News & Events

find out where you can meet Helen and hear her speak

I passionately believe that as an author and historian I should get out there and not just talk to readers about work published or in progress, but also to debate history with my peers and uncover new ideas for future work

News & Events


During 2023 I have been working hard on my new 17th book and have not been active on the literary festival circuit, apart from:

Gloucester History Festival, Thursday 14 September

12 pm:  ‘In Search of Mary Seacole’ Q&A – about my biography

4 pm:  ‘From Bridgerton to Poldark: The Secret Life of the Historical Consultant’ – a panel discussion with Helen Fry and Hannah Grieg in which I draw on my experiences working on ITV Victoria.

Other media

I have recently recorded several podcast and zoom interviews, some of which are now loaded on specific book pages on this website and are posted on my Facebook page at  and on Twitter @HelenRappaport


Julie, the Rebel Princess: From Saxe-Coburg, to Romanov St Petersburg, to Exile in Switzerland

To be published 2024 by Simon & Schuster in the UK and St Martin’s Press in the USA

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Few people know the story of Julie – as her family and relatives usually referred to her –­ and whom Queen Victoria and Prince Albert held in high regard. Her story begins in 1795 when she and her two sisters were taken by their ambitious mother, Auguste of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, on a long coach journey from Coburg to St Petersburg. This was in order to be inspected by Catherine the Great, who was in search of a suitable German bride for her grandson Grand Duke Konstantin. Julie was quickly chosen and summarily abandoned to her fate in Russia. Aged only 14 she was married off the following year but her husband Konstantin was a cruel, unpredictable sociopath and bully and Julie’s life was misery until she was finally able to get away in 1801. She had to wait until 1820 for a divorce, during which time she took refuge in Switzerland and built a fascinating and unorthodox new life for herself, in the process producing two illegitimate children.

This, the first biography of Julie in any language, draws on extensive primary research in the Saxe-Coburg archives and the Royal Archives at Windsor and includes many previously uncited and newly translated German, Russian and French sources.

For a discussion of my Julie project and some of the challenges of historical research, see Josh Provan’s Historyland podcast:

Sign up for Stories From the Footnotes of History

Please fill in this form to receive the latest stories in my Footnotes series — on hidden or little known & previously unpublished stories that I've uncovered during my research.

I will also send you regular updates in this newsletter about my work and speaking events.