Julia Golding

The Duchess of Avon replies

to your questions...

To all my pretty chickens,

I was charmed to receive your kind enquiries and delighted to have this opportunity to dispense my not inconsiderable pearls of wisdom to your young minds.


Were you sad when you gave singing up?

It was a great sacrifice, but my neighbours were relieved when I moved out to marry the duke so I have to admit some people were pleased.


Hi again Cat. I have some questions which i would be grateful if you would pass onto the Duchess of Avon. 1. How do you feel towards Cat? In a maternal way, or as an equal as a theatrical person? 2. Do you sometimes wish that you could go back to the theatre? 3. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? 4. How do you feel towards your son's many admirers? Are you planning for him to marry soon, or let him wait? Thank you for your time.

Cat is a diamond of the first water – quite unique, as I am myself. I must admit to maternal affection for her, especially as my dear Lizzie is now too far away to benefit from my daily attentions. I do sometimes long for the theatre – people there were far less stuffy than those lords my dear Sam has to put up with. My son is going to be a rogue – I hope he enjoys it without breaking any hearts. Oh no, no early marriage for him – he has many years of bachelorhood to enjoy.

To the Duchess of Avon,

How do you feel about Cat? Do you thik she should be more sedate and lady-like? Do you approve of Frank going around with her?



I wouldn’t change Cat for the world – she is a breath of air in a stultifying room. Frank has benefitted hugely from her influence.

To The Duchess of Avon,


i have read cats book and i think you have just got such a amazing character!

i just want to know what you think about Cat,

do you think there will be any possibilities of romance between Frank and Cat,

do you like Johnny,

wot did you wear to Lizzie's wedding

and what is your favourite song?

Sorry for all of the qyestions but I would love it if you could answer some of them.

Thank you very much, I can't wait to hear from you.

Hope you have a nice day!

From Kat

My dear Kat,

Wot is spelt ‘what’ – these were the kind of errors I had to struggle to conquer in my own translation from the stage to a dukedom so I sympathise with your attempts to improve your literacy. I think a mother should not interfere in her son’s amours. I heartily approve of Johnny. I wore my favourite pink gown with a lily bedecked hat. I like the Queen of the Night’s aria from the Magic Flute.

Dear Duchess,

I have a few questions.

1.) Would you like Frank to marry Cat? (see above)

2.) Do you like teaching Cat to sing or is it very painful? (She has plenty of talent but lacks lung capacity to be an opera singer)

3.) If you could choose anything in the world to do, what would it be? (run my own country and order everyone to learn a musical instrument – think how jolly it would be!)

4.) Would you like to be a singer still? (Oh yes.)

5.) What is the worst experience you've ever had? (France – need I say more?)

6.) What is the best experience you've ever had? (Marrying my dear husband)

7.) Which of your mansions do you like best, London or Bath? (London – I’m a city girl at heart)

8.) Do you like being a duchess? (It has its benefits – no one dare tell me what to do)

9.) What was it like when you were taken from a singer at Drury Lane to the Duke's mansion? (a shock)

10.) How did you actually meet the Duke? (In the Green room after the show)

Sorry for all the questions!


I replied above.

Your Grace,

You are quite a wonderful character in Cat's stories. Frank and Lizzie are very nice to read about as well. I was wondering, how long did you live at Drury Lane? How are Frank and Lizzie? What is you most favorite song that you sung ever? Last one! What was on your mind when you had to sing the song about people back in France in order for you, your husband, and Lizzie to get out of the Conciergerie? I hope you can answer


Thank you, my dear. I did not live at Drury Lane as Cat did, but performed there many times over ten years. Cat and Frank are not in London at present but are well. I mention my favourite son above. Singing in Paris was worse than my debut as I was in danger – but worse, so were my family and friends – that made it doubly difficult.

Dear your ladyship,

What was it like moving from being somewhat common to having servants so quickly? Do you find some of the things that ladies do a waste of time (embroidery etc.)?



I must admit to taking to having servants rather easily – Sam thinks I act to the manor born. Embroidery is not wasted – I like a little bit of decoration on my garments. I have a most delicious set of petticoats I bought in Paris – but perhaps I should not divulge to much as that would be vulgar.

For the Duchess of Avon,

What's your:

- Favourite colour? (pink)

- Favourite food? (hot chocolate)

- Favourite song? (see above)

- Favourite play? (Marriage a la mode)

What do you think is the best part of being a duchess? (the duke)

What do you like to do in your free time? (sing)

Where were you in the first Cat Royal book when Frank and Lizzie had just met Cat? (at Boxton)

Thank you for taking the time to answer!

-Leyla x

See above.

To The Duchess of Avon,


i have read cats book and i think you have just got such a amazing character!

i just want to know what you think about Cat,

do you think there will be any possibilities of romance between Frank and Cat,

do you like Johnny,

wot did you wear to Lizzie's wedding

and what is your favourite song?

Sorry for all of the qyestions but I would love it if you could answer some of them.

Thank you very much, I can't wait to hear from you.

Hope you have a nice day!


Dear Kat,

My dear, please see above for advice on spelling. I hope Cat does not fall for my boy – he is not ready for a romance, nor is she if I judge her correctly. I adore Johnny. I wore a wonderful –rather daring – Parisian gown. Song mentioned above.

Your Grace,

What would you say if your son and Cat got married? Also how did you meet your husband, you being from the theatre and having a different cirle of friends?



Dear Emily,

It is unlikely that wedding bells will ring for my son for many years. I mentioned above where I met my dear Sam but many of his friends were stuffed shirts – they fell away and we made new ones together, like that naughty Mr Sheridan – he is very amusing.

Here are some questions for the Duchess of Avon:

What did you first think of Cat, Syd and Pedro when you met them?

What was it like being a part of the cast in the Theater Royal, Drury Lane and what was your favorite part that you played?

Thank you so much,

Naomi from Canada.

Dear Naomi

How are you managing in such an uncivilized part of the world? I hear there is little there besides hunters and native people, barely a house and no theatre.

I was a soloist when at Drury Lane so had special treatment. I enjoyed many parts, but singing the Messiah was my favourite role – Mr Handel is a genius.

Dear Ms. Duchess of Avon,

I have been told to make these questions outrageous, since you are, after all, a colorful personality. So I must ask, if you don't mind: What do you usually wear as undergarments? I have always wondered, really, and it would please me so if you could answer this question for me. Yours truly, Nicole

You impudent puppy! I like you already.

Yes, indeed – petticoats like any decent lady, but mine are rather popular with Sam for the reasons mentioned above. Between you and me, my corsets have to be made for me as I am rather well endowed.


my question is for the duchess: do you think cat will be a good match for frank?

I think they know each other too well for romance to bloom and as much as I support the aspirations of lower class women, it is unlikely to bode well for the duchy of Avon to have a second duchess from a dubious background.

Duchess of Avon,

How did you first get known as the Bristol Nightingale? How and why did you first start singing? Did you sing as a child? Was anyone else in your family musical?




Dear Jess

I began life singing in my home city of Bristol – hence the name. My father was a music teacher and trained me. We were all musical, except my brother Jim who joined the navy instead to give our ears a rest (his words, not mine). He is now a master and commander.

Dear your Grace, The Duchess of Avon,

I would be vey grateful if you could awnser these questions for me:

Would you of liked to have Cat as your dauter? (She is an honorary daughter already)

Have you visted Lizzie & Jonny yet? (Not yet)

Would you prefer freedom for slaves or equality for women? (I think the issue of slavery must be dealt with first as it is a crime of unimaginable cruelty. I claim equality as my right - Sam would not have it otherwise, though I admit many women are not so fortunate)

Can you read? (Naturally)

Do you like being a Duchess? (Of course)

Do you miss being a singer? (Occasionally)

Do you have any prefrences who Frank marries? (i.e. status, intelligence, looks?) (I want whatever makes him happy)

Thank you very much,

Your faithful servant,

Miss Elizabeth

P.S. please excuse my poor spelling.

See above

Dear Your Grace (The Bristol Nightingale- please escuse the impertinence.)

When asked to sing in Cat's third book, The Den of theives, (when you were in your rather nasty prediciment in the parisian jail) you were shocked as I think it hit close to home, with you feeling that you had worked so hard to be a respectable lady, that without a doubt you are, to then go back to being a singer in a show. But when you started to sing everyone was in awe including his grace the duke. I was wondering do youe ever regret it (not marrying the duke or having Frank and Lizzy) but stopping giving your concerts.



I think perhaps I will always be a performer, whether on stage or in a drawing room. I may find a way to combine both my roles – my eyes were opened in Paris to the power of song.

Your Grace,

You don't have to answer this but what would you say your most embarrasing moment was?

Do you have anyone in mind to marry Frank?

What's the hardest part about being a duchess?

Have you gone to see little Catherine in America?


Best Wishes, MintiFlower. Xx

Dear MintiFlower (a wonderful name – are you on stage?)

I am too old ever to be embarrassed these days - life is too short! I have no one in mind for Frank. The hardest thing about being a duchess is behaving myself. I have not yet seen my granddaughter but I feel a visit is on the cards.

To your grace the duchess of Avon. I am most thrilled that you are answering questions! Please do answer mine, i will try not to be too impertenant, or to bore you with anything that would make you fall asleep in the drawing room. Was it odd to change from the life of "The Bristol nightingale," to the wife of a lord? Do you like being involved in cat's adventures? Which part for you was the most fun? I also wanted to congratulate you for your performance in france, it must have been difficult under such pressure and after being locked in that dreadful cell! Thankyou for your time, RB

Dear RB

I did have some teething troubles taking on my new role but I sailed through them – if you do not act as if something is a problem, then others will question if they are right to think something is wrong (my advice to you all). I adore being part of Cat’s adventures – it sends a jolt of galvanizing energy through what can otherwise be a rather staid existence. I enjoyed most the day when the prison door opened and we were released.

dear duchess how come when we first met you your all about breaking the rules but later you are sort of about following them at least thats what i got Brianna

I do both – with gay abandon. A duchess creates her own rules and then breaks them!

My Dear Duchess of Avon,

I must say, you are a truly remarkable person! (I mean that as a compliment.) If you don't mind me asking, I heard of your fighting skills while you were in Paris, and I was wondering where you learned to fight so well? Don't worry, it's something to be proud of! I actually wish I could fight well. Also, are you doing well at the moment?

Love from a fan of a Duchess and a Nightingale,


Dear Coral

If you grew up near Bistrol docks and had a fine embonpoint as I do, you would soon learn to fight dirty.

to cat, please pass on this question to the dutchess of avon:

how do you become a dutchess? and what do you do when you are a dutchess?

thanks! Sara

You marry a duke! I assist my husband as he oversees his duchy – it is quite an enterprise.

Dear Duchess of Avon,

I hope you don't mind but I would like to ask you a few questions if you don't mind :) Out of all Cat's friends that are boys, if you could choose one of them for her to marry who would you choose? When you were a singer, what was the most outrageous costume you had to wear? What is your favorite thing to wear nowadays? Do you ever see your friends from when you were a singer? Thank you so much!!! Have a splendid day!


Melody Joy

I have not seen anyone deserving of Cat – she needs a very special person. My most outrageous costume was a harem dress with pantaloons – I think this was when I first caught Sam’s eye. I love wearing my tiara at the opening of parliament – such a poke in the eye to all those who said I would end up in the gutter! I see few of my old acquaintances, but our laughter is quite raucous when we do get together – my coven Sam calls us.

Your Grace,

Upon hearing that you where recieving question this March, I was wondering perhaps you could answer this for me?

How did you meet your husband, the Duke of Avon?

If you find this too personal of a question, I will not mind. Also, may I be permitted to ask...

If you could go back to the theatre, to singing, to work, would you?

Thank you for taking your precious time to read this little letter.

I deeply admire you attitude for life, and would love to have as much confidence as you have!

Yours humbly,

Miss Kat

P.S I hope you do not find me to forward, asking these questions!

Dear Miss Kat

See above for where I met Sam. I would only go back to the theatre on a very special occasion – like a command performance.

Your Grace,

I would love to pursue a career on the stage! Do you have any words of wisdom for a fellow singer? Have you heard yet about the details of Mr. Dixon's dastardly plot to do away with Miss Royal and your son Lord Francis? I truly hope that he has been shunned and exiled for good. Aside from being locked away in the prison, was it exciting to be in Paris? Would you ever like to return and perform at the opera there? I visited it a while ago and I am sure you would enjoy it if you have not already gotten to experience its splendor!



If you wish to be a singer, training is everything. Start young and practise as hard as you can. Mr Dixon is in deep disgrace and if he dares cross my path I will make him regret it – he will be served minced up to Newgate! Paris is magnificent – exciting and beautiful. I would enjoy returning to perform but only in more peaceful times. I am saddened by the turn taken by the revolutionaries.

This is for the Duchess of Avon, what is the best thing that has ever happened to you? And where would you most like to visit? Sarah x

Marrying Sam was the best thing that has happened to me. I would most like to visit Lizzie and Johnny and Catherine, of course.

Your Grace,

Who do you think should be Cat's husband?

Awaiting your reply,

Molly F.

Someone exceptional – I’m yet to meet him.

Duchess of Avon,

What do you think of Cat always being caught up in some adventure and going all over the world? And what did you think of her being an indian?(for a short time)


I think Cat is having quite a splendid time – I would have enjoyed travelling with her had I been younger. I think she would have made a fine Indian but I am glad we got her back.

For the Duchess:

Your Grace,

I've heard in your books, that you are a very good singer. I'm a singer as well and perform regularly with my choir. I've been singing for 5 years and I love it. So, any tips on improving my voice, Your Grace? Do you have any knowledge that shall benefit me on stage and off? I hope so, you being a professional and all. Thank you!!!


Dear Hannah

Please see advice above – I wish you well. I would hope you find enjoyment in singing and do not hanker too much after fame – it can be a poisoned chalice!

Dear Duchess,

What is your name? And What is your favourite piece of music?

Tabby and Immy

Maria Rivers. I have mentioned a number of pieces I admire above.

I heard that this month, I could send questions to the duchess, so here it goes.

I was just wondering what it was like to be a duchess and what it felt like for your daughter to marry a noble wanted by the law, then moving to another continent? I would think it very hard, but i would like your opinion as well. Thank you si very much! Celeste

Dear Celeste

I love a rogue – so I was rather in favour of Johnny. Time will improve his fortunes I am positive of this and it is a marriage built on love – so has more promise of happiness than many a society match. Being a duchess is rather splendid.

My dear Cat (I hope you will forgive the familiar term that I have so carelessly addressed you by),

I am writing in hopes of reaching the Duchess of Avon, if you could be so kind as to pass it on . . .?

Dearest Madam:

I have read the books by the delightful Miss Royal, and I must tell you what a feeling of ectasy that sweeps over me whenever you pop in! You are quite a character (and I mean that as acompliment, not an insult) and I feel as if I almost know you.

I have a very few questions, if you will forgive my intrusion on your privacy. First off, did you love singing from an early age? Did you have some extensive musical training? If so, by whom? I do hope you will forgive my impertinence, and thank you a thousand times for taking the time to read my humble note.



I loved singing – whenever there was an audience, I would pop up on a table and sing my little heart out. My training is mentioned above.

To the Duchess of Avon,

Hi, I have a question for you. Would you suggest taking up boxing? Meryt

Good gracious, no! Learn to defend yourself, but entering the Fancy is no place for any but the most robust of men.

Dear Duchess of Avon,

I am going backcountry camping in the woods! My dad assures me I`ll be fine, but I`m feeling a bit unprepared anyway. Any tips? Rhonda

I do not like being without comforts so my tip is to stay at home. If you have to go, take a good book and imagine you are somewhere else.

Oh, and this is for the Duchess...

Dear Duchess,

There is a movie called the Duchess. I saw it the other night. Sad. :( Your lucky, because your Duke guy is pretty nice, I assume. Anyways...

1) Do you know what nail varnish is? Does it exist? (No, what is this?)

2) What would you do if Frank NEVER gets married? Does he like anyone (romantically)? (He will marry eventually but not for a long while)

3) BANG! What was that?

4)Tell us about your hair... (It is magnificent)

5)Lizzie's so nice! Almost too nice... Hmmm...

6) I hear you're a good singer. I'm a (deleted) singer. How can I be good? (Practise my dear, practise!)

7) I could be a rapper instead. Do you think I should be a rapper? (what is this? You should set your sights higher than being a piece of door furniture)

8)I play piano and flute anyways. Wanna be in a band with me? Like a double act. We can be called "The Duchess and the Jewels." Like Marina and the Diamonds but opera style. (I need an orchestra, my dear)

9)My favourite show is called The Mighty Boosh. I love Noel Fielding. Because your a Duchess and your cool like, can you arrange for him to come and meet me? (No)

10) I feel like drawing a picture. What should I draw? (My dear, you need more imagination)

11) You know Frank? I think he should get a tattoo so him and Cat can be TWINS! Like a matching one. What do you think? (Sam has one – I rather like it)

12) LAST QUESTION! If you had to eat a worm or a slug, which would you eat? (My dear, you should lie down and consult a doctor)

13) One more thing... I just had an awesome thought. Noel Fielding and your son Frank could get married! It'd be amazing, lets go for it! I'll ring Noel, 'cause I can do that (*coughs*), and you like, send a smoke signal to Frank or something. The wedding shall be tomorrow! To that bat mobile!!! (Dundudedudun DUN!)

Love oaksdoapd


See above.

Hello Cat this is for the Duchess of Avon (below :)

Hi what is your favorite thing to do thnx -N.K.

Sing to Sam.

This message is for the dutchess- i'm not sure if it's too late to post these, sorry if it is!

To the dutchess of avon,

-when did you first become a singer and why? (to earn a living of course)

-what is your favourite colour? (pink)

-what is your favourite place in london and why? (I rather enjoy Vauxhall gardens)

Thank you,

Alice Blanco

See above.

Blessings on you all.

Maria, Duchess of Avon