As Juliette leaves the United Kingdom and goes into the world on her Grand Tour, there are a number of places I wanted to get to as part of my research. While most of my locations in The Queen of England: Coronation were limited to England (because, hey, that’s where all the action takes place), in the second book, there is a lot more territory covered.
Again, this list might be slightly spoilerly, so if you want to avoid anything about the book, please read first and then come back to this post. In no particular order:
1. London Stone, United Kingdom
A landmark of historical (and fictional) significance. The scene around this stone is probably the one I would be most curious see illustrated, or made for the screen. Hopefully I did a good job describing it!
2. Broceliande, France
The Lady of the Lake makes an appearance in this novel (honestly, if I already have Excalibur, it seemed natural to include her as well), and while I ultimately decided to place her location in a fictional place (in my second fictional country), my research yielded this location, which has been linked with the Lady of the Lake and the Arthurian romance for centuries.
3. Tuscan countryside, Italy
When Juliette finds herself needing to connect with the Company of Merlin and the High Wizard, she has to fly to Tuscany, where they are located. I envisioned a large manor house and really, the opposite of Buckingham Palace in every way.
4. Gibraltar and Mallorca
As a ‘look’ for the country of New Catalan (where Prince Estevan is from), I have these locations on the list, two of them being the coastal cities of Gibraltar and the island of Mallorca.
5. Rabat/Casablanca, Morocco
See above. Magellan Castle, where Prince Estevan and his mother the Queen of New Catalan reside was always intended to have Moorish influence.
6. Bavaria, Germany
This location holds a critical scene late in the book, and is also a good reference point for fictional Lichtenplatz. I wanted to picture old forests and places that haven’t been disturbed for centuries.
7. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
While not the specific Lady of the Lake, I did comes across these and found them to be a great reference. As with above, there is a lot of old magic involved in the second book, and I wanted the
8. Versailles, France
One of the first (and most important) visits of the trip is the meeting between King Louis-Philippe and Juliette (it’s a reference to a meeting that would’ve taken place between Victoria and the King, had I not fictionally killed her off), and a reception at this stately and memorable mansion.
9. Paris, France
What Grand Tour wouldn’t include a visit to Paris? Unfortunately, the stay is cut short. Askew and Pippa are privately devastated that her majesty was unable to obtain some new garments.
10. Lichtenplatz and New Catalan
Can you visit a fictional country? How about two? In reality, I pictured Lichtenplatz tucked away near Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (and sharing much in the way of language and culture). For New Catalan, as mentioned briefly in the first book, I’d imagined the country to exist either as an island nation off the coast of Spain and Portugal, or, between the two countries.
Bonus destination: Queen Juliette was intended to travel to Italy to visit a distant family member, but due to a number of circumstances, was unable to make it.
Where do you think is a ‘must visit’ on a Grand Tour?