From the Historical Society of Harford County:
Author and biographer of the British Royal Family, Hugo Vickers, will give a dinner talk to support the Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College on October 10, 2014. His talk will be an original presentation, created for this occasion, titled “All the Queen’s Horses.” The ticketed dinner is the opening event for the fall programming and equestrian exhibit at the Hays-Heighe House: “The Racehorse, the Royals, and the Writer: The Legacy of Herman B. Duryea.”
The dinner on October 10 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM will be held at the Chesapeake Center Dining Rooms at Harford Community College. Tickets are $75 per person and can be obtained online at http://tinyurl.com/AllQueensHorses or by phoning 443-412-2539. A portion of each ticket will be designated as a charitable donation to the Harford Community College Foundation in support of the historic 1808 Hays-Heighe House on campus. The mission of the Hays-Heighe House is to showcase the social and cultural history of Harford County through exhibits and inclusive programming.
Vickers is a writer, broadcaster and theatrical performer who has lectured in many countries including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the United Kingdom, and in numerous locations within the United States. He has published numerous books about members of the British Royal Family including Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (2005), Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece (2000), The Private World of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor (1995), and Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough (1979). His most recent book, Behind Closed Doors (2011), tells the story of Wallis Simpson.
Vicker’ is described by Google as having “an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Royal Family.” He has often put his inside knowledge of the Royal Family to use as a studio commentator for events such as the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, Diana’s funeral in 1997, the wedding of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the Queen Mother’s centenary celebrations in 2000, and for her funeral. He was an historical advisor for the 2010 film, The King’s Speech, and assisted actress Helena Bonham Carter in her interpretation of the Queen Mother in the film. On a less serious note, in a 2012 episode of the Colbert Report, Vickers advised Stephen Colbert on how to prepare for the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine “Kate” Middleton.
Guests at the dinner will also have a chance to preview the Fall 2014 equestrian exhibition at the Hays-Heighe House. This year’s exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of racehorse Durbar II’s victory at the Epsom Derby. In 1914, Durbar became the second American owned horse to win England’s prestigious Epsom Derby. His owner was Herman Duryea, a noted sportsman, thoroughbred horse owner and breeder, and philanthropist, whose estate was ultimately bequeathed to Robert H. Heighe, owner of Prospect Hill Farm, now the site of Harford Community College. Durbar spent his final days at Prospect Hill Farm and was interred on the grounds.
The exhibition, which is guest curated by the Historical Society of Harford County’s Director Maryanna Skowronski, is titled, “The Racehorse, the Royals, and the Writer: The Legacy of Herman Duryea.” One gallery of the exhibition recounts highlights of Duryea’s life and his legacy, along with the exciting story of American racehorse Durbar II and his victory over Brakespear, the horse of King George V, at the Epsom Derby in 1914—just at the outbreak of World War I. It follows Durbar’s journey from France to England and eventually to Prospect Hill Farm, where Robert and Anne Heighe cared for him in his twilight year.
Other galleries relate information about the British Royal Family’s passion for equestrian sports, then and now, the use of horses in World War I, and the activity of British suffragettes at the start of the 20th century. The exhibition also narrates the life of the late Humphrey S. Finney, British émigré, founding editor of The Maryland Horse magazine, and this year’s recipient of the Robert and Ann Heighe Award for Excellence in Equestrian Journalism.
“I’ve wanted to portray the story of Durbar II and his owners, the Duryeas and the Heighes, since I first learned about the horse nearly twenty years ago,” said guest curator Skowronski. “It’s a story filled with the glamour of The Gilded Age and beyond in the history of the United States and Great Britain. It also encompasses so many of the major events of that era, including the devastating impact of World War I and the bravery and determination of suffragettes on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The exhibit opens to the general public on October 14, 2014 at 1:00 p.m., at the Hays-Heighe House. Open exhibit hours are Tuesdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m., Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to noon, and first Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Along with the exhibit, the Hays-Heighe House will sponsor a dozen educational programs on topics such as World War I, developments in European and American art and literature at this time, the British suffragette movement, living history interpretations of American suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul, and the genetics behind thoroughbred horse-breeding.
“We are creating a smorgasbord of offerings pertaining to the equestrian history of the Hays-Heighe House and the history, literature, and art of the Edwardian era – a sort of ‘Durbar meets Downton Abbey’ mash-up,” said Carol Allen, Director for the HCC Library and the Hays-Heighe House. “We think there will be something of interest for all sorts of people: British royalty followers, history buffs, readers of both contemporary and early modern literature, art lovers, and horse riders and owners.”
For more information about the exhibit and the dinner, phone the Hays-Heighe House at 443-412-2539.