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Columnists > It seems important that one can declare one’s name solemnly and expect to be believed

11 April 2018 | by Christopher Howse

It seems important that one can declare one’s name solemnly and expect to be believed

Christopher Howse's Notebook

 

Something struck me about the new book by Antonia Fraser that I don’t think I will be breaking any embargo by revealing. The King and the Catholics, about the decades leading to Catholic Emancipation in 1829, comes out in May. It promises to be entertaining, but it was the acknowledgements that first impressed me. Acknowledgements are generally under-read, except by those hoping to appear in them. Yet they can reveal even more socially than the names of those attending memorial services.

Lady Antonia is no snob, and aristocracy does not intimidate her. Indeed in the book she calls one figure’s ancestors “extremely minor gentry”, which puts them in their place.





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