When I first began writing the The Incredible Charlotte Sycamore set in London, I had fun in the research process. I went to the Buckingham Palace website shop (did you know they had an online shop or were you just as surprised as me?) and ordered a bunch of books, DVDs, and articles from the Palace so that I’d get a feel for the place. Charlotte lives here, of course, and I had to get things right. I couldn’t wait for my package to arrive.
When it finally did, I looked inside and found the most marvelous things! All kinds of info about the Palace, the Royal Mews (stables) and the grounds. And because I’m a writer and like to write about the senses – smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing – I ordered as many items I could that would help me. Tea to taste (Queen Victoria’s favorite was Earl Grey – she drinks it in the novel), a towel for my hands, lavendar soap to smell and feel, a DVD of the Royal Mews where I could see and hear the stomp of horses, and a beautiful turquoise tea cup and saucer made in one of Queen Victoria’s patterns. When Charlotte has tea with the Queen in my novel, they drink from this tea set.
There is one scene in the book where Charlotte is drinking tea with Queen Victoria, very nervous because they’re playing Magical Hong Kong checkers. In this game the Queen is able to tell whether Charlotte is lying when the Queen asks her direct questions about her friends. When I was writing the scene, I made myself a cup of tea and drank from the same tea set they were drinking from. It made me feel as though I was right there with them!
Here are a few more images of the package and its contents!