. But here was David, abdicating because his wish was to marry a divorced woman already in possession of “two husbands living”. The newspapers had exploded with the news and the scandal had been splashed over the headlines in every paper, both in Britain, in Europe and throughout the Commonwealth. Suddenly, the monarchy was tainted, perhaps destroyed. But in that room on that morning, there was no hint that David was bending under the strain.
Albert still couldn’t believe what was happening. In his eyes, his brother had qualities that he would never have. Just one week before, David was the life and soul of a dinner party, while Albert was happy to stay quiet, dull and reserved. As always, David had dazzled everyone as he talked about labour problems in South Wales. Albert never imagined he would be able to match his legendary older brother, much less replace him. For most of his life, he had never lived up to anyone’s expectations of being a royal.
Albert had seen the danger in the approaching months as David paraded Wallis on his arm around London. He knew that behind the figure-hugging satins was a determined, strong woman with an incredible belief in herself. Life out of the limelight was not what she had in mind. She wanted to be royal and acknowledged in every bow and every curtsey. At the very least, she wanted her royal sisters-in-law to show her some sort of respect. She was the one who had captured David’s heart and she wanted everything that he had promised her. And she was prepared to fight for it.
To Albert, the storm his brother created was excruciating. David was known the world over while Albert had managed to stay quietly in the background. It meant that when David stepped down, pictures had to be hastily found of Albert and the newspapers played the family card. Pictures of the awkward Duke, his wife Elizabeth and his pretty daughters, 10-year-old Elizabeth and 6-year-old Margaret were discovered and overnight the family became public property. Pictures surfaced of his wife on a blanket with her Welsh corgi, looking motherly, as she played in the garden with the dark-haired princesses in identical dresses. She looked plain, not elegant like Wallis, but to Albert she was utterly wonderful. Only the day before, crowds had gathered outside their Piccadilly home, hoping for a glimpse of their new king, and he had felt like he was on the edge of an abyss.
Now the dreaded event was becoming a reality. The time had come for David to sign the pages that would change history. Albert watched as David moved slowly towards the writing table and the room fell silent as he picked up the pen. All three brothers simultaneously held their breath, hardly daring to move, as David’s pen poised over the page. Then without any more delay, the pen scratched over the page and it was done. In that one moment, the world tilted and Albert and David swapped places in history.
As soon as David put the pen down, he glanced at Albert as if trying to see inside his heart. To anyone watching the pair, David looked like a swimmer coming up for air while Albert stared in dread at his brother. Without another word spoken, the four brothers shook hands and parted.

Author Bio –  
I am an Australian author born in Brisbane, Queensland now living in Hong Kong.  My writing career began 18 years ago with my best-selling autobiography ‘Daughters of Nazareth’ published by Pan MacMillan Australia.  Over the past 8 years, I have been researching and writing a historical fiction trilogy based on British Monarchy throughout the ages beginning with the Vikings. Originally meant to be a single book, as facts accumulated the material gradually filled three books. I call this series my V2V trilogy. 

Social Media Links –
Twitter:      @TrishaHughes_
Pinterest:   Trisha Hughes
Linkedin:    Trisha Hughes

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