Jane and Her Majesty

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We’ve discussed this a bit on social media, but felt the occasion presented an opportunity for some snark would make a good blog post.

Alexandra Knatchbull, daughter of Lord Brabourne, great-granddaughter of Lord Mountbatten, and goddaughter of Diana, Princess of Wales, was married last weekend in what was described as “the society wedding of the year.” The wedding was covered by the press probably mostly because Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the British, Spanish, Greek and Jordanian royal families were guests.* The Prince of Wales gave away the bride as Lord Brabourne, one of the Prince’s best friends, was unable to do so due to illness, or at least that’s the official line.

knatchbull-wedding-charles

None of the press coverage of the wedding seems to have picked up the most important fact for Janeites–that the bride is descended from Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight. Continue reading

Jane Austen’s House Museum raising funds to buy Cassandra Austen letter

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Cassandra AustenIf you haven’t yet heard, Jane Austen’s House Museum is raising funds to purchase a letter written by Cassandra Austen to Fanny Knight a couple of weeks after Jane Austen’s death. The letter is currently on loan to the museum and on display there. They have from May to July to raise £10,000. They have already raised money for the purchase via the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures  scheme, but need to raise the additional money from individual givers.

The letter was written on July 29, 1817. Cassandra is responding to a letter from Fanny.

Nothing of the sort could have been more gratifying to me than the manner in which you write of her, and if the dear angel is conscious of what passes here, and is not above all earthly feelings, she may perhaps receive pleasure in being so mourned.

Cassandra is past her first grief and making arrangements for the disposition of Jane’s things, including a lock of her hair; she inquires whether Fanny wants it set in a ring or a brooch. Being the executrix of Jane’s will, these are necessary actions, but one can imagine the heartbreak–and healing–that accompanied them.

You can read the whole letter at Molland’s. The letter (dated July 29) is about two-thirds of the way down the page.

You can donate through the campaign’s Just Giving page, or send a check directly to the Museum. Do try to send something–even just a small amount. Lots of people giving small amounts adds up to a big amount. Let’s do this, and bring the letter home.