The Grande Dame of Historic Fiction was so much More!

romance, historic, fiction, Barbara CartlandYes, the snobs of the literary world might have scoffed at her pink signature Chanel suits, her poofy hats, her Pekinese dogs, and her silly romantic stories.   But, they can’t quite get around her fifty plus years of writing, resulting in over 1,000 million books sold, or the fact that she spent her life  making the world a better place.

Her name was Barbara Cartland.  I know I must have started buying her books somewhere around 1972 because one of her letters to me was dated 1975.  So I have been reading her historic, romantic fiction up until about ten years ago.  Collecting hard covers when I could find them!  I would send them to her and she would autograph them and always, always send a nice note and a little gift back to me.  Most treasured gift was a gold-gilded oak leaf from an oak tree on Barbara’s property.   The “Deer Oak”, which is said to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth the First in 1550, at the spot where she killed her first deer, is on the estate.

More bits of trivia that I found interesting as I followed this grand lady is that (by marriage) Barbara ended up being the step-grandmother to Princess Diana.   Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, was the daughter of  Barbara Cartland and married  John Spencer, the 8th Earl.  Diana was his daughter.  Let’s just say that her step-grandmother was not Princess Diana’s ‘cup of tea’ and leave it at that.

Barbara also lived at Camfield Place, Hatfield, Hertfordshire. The family still own the Estate which was originally settled on by a Knight in 1275. It once featured a Tudor Manor House which was pulled down by Beatrix Potter’s (Peter Rabbit fame) Grandfather who rebuilt the house in 1867. Beatrix Potter wrote that Camfield was the place that she loved best and where she wrote “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”. The estate features an Oak Tree, planted by H.M. Queen Elizabeth in 1550 whilst she was imprisoned at Hatfield.

‘Not only was she a successful and well-loved author but she also lived a truly amazing life which spanned two world wars.Barbara Cartland, best selling authors, romance

During the Second World War Barbara Cartland was Chief Lady Welfare Officer in Bedfordshire looking after 20,000 service men and women. She had the idea of gathering as many wedding dresses as she could for hire, (she hit up her debutant friends for their cast offs) so that service brides would have a white dress to wear on their wedding day. She bought 1,000 second hand gowns without coupons for the ATS, the WAAFS and the WRENS and made many brides’ big day, very special. In 1945 Barbara Cartland received the Certificate of Merit from Eastern Command.

In the early 1960’s she campaigned for the rights of gypsies’ to have a permanent place to live which resulted in an act of Parliament. One of the first gypsy camps was opened by Barbara Cartland in 1964 and called Barbaraville and there are now 14 in Hertfordshire. This has meant thousands of gypsies and their families have a place to call home and their children can be educated in their local area.

One of Barbara’s passions was fighting for better conditions and salaries for midwives and nurses. Through this cause she became a Dame of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, The first woman in a thousand years to receive membership. ‘ (contributor:

This was, in my opinion, an extraordinary woman by anyone’s standards.


DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   “The Writer’s Corner”

In addition to my twice weekly blog I will also feature an interview with another author once a month. These authors have already responded and you can read their interviews by clicking on their name: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal,  Karen Robards, Mark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Tasha Alexander, Patrick Taylor, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Cathy Lamb, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Raymond Benson, Andrew Grant, Heidi Jon Schmidt, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Walter Mosley, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!   Jeffrey Deaver was October’s author and Patrick Taylor will join us in November.  Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. Loretta Chase will be featured later this year. Raymond Benson is my January author.

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