As part of The National Archivesâ€™ commemoration of the centenary of the First World War we have been running a project to catalogue some of the private correspondence of key British diplomats of the period.
These collections, held in record series FO 800, are a gold mine for researchers interested in British foreign policy, offering the personal and private views of leading figures, which often present a very different picture to that in the official Foreign Office records. They also contain many extraordinary stories which have until recently remained hidden. In a previous blog I highlighted one of these, Kaiser Wilhelm IIâ€™s penchant for pyjamas!
Over the last week the cataloguing of the papers of Lord Curzon has gone live on the catalogue, providing insights into his time as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the 1890s and as Foreign Secretary from 1919 to 1924. This latter period was a crucial time in which Britain played a leading role in the rebuilding of Europe following the First World War.The Curzon correspondence has also not disappointed in providing candid and amusing anecdotes, shedding light on his real views on individuals and events, and revealing snippets of the gossip that went around diplomatic circles. It is a couple of these that I will share with you in this blog.
In 1923 it was announced that Crown Prince Hirohito, heir to the Japanese throne was to marry, and the thorny question arose as to whether the King and Prince of Wales should send gifts. Continue reading »