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VIRTUAL TALK: “The Howe Dynasty” with Julie Flavell
December 7, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm$10.00
THE HOWE DYNASTY
The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain’s Wars for America
In December 1774, Benjamin Franklin met Caroline Howe in a London drawing room for “half a dozen Games of Chess.” These meetings weren’t about board games. That was the cover story. Caroline’s brothers—British General Sir William Howe and Richard Admiral Lord Howe—were there. They were all part of a last-ditch attempt to forestall the outbreak of the American War of Independence.
The distinguished Howe family has been known for two things. The military exploits of the men is one of them. In 1775, Richard, commanding the HMS Dunkirk, fired the first shot signaling the beginning of the Seven Years’ War at sea; just three years later, George won the devotion of the American fighters he commanded at Fort Ticonderoga; and youngest brother General William Howe, his sympathies torn, commanded his troops to a bitter Pyrrhic victory in the Battle of Bunker Hill, only to be vilified for his failure as British commander-in-chief to subdue Washington’s Continental Army.
The family has also been known for its impenetrable and intensely private nature. Horace Walpole called them, “brave and silent.” But author Julie Flavell found another way in to this dynasty: through the women. Scrope Lord Howe didn’t shape his sons’ careers. The boys’ savvy aunt, Mary Herbert Countess Pembroke, gets the credit for maneuvering them to success. And, when eldest sister Caroline came of age during the reign of King George III, she also used her intimacy with the royal inner circle to promote her brothers, moving smoothly between a straitlaced court and an increasingly scandalous London high life.
Powerful men; powerful women. The Howe Dynasty provides a groundbreaking reinterpretation of one of England’s most famous military families across four wars.
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