More about the books by Hugh Douglas
Home ] Up ] Photo Galleries ] Town Guides ] Notables ] Community ] News ] Places ] History ] Search ] Contact Us ]

A Right Royal Christmas demonstrates that our present-day festival has much deeper roots than Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who are usually given the credit for 'inventing' it - with a little help from Charles Dickens, of course. Through princely diaries, letters and journals, and the eyes of outside observers, this anthology eavesdrops on royal festivities over many centuries. Factual accounts are included alongside poetry, drama and novelists' imaginative re-creation of a mystery play and Henry VIII's boyhood. Here is Duke William of Normandy glancing nervously over his shoulder as the crown of England is placed upon his head in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066; troublesome Thomas a Becket faces his murderers bravely in Canterbury Cathedral; Edward I tries to foist a puppet king on to Scotland; and Mary Queen of Scots cannot resist trying to outdo her rival Elizabeth on Twelfth Night. More recently, Queen Victoria admits to falling for the lion-tamer at the circus; Queen Alexandra toboggans downstairs on a silver teatray; and Edward VIII plummets from a pinnacle of happiness into a abyss of despair at Sandringham. The present Queen reveals how much she enjoyed a visit to the USA during the bicentennial celebrations. Authors who share in this Right Royal Christmas include T.S. Eliot, Robert Graves, Simon Schama, Elizabeth Longford, Tom Fleming and novelists Joan Aiken, Dorothy Dunnertt and Margaret George. Punch, Robert Cruikshank, Keith Horrox and others add wry humour to complete a fascination and entertaining anthology of royal merry-making over the centuries.

Flora MacDonald's voyage over the sea to Skye with the fugitive Bonnie Prince Charlie dressed as her maid made her into an instant heroine and the subject of legend and song. The world admired her bravery, but after she returned to Skye, she and her new husband, Allan, met with envy and financial disaster. They emigrated to Carolina, but hardly settled there when the American war of Independence broke out - and again they found themselves on the losing side. Allan was taken prisoner and Flora had to defend herself alone against a hostile community. On Allan's release, he and Flora were reunited in New York and made their way to Nova Scotia where they survived a bitter winter before returning to Scotland. This biography, based on research in Scotland, North Carolina and Nova Scotia and from other sources aims to offer a rounded picture of this indomitable woman who was much more than the young woman who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie "over the sea to Skye".

How many times have you wondered about the origins of New Year's Eve, or Hogmanay as the Scots term it? This book reveals all as Hugh Douglas takes the reader from the remotest beginnings of this festival through the more recent developments in the 18th and 19th centuries right up to the millennium. There are many surprises in store for the unwary reader. Why a tall dark stranger at midnight, why carrying a lump of coal and why can the first-foot never be a fair person no matter how firm a friend? How was the name derived? Is it from the French, Greek, Scandinavian, German or Flemish? What does Hogmanay mean? Is it pagan, Christian, neither or both? On the lighter side, there are songs to be sung, drams to be drunk and food aplenty as Hugh includes music, recipe and anecdote in this essential companion. There is even a Hangover Helpline for those who have over-indulged!

The Jacobite story is more than the tale of Bonnie Prince Charlie, his unlucky father and grandfather and a handful of battles - the Boyne, Sheriffmuir, Preston, Prestonpans, Falkirk and Culloden. It is also one of history's longest-running spy sagas, the story of the Jacobite years, of spies and counter-spies, treachery and manipulation. This book unravels an unending intelligence war on and off the battlefield, as across Europe, moles dug for secrets at every court, and kings, ambassadors, soldiers, cardinals and royal mistresses all took part, from the great Duke of Marlborough to Madame Pompadour and the devious King Louis XV. As for the Prince, he was a master of disguise and intrigue, which fooled his enemies, yet his arrogance and impetuosity contributed greatly to the Jacobites' eventual defeat in the espionage war. In the final analysis all the battles won and lost during the Jacobite century do not account for the failure of the Stuarts to be restored to the kingdoms they lost at the Glorious Revolution - ultimate defeat lay in their failure to win the intelligence war.

Though the catalyst for much of his poetry, Robert Burns' sex life has often been denied, glossed over, even bowdlerized out of recognition. How could a man who revelled so unashamedly in earthy, unending sexual adventures write so tenderly about women and love? How could he father eight illegitimate children, yet conceive that timeless song of faithfulness 'John Anderson my Jo'? Was Robert Burns 'not so much a conspicuous sinner as a man who sinned conspicuously'? Hugh Douglas seeks out the truth about Burns to show a man who was much less secure than his actions suggest, one for whom sex was an act of rebellion as well as love. His peasant background was a shaping force in his attitude to women. Though amorous love was the impulse which drove him to verse, his love for his children usually transcended that for their mothers. Burns called himself an ' extravagant prodigal of affection' and Hugh Douglas here examines the extravagance which shaped Burns' life and poetry anew, tracing his relationships with women from a loving apprenticeship at mother's knee to Jean Armour, his loyal, supportive wife. He also examines Burns' many amorous adventures: Neily Kilpatrick, his harvest-field partner, who first inspired him to write; Highland Mary Campbell; the of the enigma 'E'; Peggy Chalmers, who rejected him; Clarinda, who always held back; and Maria Riddell, who came nearest to being his intellectual equal. See another review.

Minishant is situated in the Burns Country five miles south of Ayr - a charming, straggling village in the lee of Brown Carrick Hill. It is too small to be marked on many maps and at first sight would appear to have little history. Yet Henrietta and Hugh Douglas have dug deeply into the past to uncover details of the days when this was the granary of the monks of Crossraguel Abbey, when Kennedys and Mures fought fiercely for power and when the village became a busy little place with two woollen mills. Their book is a blend of history, legend and detail of everyday life. It introduces many fascinating characters: Johnny Faa the gypsy who loved the Countess of Cassillis, John Loudon Macadam of tarmacadam roads fame, and Sir Rowland Hill who drank tea and ate newly-baked scones straight from the girdle in the kitchen of the village post-mistress. Here too are The Drummer, the Provost and the Maister, all characters who helped to make Minishant. Henrietta Douglas has known Minishant for over 70 years and her son, Hugh, was born there. Both retain strong links with the area and their book combines years of research with a lifetime's affection. It will stir memories of Minishanters and lure strangers to take a look at this fascinating and beautiful corner of Ayrshire.

An insight into the life and writings of Robert Burns, which focuses on his attitude to love and fidelity, with discussion of Burns' writing on the subject of love, and examination of his behaviour with regard to his wife, mistresses and children.

Charles Edward Stuart lives on as a romantic hero of legend yet, behind that image, history shows him to be a charismatic self-seeker who loved only himself and his cause. Hugh Douglas shows that Bonnie Prince Charlie was also a man capable of passionate love. This is a re-examination of the Scottish hero whose flawed character and lack of success in matters of the heart influenced his relations with the royal courts of Europe and played an important part in his role in the history of Scotland and England - perhaps contributing as much to the defeat of the Jacobite cause as "Butcher" Cumberland's musket fire at Culloden. As well as the torrid affair with the young Duchesse de Montbazon in Paris and the tragic tale of Clementine Wilkinshaw, which resulted in a child, the author looks at the Prince's other relationships with women, from the formative one with his mother, to his disastrous late dynastic marriage to Louise de Stolberg, in which he was left a lonely, elderly cuckold, comforted by his daughter in his last years. Here is revealed another side to this always fascinating, sometimes cruel, but deeply passionate man.

The complete guide to the organisation of a successful Burns Supper. Systematically, but with insight and humour, the author describes the various ingredients which make for a coordinated supper; from the choice of venue, speeches and poems, through the all important traditions and rituals to the successful conclusion of the evening with the votes of thanks and the singing of Auld Lang Syne.