Jane Dismore is a freelance writer of history and heritage and a biographer. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) and a member of the Historical Writers’ Association (HWA), the Biographers’ Club, the Biographers’ International Organisation (BIO), the Society of Authors and, as a solicitor (now non-practising), the Law Society of England and Wales. Jane is also an experienced public speaker and has presented on radio and popped up in podcasts and on TV. Her literary agent (for Duchesses and Princess) is Andrew Lownie.
A list of Jane’s most recent published features can be found further down this page.
NEWS On Sunday 11 June 2023, at 7pm. Jane can be seen in a documentary on Channel 4 television called Elizabeth: A Life through the Lens, which looks at the late Queen Elizabeth II, the most photographed woman ever.
NEWS Jane’s latest book is TANGLED SOULS: Love & Scandal among the Victorian Aristocracy pub. in Feb 2022 by The History Press. TANGLED SOULS is available from all good bookshops and on Amazon or you can order here: https://smarturl.it/TangledSouls
Tangled Souls is also on sale at two major houses in the UK which are open to the public and feature in the book: Belton House, Grantham, Lincs (now National Trust) and Ashridge House, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire (and see Events page).
From January 2023, TANGLED SOULS is also available to buy in shops in the US. US author Allegra Huston, who was raised by the late, great film director, John Huston, writes about Tangled Souls in the Oldie magazine (May 2022) and how it helped her understand her English great-grandfather, Harry Cust, who is at the heart of the book. (See Reviews page.)
Sample reviews: ‘An excellent micro study in Victorian infidelity’ (History Scotland magazine); ‘An exciting page-turner of a book’ (The Lady magazine); ‘I genuinely could not put it down’ (Roger Bolton, Radio 4 presenter & author); ‘Very well researched and so fascinating. A fabulous read’. (Karen D. via Facebook). Link to more reviews HERE: https://janedismore.com/reviews/
See Events page for past events and links to radio interviews on Tangled Souls, including with broadcaster and former politician Michael Portillo.
Jane’s feature on Tangled Souls is in the Feb. 2022 issue of Historia, the magazine of the Historical Writers’ Association (HWA)
NEWS Jane is delighted to be the recipient of an Antonia Fraser Award (October 2021), a grant for a work-in-progress of a biography of a woman or women. Her proposed subject is Lady Dorothy Mills (nee Walpole), an early 20th century traveller, writer and novelist and one of the first women Fellows of the Royal Geographic Society. A link to an earlier feature Jane wrote for the Eastern Daily Press is found here: https://janedismore.com/2014/12/10/lady-dorothy-mills-nee-walpole/
Lady Antonia Fraser is one of our major historical biographers. She invited Jane to meet her in Nov. 2021
Update: Jane’s book, PRINCESS The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II is now available in ebook and paperback by Lume Books (below left). It’s also still available (below right) from Lyons Press (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, USA). All editions available from the publishers or from Amazon. (See sample reviews)
PRINCESS and filming: Jane was filmed for the documentary Our Queen in Wartime for which PRINCESS was a source, broadcast on ITV on 22 April 2020 (see Events page.) With the slightly different title of The Queen at War, it was also shown on 5 May 2020 on PBS.
DUCHESSES: Living in 21st Century Britain (published on 4th September 2014 by Blink Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing. Also available in an e-book) HM the Queen graciously accepted a copy of Duchesses for her 90th birthday.
When Kate Middleton was made a royal duchess in 2011, she made the old title topical, even desirable, again. Just below the royal duchesses on the aristocratic tree sits another tiny group of women with their dukes: the non-royal duchesses. They are just as much a part of Britain’s heritage, the dukedoms having been awarded by monarchs since the 16th century, but they are a dying breed.
Ten of these duchesses form the basis of this book. Not only is it the first time they have been featured together but in many cases it is the first time they have talked publicly about themselves. Each also selects a favourite duchess from the past, providing a fascinating gallery through the centuries and a comparison with today – for what does it mean to be a duchess in the 21st century when privilege is not a popular concept?
THE VOICE FROM THE GARDEN: Pamela Hambro and the Tale of Two Families Before and After the Great War (pub. Aug 2012, SilverWood Books)
LONGLISTED 2013 FOR THE NEW ANGLE PRIZE FOR LITERATURE
This true family saga focuses on two prominent families during a turbulent time in Britain’s history: the Hambros, a major merchant banking dynasty, and the Cobbolds, a long established British brewing family from Suffolk, who are united in 1919 by marriage. Their friends include the mighty Morgan banking family of the USA, and the prominent Swedish industrialists, the Wallenbergs, as well as members of the British aristocracy. At the heart of the action lies the love story of Pamela Cobbold and Charles Hambro.
EVENTS (link to new page)
PUBLISHED FEATURES & GUEST POSTS: some can be accessed from here, by clicking on title for link. (For some older features, see Links page and Archives). Please note that all features and book excerpts remain strictly subject to copyright. Permission to quote must be obtained from the author.
- A Very Victorian Scandal A look at the prominent Americans who were part of the cultured ‘Souls’ in Jane’s book Tangled Souls. The American magazine, May/June 2023.
- Coronation Day As the coronation of King Charles III approaches on 6 May 2023, a glimpse behind the scenes at the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Majesty magazine, April 2023.
- The Murrays and the Earls of Dunmore Charting the fortunes of two interconnected families with centuries of links to two of Scotland’s well-known sites,The Pineapple and Loch Rannoch. History Scotland, Mar/Apr 2023.
- This Unforgettable Year As King Charles III begins his reign, a comparison with what his grandfather, George VI, faced at the start of his. Majesty magazine, December 2022.
- The Early Life of Princess Elizabeth: from birth to accession as Elizabeth II: published in The London Gazette (est. 1665) after the Queen’s death on 8 September 2022. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/all-notices/content/104078
- Queen Elizabeth: The London Homes that made a Monarch by BBC journalist Tim Stokes, from an interview with Jane based on her book PRINCESS: The Early Life of QEII and published online on the BBC website on 9 Sept. 2022, the day after the Queen’s death. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-59249295
- A Victorian scandal that broke society’s rules The Souls at Wilton House, Wiltshire whose owner, the Earl of Pembroke, often hosted them for culture and fun, in Wiltshire Life, July 2022.
- A Very Victorian Scandal The Souls and their connection with Stanway in Gloucestershire, in Cotswold Life, May 2022.
- On Parade: In the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, looking back 80 years to her first official public engagement. Majesty magazine, April 2022.
- Damned Souls: Introducing the late 19th-century group of cultured aristocrats dubbed ‘the Souls’. Historia magazine, February 2022 (see above).
- Love and Scandal among Hertfordshire’s Victorian elite in the Welwyn Hatfield Times, 15 January 2022: https://www.whtimes.co.uk/lifestyle/heritage/new-book-on-victorian-aristocracy-8621964
- The King Who Never Was: The brief life of Prince ‘Eddy’, Duke of Clarence, grandson of Queen Victoria & heir to his father, the Prince of Wales, who died in 1892, aged 28. Majesty magazine, January 2022.
- State Occasion: looking at Trooping the Colour, the ceremony which in 2021 celebrates the Queen’s 95th birthday, Majesty magazine, June 2021.
- Her Heavenly Messenger: the strange story of the communication between the Countess of Caithness and Mary, Queen of Scots 300 years after the monarch’s death. Majesty Magazine, October 2020.
- Comfort to the People: Looking back 80 years to the Queen’s first speech as a 14-year-old Princess in WW2. Majesty magazine, October 2020.
- On the Duke of Edinburgh’s 99th Birthday Royal experts, including Jane, choose their favourite picture of Prince Philip and say why. Yahoo News, 10 June 2020.
- Fateful Festivities: the marriage of Marie Antoinette & the future Louis XVI 250 years ago, through the eyes of the 1st Duchess of Northumberland. Majesty magazine, May 2020.
- Shaping a Queen: at the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2, how the war influenced Princess Elizabeth. Majesty magazine, March 2020.
- On 13 Jan. 2020, as ‘summit talks’ headed by the Queen take place at Sandringham on the proposals made by the Duke & Duchess of Sussex, Jane’s letter is published on the subject in The Times newspaper – see letter on Events page.
- 85 years ago (1934): the marriage of the Duke of Kent & Princess Marina of Greece, memorable for many reasons: Royal Central, 29 Nov. 2019
- Myth, Mystery & Fun The Queen & her Bowes Lyon relations, Majesty magazine, Nov 2019
- A Story of Love and War: Cobbold Celebrations, 1919 Suffolk Magazine, October 2019 (online version click here & also see magazine itself)
- The Royal Family in 1939 Majesty Magazine, June 2019
- On the Queen’s 93rd birthday, a look back at her 13th Royal Central, April 2019
- The Queen and the Bowes Lyon family: BRITAIN magazine, Jan/Feb 2019
- Remembering the Duchess of Abercorn for Royal Central, 13 December 2018
- Fit for a King: following his 70th birthday, a feature on the sponsors for the christening of HRH the Prince of Wales, Royal Central, December 2018.
- Secret Life of Duchesses Country Life, Sept 2018
- An Old Alliance: Princess Elizabeth & the Americans The American, July/Aug 2018
- 80 years ago: Princess Elizabeth & the Summer of 1938 for Royal Central, July 2018
- The Suffragist of Corfe Castle Dorset Life July 2018
- Olive Knox: The Woman Behind the Codebreaker The Northumbrian, June/July 2018.
- Fine on the day: a look back at royal weddings before Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle. Royal Central, 16 May 2018.
- Emmeline ‘Nina’ Cust (1867-1955), Poet, Artist, Lover for National Trust, March 2018. Celebrating women’s achievements 100 years after the Representation of the People Act.
- The Queen’s first Christmas As Prince Harry’s fiancee looks ahead to her first royal Christmas, here’s a look back at Princess Elizabeth’s: Royal Central 5 December 2017
- The Cambridge Psychics published by Dr Ann Kennedy Smith online, January 2017
- Legacy of Good Duchess Anne published in History Today magazine October 2016
- The Cambridges in Canada: Royal Central, 12 Sept. 2016.
- The sad story of the Dukes of Westminster and the Maid of Ebury Royal Central, 11 Aug 2016
- Duchess who caught a collecting bug pub. in The Northumbrian mag. Aug/Sept 2016
- Pocahontas in England published in History Today magazine June 2016
- Pocahontas 400 published in Kent Life magazine June 2016
- When America married Norfolk published in Eastern Daily Press, Weekend, May 2016
- Stover and the Duke of Somerset published in South West Life Magazine December 2015
- Duchesses on Duty published in BRITAIN magazine, Sept/Oct 2015 issue
- ‘Wolf Hall‘ feature: interviewing the Duke of Somerset, John Seymour in Wiltshire Life Magazine, April 2015
- The Duchess Diaries published in Social & Personal Magazine, December 2014
- A Rare Species: Britain’s non-royal dukedoms published on History Today website
- Are Duchesses an Endangered Species? published in The Lady magazine, 26th September 2014