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The Royal Oak Foundation is the American partner of the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Our members enjoy unlimited access to hundreds of historic houses and gardens owned by National Trust and invitations to British-themed events nationwide here in the U.S.

To learn more about us, visit https://www.royal-oak.org/

Join today using code MEETUP2019 and receive 20% off your membership.

Upcoming events (3)

Behind the Throne: A Domestic History of the Royal Household

The Union League of Philadelphia

USE CODE MEET2019 for ticket discounts. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.royal-oak.org/events/2019-spring-philadelphia-behind-the-throne/ Reception before the lecture. Despite the castles, crown jewels, and other trappings of monarchy, English royals had—and still have—many of the same issues as average people. They eat, entertain their friends and worry about money. Henry VIII tripped over his dogs. George II threw his son out of the house. James I had to cut back on his alcohol bills. Queen Victoria replaced the toilet paper with newsprint at Windsor to cut costs, while overspending on travel and entertainment. The great difference, however, is that royal families have much more domestic help—people who run the machine that is the Royal Household. Everyone, from James I’s Master of the Horse down to William IV’s Assistant Table Decker, was there to smooth the sovereign’s path through life. Even today, Elizabeth II has a staff of 1,200. In his lecture, historian Adrian Tinniswood will uncover the reality of five centuries of life at the English court, taking us on a remarkable journey from one Queen Elizabeth to another. He will reconstruct life behind the throne—telling juicy domestic details—and will illustrate the daily lives of both clerks and courtiers, crowned heads and court jesters. Adrian will describe the power struggles and petty rivalries that have historically dominated court politics. He will also talk about the shifting idea of the monarchy today, and how their support network still serves as an interface between sovereign and the public. His witty social history of royal life will offer a tour of England’s grandest households while commenting on the ever present tension between the upstairs throne room and downstairs servant’s area.

A Sense of Harmony: Gardens of the Arts & Crafts Movement with Judith Tankard

The Union League of Philadelphia

USE CODE MEET2019 for ticket discounts. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.royal-oak.org/events/2019-spring-philadelphia-a-sense-of-harmony/ Reception before the lecture. English gardens from the Arts & Crafts era are jewels of early 20th-century design. Part of the same design movement that flourished in Europe and North America between 1880 and 1920, these gardens emphasized medieval and romantic styles. Designed on an intimate scale, they blurred the distinction between indoors and outdoors and emphasized the symbiotic nature of the house and garden as a unified landscape. Many contain a series of distinct outdoor “rooms” often delineated by hedges and embellished with whimsical topiary. Most had lavish plantings of perennials, ornamental shrubs, bulbs and annuals—all massed for color, textural effect and seasonal impact. Small structures, such as pergolas, arbors, sundials and other traditional ornaments produced storybook-like gardens that referenced Old English manor house surroundings of the 17th century. In this illustrated lecture, Judith Tankard will give insight into the minds of the movement’s creative giants such as William Morris and Gertrude Jekyll, as well as lesser known designers such as Avray Tipping, Thomas Mawson, and Robert Lorimer. She will illustrate gorgeous National Trust gardens such as Hidcote, Standen, Snowshill Manor, Red House and Kellie Castle, among others, and give visual tours of other stunning gardens, such as Hestercombe, Great Dixter, Gravetye Manor and Munstead Wood. Tankard will show how these English models created a lasting impact on gardens across the pond, as American designers took inspiration from their British contemporaries.

‘My Darling Winston’: The Letters Between Winston Churchill and His Mother

USE CODE MEET2019 for ticket discounts. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.royal-oak.org/events/2019-spring-philadelphia-my-darling-winston/ Reception before the lecture. “My pen wanders recklessly,” wrote Winston Churchill of the sparkling letters he exchanged with his mother, Jennie Jerome, over a period of 40 years. David Lough’s lecture, based on the first-ever edited selection of their correspondence, sheds new light on Churchill’s early emotional, intellectual and political development. Spanning from 1881 to1921, these missives follow Churchill’s life of adventure and political ambition, covering many milestones: his army service in India, time as a prisoner of war, election to Parliament, resignation after Gallipoli, and his return to politics in 1917. His mother’s life, by contrast, follows a downward spiral: her second marriage founders and she becomes a lonely figure, moving forlornly around the country homes of her wealthy friends. Their letters disclose an intense relationship between a demanding mother and a difficult son, both gifted writers who reveal much about themselves and the time period. Churchill’s missives reveal his personality as a young child and a truculent teen, looking to his mother to fix everything—which she usually did. Jerome’s letters reveal a dynamic woman leveraging limited agency in a sexist society. Brimming with gossip, name-dropping and chutzpah, and populated by an impressive cast of late Victorian and Edwardian characters, Mr. Lough’s lecture will enrich our understanding of Britain’s most celebrated statesman. He will offer poignant insights into Churchill’s relationship with the woman whose advice and loving encouragement set him on the path to power.

Past events (1)

A Woman of No Importance: The Spy Who Helped Win WWII

The Union League of Philadelphia

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