There was a sale of the Duchess of Windsors jewels at Sotheby's yesterday. They realised nearly £8 million. The duchess liked her bling. And she liked it blingy. If you saw these items in a pawn shop window you'd go, "My God, who on earth would want to wear that?" But they're good fun- especially the diamond and onyx panther.
My cultural inheritance includes a propensity to bristle at the word "Prussian" but last night's TV biography of Frederick the Great suggested I might want to adjust my programming. Frederick was a great general, an enlightened and liberal statesman, a philosopher and patron of philosophers, a composer of some stature and a musician of genuine accomplishment. Ruling houses are often founded by persons of genius but its enormously rare for a genius to spring from an established bloodline. In fact I can think of only two examples in the history of Western Europe. The other is Alexander the Great.