HRH Princess Michael of Kent: A Cheetah’s Tale

THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT. Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent is a writer, historian and lecturer. In her new book, A Cheetah’s Tale, the author describes aspects of her own early life travelling in Africa and raising a cheetah cub. This unusual experience in the 1960s sparked her lifelong interest in conservation, of big cats especially. Among the many charities she supports, Princess Michael is currently Royal Patron of the Endangered Species Centre in South Africa (predominantly cheetahs) and also of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. She lives with her husband, Prince Michael of Kent, in Kensington Palace in London.

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Imagine waking up at dawn to find your father has just shot a lioness that was about to eat you. Or going to the bathroom, half asleep in the middle of the night, and finding a deadly black mamba curled up inside the loo. Or being charged by a herd of angry elephants, intent on protecting their young. These are just a few of the adventures seventeen-year old Marie Christine von Reibnitz (who would later become HRH Princess Michael of Kent) experiences on her father’s farm in Mozambique in the early 1960s. Most amazing is her adoption of a tiny cheetah cub, orphaned when its mother is caught in a trap.

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An extraordinary and intimate relationship develops between the rather lonely teenager and the creature she names Tess. With help from her loving stepmother Rosemarie, the dedicated local vet, her father’s ‘house hunters’ and her own teenage bodyguard Francisco, Princess Michael learns to feed, house and care for her little charge, watching Tess grow from a helpless kitten to a powerful, elegant creature - and one who needs to be taught to hunt for herself in preparation for her return to the wild. The separation, when it comes, will touch every reader’s heart.

Beautifully written by a natural storyteller, A Cheetah’s Tale is a wonderful story of a vanished Africa, of a girl growing up and of the incredible bond that can exist between people and animals. It’s certain to delight readers worldwide – this is the cheetah version of Born Free.

Her Royal Highness’ previous books include the non-fiction historical works Crowned in a Far Country, Cupid and the King, The Serpent and the Moon. The Anjou Trilogy, Vol. I The Queen of Four Kingdoms, Vol. II Agnès Sorel and Vol. III Quicksilver were her first forays into writing historicalfiction.

Reviews

‘What makes this book stand out is the princess’s very personal account of her own young life, re-connecting with an estranged father and meeting a loving step-mother, and adopting this small lost animal which she nurtured until the time to release it back into the wild. It is a window into her own world, as much as a really comprehensive study of cheetahs. Beautifully written and vividly recalled, this story is immensely touching and illuminating: her descriptions of Africa are fresh and painterly. I loved it.’ – JOANNA LUMLEY –

‘A cautionary tale of Africa’s most beautiful and rarest of big cats.' – WILBUR SMITH –

‘As we follow cheetah Tess’s journey from her rescue as an orphaned cub to her return back to the wild, Princess Michael of Kent explores the very human struggle between head and heart as she prepares to let go of Tess. Through her story we come to realise that cheetah are not ours to possess, but belong to the wilderness from where they came.' – SARAH DURANT –

‘This tenderly written account chronicles a story that is long overdue to be told: the survival of the graceful cheetah is at crisis point, yet again. Princess Michael’s passion for this bewitching creature, originating from evocative teenage experiences in Africa, have inspired a lifelong commitment to support the cheetah in its natural habitat. This deeply moving tale will surely hearten others to follow her inspiring lead at this critical time.’ – DAVID SHEPHERD –

'HRH Princess Michael is the patron of the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust, of which I am the field director, and I’ve always felt that the world should hear her own story of adventure, derring-do, heartbreak and struggle, but she dismissed that as too personal. Yet here, in this tale of love, reflection and sadness lies the person I know who never lost her connection with nature and what it meant to her and now wants to share it with us all. …An informative and touching book which gives us pause for reflection.' – TONY FITZJOHN –

'An enchanting glimpse into a world which has gone – a young woman’s love of an orphaned cheetah cub and a happy ending – the young woman grew up to be Princess Michael of Kent, and the cheetah grew up to run free. This is a surprising and moving account of a girl growing up in a wild and beautiful world.' – PHILIPPA GREGORY –

 

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Date: 24 October 2017

Time: 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m

Member Ticket Price: £ 15 including wine.

Non-member Ticket Price: £ 20 including wine.

Buying Tickets: THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT.