|Agatha Christie's brother, Monty|
While thinking about a topic for this month’s post, I wondered if there was an Agatha Christie-related or 1920s event that happened in June to write about. I did a little online research – and then created my own event!
If you’re into gardens, you can find videos online of gorgeous English gardens and learn what’s blooming in June. And speaking of blooms, search results bring up the famous poem “O my Luve is like a red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in June,” although Robert Burns is actually the national poet of Scotland, not England. Looking a bit further, I read that Burns also wrote the words to “Auld Lang Syne,” which I already knew, and that he died at the age of thirty-seven, which I did not know.
June seems to be a good month for crowning English monarchs. The coronations of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon were held in June of 1509. Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, was crowned in June of 1533. Anne’s reign only lasted until 1536, but 420 years later, England celebrated the coronation of Elizabeth II, and she is considered the second-longest-reigning monarch of all time. Louis XIV beat her record, having ascended the throne at the age of four.
Since Agatha Christie’s earliest novels often refer to World War I, I looked for June events there, too. The war raged on from July of 1914 until November of 1918, and in June of 1917, the British royal family changed their name. When Queen Victoria married her Albert, he was a German prince of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Technically, that made them Mr. and Mrs. Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Germany was England’s enemy during WWI, so George V, the grandson of Albert, made the decision to drop the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha name. Instead, he took the name “Windsor” for his family.
The only Christie-related event in June I could find was the birthday of Agatha’s brother, Monty, on June 23. The second child and only son of Fred and Clara Miller, he was born in 1880, just eighteen months after his sister, Madge. Fred and Clara’s third and final child, Agatha, wouldn’t follow for another ten years, in 1890.
Fred was an American whose mother died when he was quite young. His father remarried an English woman and while there were no offspring from this union, they did raise a niece of Fred’s stepmother. In 1878, Fred and the niece, Clara, were married. They settled in Torquay, which is where both Madge and Agatha were born, but Monty was born in New Jersey during a long visit to the United States.
Monty apparently did a little of this and little of that as an adult. He was stationed in South Africa and in India during the Boer War. After seven years of service, he became a professional hunter in East Africa until he ran afoul of illegal ivory trading. During World War I, he served with the East Africa Transport Corps, rising to the rank of captain. Tow