Odile Hughson’s biography could form the basis of a novel in its own right, raised in Marseille a branch of her family originated in a part of Poland that is now in Ukraine.
As a young woman she came to Scotland to teach and ended up marrying a Scot - David.
A self-confessed townie, she spent most of her married life in Weybridge, Surrey. A relevant fact, because a chance encounter prompted her research into the exiled House of Orléans, which resulted in a book and a series of talks.
Through a strange twist of fate, the deposed French royal family settled in Britain after the Revolution of 1848 at Clairmont House, close to Odile’s home in Surrey. The family lived in the surrounding area for many years.
Professionally, Odile taught French at the world famous Yehudi Menhuin school in Stoke d’Abernon, a great appointment for a music lover.
When her husband retired, they moved back to Scotland and now live in Edinburgh. Despite being a keen gardener, she finds herself sans jardin which is why she volunteered to be a guide for the Museum of Scotland, a service she has provided for more than 20 years.
If you want to quiz her in person, you will have the a chance to meet her and her husband David, on Wednesday!
Victoire Duchesse de Nemours (1822 - 1857)
About the Talk
According to Odile, the outline of her talk can be summarised as, a Poet, a Regent, a Regicide, and a King. Although this might be a little too concise, it hints at a broad scope!
However, the real subject is, the House of Orléans and the role it plays in the succession of French Kings.
The story began when our speaker saw a memorial sculture, by the French artist Henri Chapu, in the Catholic Chapel of St Charles Borromeo, Weybridge.
Intrigued she found out the subject was Victoire Duchesse de Nemours, daughter-in-law of the exiled French King Louis-Philippe I.
What I am sure you will find fascinating, is the complexity of the relationships amongst European Monarchies at the time. Not only was she daughter-in-law to the exiled King of France, she was also cousin to both Queen Victoria and her husband Albert.
The part that captured Madame Présidente’s attention is, one of Victoire’s daughters married a Polish Prince, Władysław Czartoryski, which creates an interesting, if rather tenuous, connection between the speaker, the subject of the talk, and the Perth Branch of the Franco-Scottish Society.
I am sure you will enjoy the evening, and I for one look forward to hearing more about the intricacies and intrigues of European politics.
For those of you who are inspired to study the subject in greater detail, Odile will bring a few copies of her book, Royal Friendships: The Life of the Royal Family of Orléans exiled in Britain, which is published in French and English.
Although the book isn’t for sale commercially, if anyone wishes to buy a copy she donates all the proceeds to her charity CHAS.
You never know, she might even be persuaded to sign a copy for you!