Julian Fellowes's Belgravia Episode 1

Dancing into Battle


By Julian Fellowes

Read by Juliet Stevenson

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On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, two families meet at the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball. From this moment on, their stories will be linked by a secret.

Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia is a story in 11 episodes published week by week in the tradition of Charles Dickens.

Belgravia is the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London’s grandest postcode. The story behind the secret will be revealed in weekly bite-sized instalments complete with twists and turns and cliff-hanger endings.

Set in the 1840s when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is peopled by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond’s now legendary ball, one family’s life will change forever . . .


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Episode One

The past, as we have been told so many times, is a foreign country where things are done differently. This may be true—indeed it patently is true when it comes to morals or customs, the role of women, aristocratic government, and a million other elements of our daily lives. But there are similarities, too. Ambition, envy, rage, greed, kindness, selflessness, and, above all, love have always been as powerful in motivating choices as they are today. This is a story of people who lived two centuries ago, and yet much of what they desired, much of what they resented, and the passions raging in their hearts were only too like the dramas being played out in our own ways, in our own time…

It did not look like a city on the brink of war; still less like the capital of a country that had been torn from one kingdom and annexed by another barely three months before. Brussels in June 1815 could have been en fête, with busy, colorful stalls in the markets and brightly painted, open carriages bowling down the wide thoroughfares, ferrying their cargoes of great ladies and their daughters to pressing social engagements. No one would have guessed that the emperor Napoléon was on the march and might encamp by the edge of the town at any moment.

None of which was of much interest to Sophia Trenchard as she pushed through the crowds in a determined manner that rather belied her eighteen years. Like any well-brought-up young woman, especially in an alien land, she was accompanied by her maid, Jane Croft, who, at twenty-two, was four years older than her mistress. Although if either of them could be said to be protecting the other from a bruising encounter with a fellow pedestrian, it would be Sophia, who looked ready for anything. She was pretty, very pretty even, in that classic blonde, blue-eyed English way, but the cut-glass set of her mouth made it clear that this particular girl would not need Mama's permission to embark on an adventure. "Do hurry, or he'll have left for luncheon and our journey will have been wasted." She was at that period of her life that almost everyone must pass through, when childhood is done with and a faux maturity, untrammeled by experience, gives one a sense that anything is possible until the arrival of real adulthood proves conclusively that it is not.

"I'm going as fast as I can, miss," murmured Jane, and, as if to prove her words, a hurrying Hussar pushed her backward without even pausing to learn if she was hurt. "It's like a battleground here." Jane was not a beauty, like her young mistress, but she had a spirited face, strong and ruddy, if more suited to country lanes than city streets.


On Sale
Apr 14, 2016
Hachette Audio

Julian Fellowes

About the Author

Educated at Ampleforth and Magdalene College, Cambridge, Julian Fellowes is a multi-award-winning actor, writer, director and producer. As creator, sole writer, and executive producer of the hit television series DOWNTON ABBEY, Fellowes has won three Emmy awards.Fellowes received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for GOSFORD PARK (2002). His work was also honored by the Writer’s Guild of America, The New York Film Critics’ Circle and the National Society of Film Critics for Best Screenplay. Other writing credits for film include PICCADILLY JIM (2004), VANITY FAIR (2004), YOUNG VICTORIA (2009), THE TOURIST (2010), ROMEO &amp JULIET (2013), and the upcoming three-part drama DOCTOR THORNE for ITV. Fellowes also directed the award-winning films SEPARATE LIES and FROM TIME TO TIME. Fellowes wrote the books for the Tony-nominated stage production of MARY POPPINS and SCHOOL OF ROCK – THE MUSICAL which opened on Broadway in December 2015, and is written and produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Fellowes has authored two novels: the international bestsellers SNOBS (2005) and PAST IMPERFECT (2008/2009).Julian Fellowes became a life peer in 2010. He lives in Dorset and London with his wife, Emma.

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