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I have, in point of fact, already blogged about this subject once before. Upon reading aforementioned blog however, I was disappointed with it. I really had not done the era justice and as such (as well as the fact I am a Regency Romance novelist and shall never tire of blogging on the time period), I thought I would redeem myself by writing another post.
Wow, I said that confidently, all I have to say now is *notallguaranteed*.
As some of you may already know, my debut novel, currently known as, The Debtor’s Redeemer, is coming out later this year (exciting!). I want to give you little tasters of what the novel is about and why I wrote it. It is set in the Regency and I thought I’d let you know why 😉
On the 5th of February 1811, Parliament passed the Regency Act under which the Prince of Wales, ‘by reason of severe indisposition with which it hath pleased God to afflict the King’s Most Excellent Majesty,’ took, ‘Full power and authority, in the name and on behalf of His Majesty, and under the stile and title of Regent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to exercise and administer the royal power.’
It probably all sounds very boring to you, I know, but bear with! Bear with!
You see the Regency was all brought about because George III suffered from ‘madness’ hence being known as ‘Mad King George’. (Recent medical practitioners have looked at his symptoms and suggested that he suffered from the blood disease Porphyria). He fell in and out of illness and when the Regency was put into place they only validated the Act for a year, thinking the King would recover. He didn’t though and his son, also George, was made permanent Regent in 1812.
In came a time of, what could have been uncertainty but instead was an age which would be remembered for its foreign affairs, its arts, its Society and of course that most famous and corpulent of figures Fat Prinny George!
The Regency was 11 years and in terms of a regency, I suppose it could be considered rather long and drawn out, but in terms of its impact on the heritage of the United Kingdom I feel it was a short time. Yes, it would be a short time in our island’s history that would leave marks both physically and within mindsets for generations.
Now I could go on forever, literally, I am researching it right now, surrounded by books and there is just so much to say on the period. Yet I know, however shocking it may be, that you will all eventually tire of my witty repartee, of my incroyable gift for conveying fascinating historical facts and of my animated chitter-chatter which brings it all alive and dancing before your eyes. I will therefore endeavour to keep it short, sharp and interestingly to the point.
During the Regency Europe met with one of the biggest threats to peace and prosperity it would face: Napoleon Bonapart. Self-proclaimed Emperor of France his dictatorship led millions to their deaths and destroyed landscapes. Up against this most notorious of dictators was Wellington, the brilliant military strategist who dashed old Boney’s hopes. Great Britain was key, along with it’s allies, in bringing an Empire led by a tyrannical dictator, to it’s bloody knees.
It was not just this war which made the Regency something to fascinate. It was a time for the arts. People such as Nash were brought forth. He was a man who would become the designer for Regent’s Park, Regent Street and the re-designer of the outlandish Royal Pavilion whilst the Regent became the head of a new craze – Interior Design.
Sir Walter Scott appeared on the literary scene from the north whilst Jane Austen, from the south, created works which are still enjoyed today for their wit and acute perspective on Society and the peoples who are woven together to create it.
Some of the works of John Constable and Thomas Lawrence were commissioned by the Prince Regent who had a real interest in the arts and patronising those who contributed.
Society & Etiquette
Amazingly, in a time of such war and grief not only did the arts thrive but so did Society. It managed to maintain itself on glittering balls, wonderful assemblies and all manner of salacious gossip. Lady Lade, a woman of ill-repute, would scandalise mother’s and debutantes with her fast ways. Almack’s at almost the opposite end of the Society scale was the most exclusive club in London governed by some of the strictest Dowagers around, so strict in fact that the Waltz, considered a racy dance, was not allowed until 1813 and only if you gained the approval from one of the most proper patronesses.
Most fascinatingly to me at the moment, the Regency was an age of stepping forward for women. Yes, they still did not have the rights which the suffragettes would fight for almost a 100 years later, but they, for the first time in history, were listened to and even conversed with as equals. I’ll go into that more in an upcoming blog about blue-stockings.
Yes, the Regency may be best known for it’s fat and loathed Prince and the many Regency romances based upon it, but really it was much more.
An age of war, arts, fashion, family, honour and ettiquette can lend itself to story telling magnifique, n’est pas? In a period of time which happened so long ago there are characters in my mind’s eye. Character’s who have their own lives, their own pains, their own loves – I ask you, how can you not love The Regency?
Philippa Jane Keyworth – Regency Romance Author