Author of a staggering 723 novels, holder of the Guinness world record for most number of books published in a single year(1976), with over 2 billion copies of books sold worldwide, Barbara Cartland was a specialist in Victorian era romance. Today marks the day of her death anniversary, the day when one of the greatest and most gifted writers decided to answer the final summons.
She began her career as a gossip columnist with the Daily Express until she published her first novel Jigsaw in 1922. The response to the novel was spectacular as it was rocketed to the top of the best seller list. She wasn’t just known for her books. She was particularly well known for her beauty, energetic charm and daring parties. Her image as a self-appointed expert on romance was often ridiculed. Case in point: her views were a tad bit conservative. Her earlier works were considered sensational, however her later novels which grew to be more popular showcased the heroines as chaste and virgins. The fact that these books were historical created a slight believability in chastity.
She wasn’t far from controversy as well. She alleged that her daughter Raine born during her marriage with Alexander George McCorquodale was actually the daughter of Prince George, duke of Kent. Her step-granddaughter was none other than Princess Diana. Her notable exclusion from Diana’s wedding caught the eye of the tabloids. Cartland was openly critical of Diana’s subsequent divorce, though the rift between them was
mended shortly before Diana’s fatal car crash in Paris in 1997.
“The only books Diana ever read were mine, and they weren’t awfully good for her.”
Regarded by many as the true queen of romance, Cartland was often seen sporting her trademark pink dresses and plumed hats. She vehemently spoke against infidelity and divorce, though she was no stranger to both. She died in the year 2000 due to illness. After her death a collection of unpublished manuscripts was published by her son by the name of Barbara Cartland Pink Collection. On her 15th death anniversary we make it our duty to remember one of the greats of the mid 90’s era. Her achievements are unfathomable; her works incomparable. She once remarked “A historical romance is the only kind of book, where chastity counts.” Truer words have never been said.