What makes the richest of the rich tick in the modern age?
Blue blood and noble birth have always captured the imagination. This book traces the modern history of the aristocracy through the six great noble families who formed the subject of Robert’s BBC television series of the same name:
Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, landlord of Mayfair and Belgravia and the wealthiest man in Britain.
Dona Victoria Eugenia, Duchess of Medinaceli, the most titled woman in the world and the owner of over ninety castles in Spain.
Johannes von Thurn und Taxis, the German prince whose family started off as postmen and whose Bavarian home contains more rooms that Buckingham Palace.
The noble house of Frescobaldi, exiled, executed and twice bankrupted, but still living in style after 800 years in Florence at the same address.
Jean Louis, Marquis de Ganay, compelled by France’s wealth tax to open his chateau to the public, and carefully following the Duke of Bedford’s advice: ‘Provide good loos – and plenty of them.’
Prince Franz Josef II of Liechtenstein, who lost twenty-two castles to the Red Army in 1945, but who has since helped his pocket-sized Principality to Europe’s highest per capita income, on the basis of postage stamps, false teeth and tax evasion.
What is the secret of such enduring power and wealth? Can it survive? And what is that lingering magic that can still persuade people to grant reverence to an ancient title?