She was well over 90 when I interviewed Dame Barbara Cartland, who has appeared in the Guinness Book of Records as the most read author of all times. Truly a best-seller!
People refered to her as the “Lady in Pink” , yet it was with her romantic novels that this “queen of hearts” first achieved international fame. A few months before she passed away, Barbara Cartland - grandmother-in-law to the late Lady Diana - invited me to her private residence near London. She was a one-in-a-million personality, but you will see that for yourself...
We feel like extras in a romantic Hollywood epic the moment we pass through the magnificent manor gates to Camfield Place. It is here, behind these Victorian brick walls, that over 600 romantic novels have flowed from the fountain pen of Barbara Cartland - an expert in light literature. To refer to Dame Barbara as conspicuous would be an understatement. Madam is positively “striking”. Here recipe for success is always the same: charming girl, impoverished, but from a good family is tortured by a series of emotional upsets before she manages to find her knight is shining amour - naturally fiery, rich, good-looking and noble - into whose protective embrace she gratefully throws herself. Still and pure as the driven snow of course.
At 77, Barbara recorded her favourite love songs. The now nonogenarian proudly shows us the gallery where has collected the original drawings from her famous book covers. Barbara Cartland's success is in no small part due to the fact that she firmly believes in what she so perfectly markets: the desire for an ideal world, true happiness and true love.
Click to enlarge photos
As I am taken through the candy-coloured 30-room palace (Germans would call it "Kitsch"), Dame Barbara, recounts how she started out as a gossip columnist. She was 17 at the time. Today, Barbara, as the “Pink Queen of Romantics” is a living legend who wears her rose-coloured chiffon garments day in and day out - and not just for visitors.
Over 650 million copies of her 600 books, which include works on fashion, health, beauty and philosophy, have been sold world-wide and translated into a hundred languages. Even if feminists smirk at the eccentric old lady - her “pink” prose is highly popular!
Barbara Cartland has long reached the glittering zenith in the best-seller's heaven - she is after all listed third after the Bible and Lenin's biography. Does she believe that love alone can change the world?
Statements B. Cartland/english
Out of consideration for the fact that, like all of us, Barbara Cartland was extremely shocked by Princess Diana's death. So I change the subject.......
Barbara was a celebrated society beauty when her first book was published in 1923. According to what she says, it was not until the 48th man proposed to her that she eventually said yes and later bore his daughter Raine, who, when she married Earl Spencer in 1976, thereby made Barbara Princess Diana's step grandmother. And because a way to a man's heart is through his stomach, she has also written a cookery book with recipes for people in love. Moral deterioration starts in an unhealthy body according to Barbara and so the health-conscious Dame recommends Ginseng, Vitamin C and her own special vitamin tablets which were developed by her cook, Nigel. These can also be mixed invisibly into the food of a husband tired of pills, so that he can unwittingly remain potent and healthy.
In 1991, Barbara Cartland who besides writing also supports the elderly, gypsies and single mothers was made a Dame by the Queen for her humanitarian and literary works. What does Dame Barbara think are the essential ingredients for a happy marriage?
Statements B. Cartland/English
Wouldn't it be nice just to retire and enjoy the fortune she has earned? Barbara Cartland gives a tinkling laugh and whispers to Nathalie as they part: “That just wouldn't work - I am needed, otherwise the world would sink into sin and debauchery!” So, the “queen of hearts” continues to dictate 6000 words a day - which results in a new book every fortnight and 27 novels a year. Her dedication to perfect love will never end!
Poetisches Statement (Cartland)
* This special feature "Barbara Cartland" has been one of more than 200 VIP-Portraits, produced by Nathalie Gütermann for her TV-Shows 'Nathalie's Lifestyle' and 'Nathalie's Art of Living' that were broadcasted between 1990 - 2003 in Germany and in 15 countries world-wide. The content has been updated with actual information in 2004 for Nathalies-Lifestyle.com © 1990 - 2004. The reproduction or other use of any text, photographs, etc. needs the prior written permission of the Chief Publisher.