31 May 2011
UK Royals’ “Clever” Democratic Move: Historian David Starkey
Author to Join Public Forum at HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair in July
31 May 2011 – The British monarchy’s steady “democratic” shift has been "a clever selling line," according to prominent historian and author David Starkey, who will take part in the July HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair.
The royal family in the United Kingdom “became modern in another great crisis in 1917, the height of the First World War, when what had been essentially a German royal house decided to be English,” Dr Starkey said in an interview with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) webcast service, at http://www.youtube.com/hktdc.
Marriages to English men and women gradually helped the royal family become “a contradiction in terms – “a democratic monarchy,” he said, adding that the recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton demonstrates how the household is “becoming ever more genuinely democratic.
“At first, of course, it was a kind of oxymoron; it was a contradiction in terms, it was a clever selling line. I think the selling line is becoming real,” said Dr Starkey, who will join three other British authors in a 22 July forum hosted by entrepreneur Sir David Tang at the Book Fair.
Saying he looks forward to his first look at former British-administered Hong Kong under mainland Chinese rule, Dr Starkey noted that the city has been “importing the extremes of economic individualism and deregulation into a Chinese environment.”
“In other words, it was Hong Kong, the most astonishing piece of culture experimentation. First, it was putting Britain into China, then, as it were, it’s putting China back into China. It’s played every game,” he said, singling out law and property rights as key legacies of British rule.
Dr Starkey is an Honorary Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and the author of Elizabeth, Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII, and Crown and Country. He has won the WH Smith Prize and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Services to History, presented by Britain’s Historical Association, and is a well-known television and radio personality. His most recent work is the e-book Kings and Queens, an iTunes application exploring Britain’s royal history up to the recent royal wedding.
Organised by the HKTDC, the 22nd edition of the Hong Kong Book Fair runs 20-26 July, featuring more than 250 cultural events under the theme “Reading the World, Reading as Self-Discovery.” Other notable UK authors scheduled to attend the event include Adrian Anthony Gill, Nicholas Coleridge, Justin Hill and Tom Parker Bowles. They will be joined by American authors Ridley Pearson and Karl Taro Greenfield, India’s Tabish Khair and Hong Kong’s own Xu Xi.
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About the HKTDC
A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 global offices, including 11 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and on the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com