This week’s edition of ¡Hola! magazine, Spanish parent of Hello! magazine, opens with myself and Sarah in a long feature with the slightly exaggerated headline of “Alexander Fiske-Harrison, the English ‘gentleman’ that one day became an expert on bullfighting” (the edition marked 13 de Mayo, not 6 de Mayo.)
I see we got bumped from the cover by Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, although it’s not intolerable to bow before family. (A joke; if you read the article you’ll understand.)
The formal portrait and landscape shots were taken at Otley Hall in Suffolk, which once belonged to my forebears, 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 Cayetano Rivera Ordonez, Juan José Padilla and don Adolfo Suarez 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 is written 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 my tourism consultancy (see the end of the interview below) down to my 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.
Before I go to the interview (using photos not available in the magazine), I should like to thank 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 navy suit (the only item of clothing I wore at Otley Hall of my own) – there is a reason we have come back to you for three generations (and owned shares since the 1970s) – and also Ralph Lauren for providing Sarah and I with clothes in the Feria de Abril in Seville this year.
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Alexander Fiske-Harrison comes from one of the oldest and most illustrious families in England. Fiske-Harrison 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 and student of philosophy and biology the level of both Master of Arts and of Sciences at the universities of Oxford and London, the son of a wealthy investment banker in ‘The City’, Alexander can claim to be the true “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. 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, 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 discovery, Alexander, greets us with his fascinating girlfriend, Sarah Pozner – Senior Legal Advisor to BUPA Global and captain of the polo team “Legal Beagles” – Otley Hall, a historic Tudor Manor nestled 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. [Read more…]