We try to win our colonies back, with a royal progress round the US.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook then you’ll know that I have recently made a whirlwind tour of America.

I was giving a number of lectures to supporters of the Royal Oak Foundation, which is the American organization that exists to support the British National Trust.  I’ve been on their lecture tours before, which are always well organized and enjoyable.

This time, though, I was accompanied by colleagues from Historic Royal Palaces, and we were also meeting up with our friends and supporters old and new from our own network in America, Historic Royal Palaces USA.

Our trip was packed with action – although I’m talking about lectures, cocktails, parties and dinners, which would make for quite a boring ‘action’ film – as we visited New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC and Atlanta. 

Some highlights included:

US blog New York1. Running.  My younger colleague suggested that I brave the thumping living hell that is Niketown in New York, and I was pleased I did because I emerged with a new pair of purple trainers.  The purple trainers, then, of course, wanted to go running, and as I kept waking up ridiculously early because of the time difference, I indulged them a few times.  Most of our runs seemed to take us through the sets of feature films: up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, channeling Rocky; along the River Charles in Boston; up the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in DC; along Lakeside Drive in Chicago.

2. A wonderful party that the British Consul General Danny Lopez held for us in New York at his residence.  The theme was murder mystery, so we posed for

US blog British Consulphotos with a wrench, candlestick, etc.  (This is because my murder book is coming out in the US this autumn.)

3. I spent our one quiet evening of the whole trip typing about Henry VIII while eating takeaway sushi on the seventeenth floor of a hotel in Chicago.  Writing about him in an office at Hampton Court Palace is my normal practice, made a nice change to do it somewhere so completely different.

4. Taking tea with the First Lady of Georgia in Atlanta.  Her mansion is yer basic Gone With The Wind, and she kindly let us look over every inch of it.

US blog plane home5. Visiting the FBI building in Washington DC.  I braved heat and humidity to walk there as soon as I arrived in Washington, as would anyone as interested in Clarice Starling and detectives in general as I am.  I visited the branch of Starbucks next door purely so I could stand in the queue thinking ‘maybe this person ahead of me is an FBI agent!’

6. I have to say it, the sight of the planes taking off for home.  I was tired by then, fed up of not being able to walk anywhere, and suffering from (I believe) scrofula.

7.   Harriet.  In that picture to the left we are grinning like loons outside

US blog white houseThe White House.  My colleague Harriet accompanied me through thick and thin, and she is a lot of fun.  There was just one sticky moment when I confessed that I’d eaten a packet of crisps from a hotel mini-bar, and she told me that I should have saved money and gone to the 7-Eleven.  (She was right).  Harriet is also super-sick of my telling people that she would make the perfect girlfriend for Prince Harry, who seems to be single again.  She’s the right age, has a complementary name (obviously), has represented Great Britain at sport (Ultimate Frisbee), works for a charity, is very mature and sensible, and indeed is delightful in every way.  In fact, come to think of it, if you yourself think Harriet sounds great and would like to meet her, I can make that happen!  Sign up to become an American Friend or better still, a Patron


14 thoughts on “We try to win our colonies back, with a royal progress round the US.

  1. david newton

    A delightful and interesting article, .

  2. Lisa Gee

    Please come to Los Angeles! Despite the dwindling number of bookstores and increased amounts of plastic surgery here, many of us do still read and are interested in history! Thanks so much for making history so fascinating!

  3. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

    Every time you come to America on your whirlwind tours, I always wait too late to buy a ticket. Your talks in New York are always sold out it seems within minutes.

  4. Cathi bunn

    I just love your delivery of history!

  5. John Atkinson

    Interesting about the heart and humidity; I remember living in New England as a child and one day it became as hot as 105f. I found a quart carton of milk and sank the lot. I also recall holding flowers out so that a hummingbird could take the nectar, and then wait for the next one. The other side of the coin is the winter, which is similar to what one can read in books about the SAS experience in Iraq. It does become incredibly cold, around the 10f mark and lower sometimes. Survival in the open would be very difficult without expert knowledge.


    Dear Miss Lucy…………..,

    We, Pat and myself really enjoy your Historical

    programs. Especially your cheeky smile !


  7. jonathanwthomas

    What a lovely write-up. We really enjoyed meeting you in Chicago and your lecture was fab. So glad to hear that you had a lovely trip. Hope you get to come to our shores again soon!

  8. Missy White

    I enjoyed hearing your lecture on Queen Caroline in Atlanta and hope you will return soon. I have never been to Kensington Palace and hope to one day see in person the various friends of the court featured in the mural as well as the other treasures the palace has to offer. Thank you again for a delightful evening. I am now enjoying your YouTube videos and find them very interesting.

  9. Sarah

    I really enjoyed your lecture in Washington, and the book was a fantastic read. Thank you!

    When it comes to heat and humidity, though, you got it easy when you were here–come in July sometime for the real deal. The mid-Atlantic region is always humid, but when you fill in a swamp and build a city, it’s particularly oppressive!

  10. Philippa

    I loved this until I got to … scrofula.

    Actually I just plain loved it. But please say you don’t have a mycobacterial infection of the lymph nodes of your neck. (If you do, please seek help!)

    And now I shall stop being concerned and horrified and go back to enjoying your posts.

  11. Amy Schneidhorst

    A tiny correction: Chicago has a Lake Shore Drive, or if you were on it and not alongside it probably the Lake Shore Path. As amazing as you are, I presume you do not run in traffic. Having said that, I adore your work. We really have nothing comparable to BBC’ s in-depth history documentary series on social and cultural history in the U.S.

  12. rwfisher

    Remember to tour Canada & Toronto on your next
    trip to the Americas. It, too was once a colony and the Queen remains Head of State. ( sure you know that but any fact to guilt you into coming here.)

  13. Caroline

    I can’t believe you were in Philadelphia and I didn’t hear you speak! And I run the museum steps all the time but I guess I missed you!

  14. Maria

    Please come back to DC!! I just discovered your documentaries and books and so sorry I missed you when you were here last year!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *