Mid-summer update: New Duchess of Windsor and Swiss Boarding Schools

Summer season is moving steadily along! We hope everyone is having as great a time as we are!

 Three summer presentations behind us, three more to go! The season is bookended by our Berkshires lectures. We did the updated and renewed Duchess of Windsor lecture, rechristened to Noblesse Oblige, the Duchess of Windsor as I knew her (yes, the same as the book) at Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA on June 12th. In this new version René reveals untold details about the Windsors, and several of their friends’ infamous and dramatic lives. This includes the contentious custody suit for “Little” Gloria Vanderbilt; the brutal, unsolved death of Sir Harry Oakes; William Woodward’s death at the hand of his infamous wife, Ann; and how Maître Blum, the sole executor of the duchess’ estate, abused the dying duchess.

20D9B1D2-2D82-4356-9A13-604F8FB298D9 4CD80786-3308-40FD-8453-011AE571BA36 A7D2DA06-105B-4D23-8EFF-C874B6A515F0 René at Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA 

A packed room and warm welcome awaited us at Ventfort Hall. Before the lecture, our gracious host, Thomas Hayes, toured us through Edith Wharton’s magnificent and brilliantly renovated estate: The Mount, right next door to the Seven Hills Inn, the wonderful guesthouse we stayed at. We look forward to returning on September 4thto present the Mar-a-Lago lecture, which also has a new title: The History of Mar-a-Lago, from cereal heiress to winter white house.

The second presentation of the summer was actually given by me (Robert) at The Residences of Seashore Point here in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was my normal educational presentation, turned into an entertainment lecture called: Growing up gay in 20thcentury America, from the 1930s to now. It was especially poignant because I did the research for my doctoral dissertation at this older adult living facility. Mark Boucher, the coordinator, was very welcoming and supportive! We look forward to working with him again at the end of August, when René will do his new Duchess lecture at Seashore Point.

Rene at Seashore Point René at Seashore Point

Just this week we did our third presentation of the summer. It was the Mar-a-Lagolecture right here in Provincetown at the largest entertainment venue: The Crown & Anchor’s Paramount Theater. We were proud to be in the same space as where stars like Linda Eder, Lucy Arnaz, Bruce Vilanch and Randy Rainbow also perform. A big thank you to Rick Murray.

René at the Crown & Anchor

Our next trip takes us to Nantucket where we will present the Life and Work of Addison Mizner for the Nantucket Preservation Trust and the Nantucket Historical Association at the wonderful Whaling Museum in  the middle of town. I have worked for 5 years to get us a gig there, and finally, with the help of our friends Michael and Jean this is coming to fruition.

Between all these presentations we have not been sitting still. Our biggest project has been to rewrite René’s first book: I Survived Swiss Boarding Schools. The new sub-title (All that glitters is not gold) more accurately reflects the updated book’s contents. For decades, René has had the dream to have this book about his childhood transformed into a visual presentation. Publishing the updated and re-written Second Edition will be the first step in this direction. We are also working on an accompanying lecture, presented along with scores of period pictures and delivered  in René’s inimitable story-telling fashion.

Additionally, I have been working with a local (Palm Beach) author to format their soon to be published new book.

New cover Swiss Boarding Schools
The new cover of “I survived Swiss Boarding Schools, all that glitters is not gold”

Check out the extensive list of presentations for this upcoming season in South Florida. We hope to see many of you at venues like the Kravis Center and the Four Arts, of at a country club, like The Polo Club of Boca Raton or Addison Reserve in Delray. www.rrsilvin.com/site/events/

Have a wonderful rest of the summer!!

Written by Robert Versteeg, partner at Silvin Books & Productions.

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