Celebrating Regency Day!

Today marks the bicentenary of the English Regency. King George III was seventy two and after many years of illness was declared insane. On 5th February, 1811 the Prince of Wales took the oaths of office as Regent and assumed charge of the government. To celebrate the bicentenary, Harlequin is running a special series of Regency features on its blog.  An introduction to the celebrations is here! I have blogged about Antonin Careme, the Prince Regent’s chef and the first chef to be a celebrity in his own right. If you would like to read my blog piece about Careme and the amazing feasts he served up for the Prince, click here. There’s also a recipe for Regency Orange Flower and Pink Champagne Jelly! Throughout the week my fellow Harlequin authors will be blogging on regency related topics so please drop by with your comments on how you became interested in the Regency period, what your favourite aspects of it are, and anything else Regency-related you would like to share!

If you are in the UK, the Brighton Pavilion is running an amazing exhibition for the rest of the year called Dress for Excess, which displays fashions of the late Georgian period, exploring themes from the Regent’s life and the stylistic influences on the period. The exhibition shows items of dress the Regent wore, including a beautifully printed banyan of the 1770s and also his huge breeches worn towards the end of his life (you can blame Careme and his delicious banquets for that!) The most spectacular item is George’s extravagant coronation robe, on loan from Madame Tussauds. I can’t wait to get down to Brighton to see the exhibition!

So on Regency Day let’s raise a glass (of pink champagne, of course!) to the Prince Regent, and please let me know – What is it about the Regency period that appeals to you? I’m giving away a book from my backlist to one commenter in honour of the celebration!

35 Comments

  1. I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction – some of the earliest books I can remember were Jean Plaidy books about the Tudors. So it seemed a natural transition to enjoy Historical Romance. The Regency period has become my favorite though.

    The excesses of the Prince Regent (someday I’ll visit the UK and see the pavilion at Brighton!), the glitter of the Ton combined with the tension brought by the Napoleonic war just makes for a colourful and fascinating background.

    LynneRC

  2. Really!! I’m so excited I’m only 45mins from Brighton! Yipppee that’s what ginge and I will be doing on our next free weekend then!

    Emma

  3. Wow, I’ll have to see if I can get down for a visit.

    I recently introduced my sixteen year old daughter to my regency romance collection after she wore out the Pride and Prejudice DVD. She grabs a book a night for her pre-sleep reading hour… and has taken to wandering around with a fan in hand.

  4. Thanks, Endi, and have a lovely day! Emma, please report back on the exhibition if you have the chance to go. It’s a long journey from here but I’m determined to make it!

  5. I remember watching the Scarlet Pimpernel as a teenager and being entralled with the intrique & the gorgeous gowns & balls (and Anthony Andrews & Jane Seymour were so good together). Plus some of the first romances I read were by the wonderful Barbara Cartland! The regency is just such a fascinating period! I don’t know why it interests me so much, it just does!

  6. Lynne, I totally agree that the period has such a lot going for it terms of inspiration. Jamie, the opulence – yes! Oh to try one of those dresses, although I’m not sure I have quite the right figure for those high-waisted ones!

  7. Emma, I’m laughing at the thought of your daughter wandering around with a fan in hand!

    Nettie, I’d totally forgotten about that TV series but as soon as I read the words “Peter Egan” i thought “oh yes!” And then I read Linda on the Scarlet Pimpernel and thought yes some more! Must calm down…

  8. No problem at all Nicola! I think we will probably head down there in March so ill let you know once ive been.

    What I love most about the regency era. How do I explain it. Every day I get lost in one regency book or another I love the outfits the dresses and the gentlemens attire, i love the rigid formalities that they try to ahere to but just dont suceed, and id like to think that for people outside the upper thousand that although life was hard they still found wonder in it. Most of all im facinated by the balls, galas, parties and musicales (to be part of that world I can olnly just imagine).
    I know the books i read arent a true respresentation of the era, but they inspire me and make me smile.

    So last week when I was looking for wedding dresses for the first time since being engaged and the designer brought out one inspired by the regency era I got so excited. It made me feel like a princess, i turned round and said to my mum, I feel just like one of the heroines in my regency novels :)

    1. Emma,
      I am also engaged and it is lovely to find someone else that is looking at a Regency era dress. I decided that that is the type of dress that I want to have and sometimes it is somewhat hard to come by them. I agree that it makes me feel like I stepped right out of one of these books. Good luck in finding a dress!

  9. Lovely, Nicola.

    Favourite Regency things? Has to be the dresses, lovely. Also I remember a wonderful black and white film about the Prince Regent and Mrs Ftzherbert I can’t remember the actors names but I remember the actress was incredibly beautiful.

  10. i love reading historical fiction, romance and otherwise, so i love that feeling of getting lost in that time period, so to speak….but i’m also a bit of an anglophile, so i love that aspect of it as well. and the outfits….and the food…..and i must go read another one now….:)

  11. The language–particularly as written by Georgette Heyer–is so delightful, and that comes first and foremost. Although, I suppose the term “Comedy of Manners” sums it up best for me, I actually love most everything about an old-fashioned Regency Romance novel. The clothing is wonderful, the men (at least the Corinthians) look manly and the ladies fashions are lovely and yet one could and would comfortably enjoy wearing the majority of them. Also, almost no one wears wigs, and most of the sex is only lightly alluded to, or stays behind closed doors.
    Smiles,
    Teresa

  12. Happy Regency Day, Nicola!

    Not very original of me but borrowing my mother’s Jane Austen novels when I was in my early teens first interested me in the Regency period. Since then, if something is set in that time, I’m much more likely to read it than any other historical period, although much to my chagrin I am only now reading Georgette Heyer.

    I am fascinated by the society conventions and manners of that time, although I am happy to admit that, while I love reading about the period, I’m very glad that I wasn’t born into that time. I’m not sure I could have lived with the restrictions that women were under, compared to the freedoms that the men enjoyed.

  13. Happy Regency Day, Nicola !!

    How I envy you your visit to the exhibit at Brighton! Sounds lovely!

    What do I like about the Regency Era? Aside from everything? I love the clothes, the manners, the architecture, the family estates and the struggles to keep them, the facade of cool gentility and the undercurrent of passion and rage and desire beneath it. The elegance of the manners and the speech. The upheaval and change of the era. See, I told you. Everything!

  14. Hi Nicola,
    I think I really like this question. I only started reading historical romances about a year ago starting with Brenda Joyces “Dewarrene Dynasty” and then the first three in your “Brides of Fortune” series. I wish that I had lived back then I like everything about. I like the dresses,the way each dress was custom made, the houses they lived in, the idea of balls, how everyone dressed up all day(not just special occassions), the idea of being courted, the way that they talked, even the ranks in society were more defined then just rich poor or middle class specific titles, and they were just proper and there was respect.

  15. Emma and Jami, how fantastic that you are both looking for Regency era wedding dresses. I think it would be very exciting to feel like a heroine from one of the romances! My wedding dress had an embroidered bodice and a crinoline skirt. Gorgeous!

  16. Elisa, I totally agree about the verbal fluency and wit. In my tip sheet for aspiring authors I suggest that the dialogue should sparkle like those old films with the witty repartee. Heyer was always so good at that!

  17. Teresa, a lot of my keeper shelf are early trad Regencies, very romantic, with more emphasis on manners and style and so on. My early books were like that too until fashions changed and publishers asked for a tad more sensuality!

  18. Margaret, I don’t remember that film about Mrs Fitzherbert but it sounds intriguing. I must try and found out about that. Kisah, I like the idea of losing yourself in a historical novel – just like time travel!

  19. Claudia, a very happy Regency Day to you too! Kath I agree – I’d find the sort of restrictions imposed by society very difficult to deal with. The thought of not being able to travel unless you had a male relative to escort you, for instance… I couldn’t just pop down the shops!

  20. Lol, Louisa! I agree that the contrasts in Regency society are endlessly fascinating. And I must admit that I do like the manners and, as Jami mentioned, the respect. When I went to work in a military college and everyone addressed me as “ma’am” I loved it I’d be swooning for real if I was transported back to the Regency.

  21. Hi Nicola,
    I think everything about the Regency was so spectacular. Their impeccable manners, the clothes they wore and the dances and dinners etc. love the idea of their courting . But in all honesty, I’m also happy I wasn’t born during that time. Women were too restricted in many things. :) Love my Regency romance though.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750@aol.com

  22. Prince Regent staring Peter Egan has never been released by the Beeb. Can’t think why, it was brilliant and if you read about the make-up Peter had to wear by the end – only his eyes and hands were his own – must’ve been awful !
    If anyone else feels like me, email the BBC n tell them so – maybe they’ll change their minds n issue it if enough people ask ! lol, Liz

  23. Hi Carol

    It’s such a opulent and outrageous period in so many ways, isn’t it! Fashions, food etc. Liz, that’s a very good idea about contacting the BBC. It would be great to have a DVD of that programme.

  24. I fell in love with all that was Regency when i read my first Jane Austen book at the tender age of ten!! That and living only six miles from Bath, who could n’t fall in love with such a romantic time.

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