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The Secret Life of the Savoy: and the D'Oyly Carte family

Olivia Williams

5 Reviews

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Social & cultural history

The story of the Savoy's founders, through three generations and a hundred years of luxury

In 1889, Victorian impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte opened The Savoy, Britain's first luxury hotel. Allowing the rich to live like royalty, it attracted glamour, scandal and a cast of eccentric characters, with the D'Oyly Carte family elevated to a unique vantage point on high society.

THE SECRET LIFE OF THE SAVOY tells their story through three generations: Richard (a showman who made his fortune from the Gilbert and Sullivan operas), Rupert (who expanded the D'Oyly Carte empire through two world wars and the roaring twenties), and Bridget (the reluctant heiress and last of the family line).

In this, the first biography of the family, Olivia Williams revives their extroardinary cultural legacy, told through the prism of their iconic hotel and its many distinguished guests.

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Praise for The Secret Life of the Savoy: and the D'Oyly Carte family

  • The story of how one family's vision shaped not only a British institution but the very idea of luxury. From Belle Epoque scandals to Hollywood gossip, and from kitchen politics to corporate swashbuckling, Williams' writing is deliciously alive with the type of behind-the-scenes drama that will transport you back in time. - Francesca Cartier Brickell, author of 'The Cartiers'

  • A thoroughly entertaining account of some of London's most treasured history, with its beloved The Savoy at the heart of a fascinating and delightful plot. Bravo to Olivia Williams and her fantastically colourful cast of characters. - Lady Kinvara Balfour, director and producer

  • Whether it's The Beatles being blocked from entry or Marilyn Monroe sipping tea in a daring dress, London's Savoy Hotel has seen its share of intrigue and controversy for more than a century. Olivia Williams reveals its most decadent moments. - You Magazine

  • A new book by Olivia Williams is to be welcomed as a reminder that "at their height", the D'Oyly Cartes ranked as "the greatest impresarios and hoteliers in the world" - as dynamic, innovative and powerful in their way as any of today's media dynasties. - Daily Telegraph

  • An elegantly crafted, yet spritely and sparkling book, perfectly befitting its subject. Williams uses group biography to beautifully illuminate some of London's greatest hotel and

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