After last Friday’s sad news about the death of the Duke of Edinburgh this is the point that I should be pulling out his book to cover on Ladybird Tuesday, but there isn’t one!
Back in the 1980s Ladybird featured HM The Queen, HM The Queen Mother, HRH Prince Charles, HRH Princess Diana and then The Royal Princes William and Henry as titles in the Famous People series (slightly strangely alongside Indira Ghandi and Pope John Paul II) but Prince Philip never merited his own book. In subsequent years HM The Queen, HM The Queen Mother and Diana Princess of Wales (as she became known post divorce) all received updated versions, and Ladybird also produced a souvenir book for HRH Catherine The Duchess of Cambridge that I understand to be in the familiar hardcover format.
When it came to Royal Weddings in the 80s Ladybird went all out. When Charles and Diana married in 1981 Ladybird knew that they wanted to publish a souvenir book marking the occasion and in these pre-internet days they wanted to be the first to do so. After the wedding took place on the 29th July 1981 Ladybird had 500,000 copies of their Royal Wedding book available to buy just 4 days later on the 3rd August. Military planning went into this book and the night before the wedding the editor Audrey Daly met with the Royal Photographer. On the day of the wedding she made copious notes which then enabled her to write the text on the car journey back to Loughborough afterwards. I remember watching about the production of the book on children’s TV at the time (probably Newsround or Blue Peter I’m guessing).
When you look at the book on the second royal wedding of the decade – Andrew and Sarah – it seems the book had a similar turn around time. The wedding took place on the 23rd July 1986, with the souvenir book being first published on the 28th July. Both these books were part of series 100 which was a whole series devoted to Special Publications which covered Royal Weddings, Olympics, World Cups and a book about Loughborough Past and Present (Loughborough being the home of Ladybird).
Further back in history
So, back to the Royals. Obviously above I’ve been talking about the modern day members of the Royal family. It goes without saying that plenty of Kings and Queens feature in the Adventures from History series (series 561). In addition to two books about Kings and Queens. Book 1 covers Kings and Queens of England from Alfred the Great to Richard III whilst Book 2 covers Henry VII right through to Elizabeth II. This latter book was first published in 1968 and I’m guessing that at the time no one could have imagined that by 2021 Elizabeth would still be on the throne.
I’m sorry to say that my knowledge of Kings and Queens is pretty sketchy so maybe I should be concentrating on series 561 and working my way through history and educating myself a bit. Whilst I know a few key facts about Henry VIII and Queens Elizabeth I and Victoria after that I’m very patchy. Time to ensure my series 561 collection is completed and use it to fill in my gaps.
About Ladybird Tuesday
Ladybird Tuesday is a regular feature here on Penny Reads, where I delve into my Ladybird book collection and choose a title to share with my readers. The weekly series originally started on my old blog, Being Mrs C, and this post originally appeared on there. I’m now in the process of moving all those posts over to Penny Reads and also adding titles that I have acquired since then. A list is currently being compiled here of all the titles I have in my collection.