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Event Details

Clare McHugh: A Most English Princess (in conversation with Alice McDermott)

The Ivy is thrilled to welcome Clare McHugh for a reading from her debut novel, A Most English Princess. Clare will be in conversation with acclaimed author Alice McDermott.

This is a ticketed event, and the ticket is a book! Purchase a copy of A Most English Princess at either The Ivy Bookshop or Bird in Hand's online store, and you will automatically be registered for the Zoom book event using the name and email address used to purchase the book. After your purchase, you will receive a confirmation email from The Ivy Bookshop with a link to the event. 

Click here to purchase the book!

Clare McHugh’s literary debut, A Most English Princess, tells the story of Vicky, Princess Royal, the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. A girl of intelligence, energy and commitment, Princess Vicky couldn’t inherit the English throne because she was female. Instead, her father, who adored her, introduced her to Fritz, the Crown Prince of Prussia, in the hopes that together the two could transform the divided German states into a united country, a constitutional monarchy, just like Britain’s. The young couple fell madly in love but in Berlin they confronted political treachery in the royal court, the enmity of arch-conservative Otto von Bismarck, and the botched birth of their son and heir, (later Kaiser Wilhelm II) who was born with a paralyzed arm. The process of German unification ended up taking a very different course than Vicky and Fritz ever imagined, and the consequences for the world were tragic. Along with recounting the history and characters of this turbulent period, McHugh discusses the cache of Vicky’s letters, secreted out of Germany just before Victoria’s death, and how reading these letters inspired her to bring Vicky to life.

Born in London, Clare McHugh grew up in the United States. She graduated from Baltimore’s Bryn Mawr School before going on to Harvard, where she earned a degree in European history. She enjoyed a successful 30-year career as a newspaper reporter and later magazine editor at Maxim, InStyle and Time, among other titles. She has since returned to her interest in the past. After discovering an old photo of her great-grandfather, a coachman, driving King Edward VII of Great Britain and his nephew Kaiser Wilhelm II, she was prompted to explore how the British and German royal families intertwined. She became fascinated with the mother of the Kaiser, a woman too often left out of history books—Victoria, the Princess Royal, the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Denied the British throne because of her sex, Vicky instead married the Crown Prince of Prussia and became German Empress. Once McHugh began reading Vicky’s eloquent letters, secreted out of Germany before her death, she resolved to bring Vicky to life.  The mother of two grown children, McHugh now lives in Washington, DC, where her husband is an editor at the Washington Post. She retains her connections with Baltimore, as her mother and her father, renowned Hopkins psychiatrist Paul McHugh, still reside in Guilford. 

Alice McDermott is the author of several novels, including The Ninth HourSomeoneAfter ThisChild of My HeartCharming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by FSG. That NightAt Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Her stories, essays and reviews have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe New YorkerHarpersCommonweal and elsewhere. 






Event Details

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 6:30pm



by Dr. Radut