1984 A GIFT FIT FOR A QUEEN
To Orwell Today,
Hi, thought you might be interested in a story in the Telegraph yesterday [March 2009]. It's of Felipe Calderon, the Mexican president who is a fan of George Orwell's 1984 book, so the Queen gave him a signed 1st edition of the 1949 book as a welcome to the President when visiting Buckingham Palace.
Mexico's president given George Orwell's 1984 by the Queen
Telegraph, Mar 30, 2009
The president of Mexico received one of the more unusual gifts given by the Queen during an incoming state visit today - a copy of the classic dystopian novel 1984. At Buckingham Palace, Felipe Calderon was presented with a first edition of George Orwell's nightmarish book, which tells of a totalitarian regime and coined the concept Big Brother. The Royal Household seeks guidance from the staff of incoming VIPs when deciding what to offer during the official exchange of gifts. A Palace spokeswoman said: "Apparently the president really admires George Orwell." The 1949 book was boxed in leather by the bindery at Windsor....
Thanks for sending that amazing Orwellian news -- a gift FROM the Queen that's fit FOR a Queen!
Here's some coverage I read:
Her Majesty calls on Big Brother for a gift
Independent, Mar 31, 2009
Pandora very much doubts that the Queen harbours many an anti-establishment tendency – though the prospect is, rather delightfully, raised by news of her gift to the Mexican President: a copy of the classic dystopian novel, 1984.
Felipe Calderon, who arrived in the country yesterday on a state visit, was presented with a 1949 leather-bound first edition of George Orwell's famous work about a repressive, totalitarian regime perpetuated by a "Big Brother" state. It's an intriguing gift, not only because of the Palace's usual preference for uncontroversial tokens, but also because of its apparent prescience just a few days before a host of anti-G20 protesters descend on London to demand systemic revolution.
Apparently it couldn't have been better received. "The President really admires George Orwell," explains a Palace spokesperson. Naturally, Mr Calderon also received a more traditional offering: framed photographs of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, presumably to sit atop the presidential television....
I'm sure Orwell is looking down, pleased with the Royal honour - especially to have it bound in leather by Windsor Castle (across from where he went to school at Eton) - it being his dream, as a young boy, to one day be a FAMOUS AUTHOR and have his books collected in a uniform set bound in leather with gold or silver lettering.
Here's an excerpt from a book by a childhood friend of Orwell's which can be read in greater context in my article WHY NO ORWELL BOOK SET?. I've inserted pics at appropriate places.
ERIC & US
by Jacintha Buddicom
...There was no middle-course or compromise in his quiet but absolute determination on his own ultimate career. It was always 'When I am a FAMOUS AUTHOR . . .', echoed by me 'Of course, when you are a FAMOUS AUTHOR . . .' This was another subject under discussion that September evening, and I think - though it might have been another time (it was always a popular subject with us) - it was then that we decided on the format for his Collected Works. It was to be a Uniform Edition, and we agreed at length on the respective merits of rather small books bound in red leather with gold lettering like my family's Kiplings, or somewhat larger in a chaste dark blue with silver, to which Eric was finally more inclined.
[My father], when he was engaged and first married to my mother, had some books specially bound for her in dark green leather with gold fleur-de-lis as embellishment and gilt edges to the pages. I thought it would be rather nice for Eric to have a special De Luxe Set, after this pattern, but he, more Spartan, thought that might be 'a bit ostentatious'. In any case, he said, he wouldn't be writing that sort of book: but what was suitable for Darwin's Origin of Species, according to R A Buddicom, should have been appropriate to E A Blair whatever the subject matter.
In those days he was going to be E A Blair - Eric, he said, was not an 'author's name': the initials were more dignified and could keep people guessing. I pointed out that far from assuming a staid and respectable Edward, people might guess it to stand for Epimanondas or something unprintable. And we had a lot of fun comparing the most frightful names beginning with E that we could think of.
It was not until sixteen years later that he adopted George Orwell as a rather spur-of-the-moment, last minute decision. But the FAMOUS AUTHOR, with the collected editions, by the magic of that far-off sun-enchanted evening, was a dream that came true. Though Eric, alas, only lived to see the beginning of it....
~ end quoting from Eric & Us ~
I wish there'd been a photo in the news coverage showing the Queen presenting that leather-bound, 1st edition of "1984" to the President of Mexico.
All the best,
PS - I recall reading in one of the biographies that when "1984" first came out in 1949, and Orwell was lying in his hospital bed, there came a message from Buckingham Palace that all the bookstores were sold out but that the Queen was requesting a copy, so Orwell had one put aside and a man in a top hat in a Royal car came to pick it up.
KING EDWARD ABDICATION A CONSPIRACY
ORWELL'S WALLINGTON ROYAL MAIL DELIVERY
SIGNED COPY OF 1984 ANYONE?
1984 A GIFT FIT FOR A QUEEN
ORWELL'S OTHER BOOKS and RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON ORWELL and LOOKING FOR ORWELL AT ETON
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