Richard Sotnick is a man on a mission. Curious about the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family (from which the House of Windsor derives), Sotnick decided to thoroughly research them after a fateful meeting with Lord Mountbatten.
Lord Louis Mountbatten, an Admiral of the Fleet and the last Viceroy of India, met the author during a formal dinner in 1979. Discussing his family history, Mountbatten said pointedly, “You have to remember that, in my youth, European affairs were family business.”
Lord Louis was correct, of course. His sister Louise became Queen of Sweden, and other relations included monarchs of Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Romanov Russia. His nephew, Prince Philip, became the consort of Britain’s future Queen Elizabeth II.
Intrigued, Sotnick decided to trace the roots of Europe’s – and especially Britain’s – reigning houses. They all had one thing in common: all were branches of the Coburg family.
To better understand the Coburgs and the society in which they lived, Sotnick learned how to read and translate the Gothic German script in which the family’s letters and diaries were written in the nineteenth century. That research has culminated in “The Coburg Conspiracy”.
This book lays bare the marriage machinations within the Coburg dynasty that eventually launched the union of their Prince Albert to Britain’s Queen Victoria. Controversially, Sotnick questions and confronts rumours surrounding Albert’s paternity, the lifestyle of his charismatic uncle Leopold, and the indifference of his father, Ernst.
It was widely known that Victoria was a deft matchmaker for her own children, but Sotnick wanted to know who arranged the meeting between the Queen and Albert that made the tiny Duchy of Coburg the paterfamilias of power and influence. Thanks to Sotnick’s impressive and tirelessly researched book, we now know much more about the history of the world’s royal roots.