This week’s edition of ¡Hola! magazine (13 May 2015) Spanish parent of Hello! magazine, opens with myself and my then girlfriend, now fiancée (see official announcement in next post) Sarah in a long feature with the headline of “Alexander Fiske-Harrison, the English ‘gentleman’ who one day became an expert on bullfighting” (pp.4-12.) Although I see we got bumped from the cover by Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
The formal portrait and landscape shots were taken at Otley Hall in Suffolk, which belonged to my ancestors, for which I would like thank Ian and Catherine Beaumont who own it today and the great fashion photographer Andrea Savini. The photos from my days in ‘the world of the bulls’ with the likes of te matadors Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez, Juan José Padilla and Don Adolfo Suárez Illana are by the great art photographer Nicolás Haro.
I enclose the text of my interview in the original English below. Please note the introduction and captions are by Mamen Sánchez, not me. Mamen is director of ¡Hola!, granddaughter of its founder, and author of The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman (Random House, 2015), which I am so enjoying reading at the moment.
Although I have moved my blog on bullfighting to its own site, The Last Arena, my involvement in Spain is no less intense, from tourism consultancy (see the end of the interview below) to bedtime reading: Mamen’s book is joined by the historian Robert Goodwin’s latest Spain: The Centre Of The World 1519-1692 (Bloomsbury, 2015) which I am reviewing for The Spectator.
Thank you to the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville for putting us up – there is a reason I have kept coming back for fifteen years – and Gieves & Hawkes, No.1 Savile Row, for providing my suit (the navy one, the only item of ny own clothing I wore at Otley Hall) – there is a reason my family has kept going back for generations – and Ralph Lauren for providing Sarah and I with clothes in the Feria de Abril in Seville this year.
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Descended from one of the most ancient and aristocratic families of the United Kingdom, descendant of King Edward III
The English Gentleman who one day became an expert of bullfighting
We open the gates of his historic ancestral home Otley Hall, built in the 16th Century, alongside his girlfriend, the beautiful lawyer Sarah Pozner
(Photo: Alexander Fiske-Harrison. We open the gates of the familial home, a historic building of the 16th Century, the manorial estate of Otley Hall, in the county of Suffolk. The Fiske-Harrisons are descended from Margaret Plantagenet, daughter of the Duke of Clarence. On the right he receives us together with the girlfriend, the beautiful Sarah Pozner)
Alexander Fiske-Harrison comes from one of the oldest and most illustrious families in England. The Fiske-Harrisons are the descendants of Margaret Plantagenet, daughter of the Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III, Kings of England.
Educated at Eton, he holds Masters in Arts and Sciences thanks to his studies in Philosophy and Biology at the Universities of Oxford and London. Son of a prosperous investment banker in ‘The City’, Alexander can presume to be the genuine “gentleman”. Elegant, humanist, lover of nature and man of letters, he is the author of numerous books and essays, a playwright and a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines including The Times, Financial Times and The Spectator.
Following in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway, there awakened in him an interest in bullfighting which brought him to Spain, first as a researcher and later as an authentic lover of the ‘fiesta de los toros’. From the hand of great Maestros such as Juan José Padilla, Eduardo Dávila Miura and Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez and through his friendship with Adolfo Suárez Illana [son of Spain’s first democratic president, the Duke of Suárez], who first introduced him to the world of bullfighting, Alexander has become a valiant bullfighter. He killed a bull of Saltillo and participated in various festivals, he has run for six years in the bull-runs of Pamplona and has written one of the most referenced books on the world of bullfighting: Into The Arena.
A complete discovery, Alexander, greets us with his fascinating girlfriend, Sarah – Senior Legal Advisor to BUPA Global and captain of the polo team “Legal Beagles” -, in Otley Hall, a historic Tudor Manor in the county of Suffolk. This building, dating from the 16th Century, connects the Fiske-Harrison family and the Kings of England, and a great-granddaughter of Margaret Plantagenet here contracted marriage with the then Lord of the Manor of Otley Hall, John Gosnold.