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 Florence Dixie.

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24th

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PostSubject: Florence Dixie.   Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:49 pm

Florence Dixie. Evidently was a field correspondent for the London Morning Post in the Zulu War (1879) I have look and can find nothing to substantiate this. Any information welcome.
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PostSubject: Re: Florence Dixie.   Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:57 pm

Lady Florence Caroline Dixie (1857-1905) nee Douglas

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Lady Florence Dixie on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1884

Poet War Correspondent and Explorer
1857–1905, British traveler and writer; daughter of the 7th marquess of Queensberry. She visited Patagonia (1878–79) and wrote Across Patagonia (1880), the first of several vivid travel books. She was field correspondent (1879) of the London Morning Post in the Zulu War and was instrumental in securing the short-lived restoration (1883) of Cetshwayo, the Zulu king.

...Florrie then planned an expedition to the Arctic but there was a problem – the family were broke. In 1879 she gained a commission as war correspondent for London's Morning Post covering the Zulu wars. Arriving too late, she justified her visit by interviewing the defeated King Cetswayo. Impressed by his dignity she returned home to successfully campaign for his re-instatement. Her book Land of Misfortune followed, but its success did not provide sufficient means to save Bosworth Hall. The home was sold and the family moved to Windsor.
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PostSubject: Re: Florence Dixie.   Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:07 pm

Hi 24th

I have also came across the following:-

In 1881, Dixie was appointed as a field correspondent of the Morning Post of London to cover the First Boer War (1880-1881) and the aftermath of the Anglo-Zulu War. Her husband went out to South Africa with her. In Cape Town, she stayed with the Governor of the Cape Colony. She visited Zululand, and on her return interviewed the Zulu king Cetshwayo, who was being held in detention by the British.

Her reports, followed by her A Defense of Zululand and Its King from the Blue Book (1882) and In the Land of Misfortune (1882), were instrumental in Cetshwayo's brief restoration to his throne in 1883. In Dixie's In the Land of Misfortune, there is a struggle between her individualism and her identification with the power of the British Empire, but for all of her sympathy with the Zulu cause and with Cetshwayo, she remained at heart an imperialist.

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Lady Florence in the 1880s
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PostSubject: Re: Florence Dixie.   Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:31 pm

JAN TOMS, writing in The Scotsman

ONE BLEAK November morning, a funeral cortège wound its way across the windblown Kinmount estate in Dumfriesshire to a private burial ground. At an unmarked spot and in accordance with her instructions, Lady Florence Dixie - poet, travel writer, champion of women's rights and animal welfare - was laid to rest with no religious ceremony.
Florence and her twin James Douglas were born on 25 May 1855, the last children of Archibald the 7th Marquis of Queensberry and Caroline his disillusioned wife. The twins were inseparable but it was an unequal partnership.

The headstrong Florrie organised their lives while the indolent Jim followed. When they were age three their father met with a bizarre shooting accident widely rumoured to be suicide. Their mother responded by converting to Catholicism and faced with the wrath of her mother-in-law, the Protestant Dowager Marchioness of Queensberry, she fled to France. Further turmoil followed.

Reunited in Scotland, news arrived that the twins' brother Francis had died in a climbing accident. The distraught Caroline once again hauled the eight year olds around Europe.

Unsettled and unhappy, Florence developed a need to travel that lasted into adulthood. On the shores of Lake Geneva, Bulwer Lytton spotted her sadness, inspiring him to write a poem, Little Florrie Douglas. Forty years later, Florrie dedicated her own book of poetry, Songs of a Child, to Lytton.

Florence probably met Sir Alexander Beaumont "Beau" Churchill, 11th Baronet Dixie, on the hunting field. He displayed an uncanny similarity to Jim - weak, irresolute and addicted to gambling and drinking. They married, moving to the family seat of Bosworth Hall in Leicestershire. Two sons – John and Albert - were born but Florrie soon grew bored and organised a trip to Patagonia accompanied by Beau and Jim (she left the children behind in the care of a nanny). The only woman on the journey, she excelled in the excitement and returned to write a best-selling travel book on the South American region, Across Patagonia.

Florrie then planned an expedition to the Arctic but there was a problem – the family were broke. In 1879 she gained a commission as war correspondent for London's Morning Post covering the Zulu wars. Arriving too late, she justified her visit by interviewing the defeated King Cetswayo. Impressed by his dignity she returned home to successfully campaign for his re-instatement. Her book Land of Misfortune followed, but its success did not provide sufficient means to save Bosworth Hall. The home was sold and the family moved to Windsor.

With an Irish grandmother, Florrie now embraced the cause of Irish Home Rule. Vociferously criticising the methods of the Irish Land League – which inspired and assisted Scotland's crofters in their struggle to obtain security of tenure - she was attacked by "Fenians" and stabbed. Queen Victoria at nearby Windsor Castle sent her ghillie John Brown to investigate. Unfortunately he caught a chill and died, causing the Queen to blame Florence for his demise.
Once more Florrie and Beau were broke. With her mother, Florence returned to her birthplace - the dower house on the Kinmount estate. Jim announced his intention to marry but the delight was short-lived. Deprived of his sister's presence he soon showed signs of mental illness. On 4 May 1891, his body was found in a London hotel. He had cut his throat.

Florrie threw herself into good causes, conducting a heated correspondence against riding side-saddle and devising her own form of dress. She wrote passionately on the evils of hunting and became a vegetarian. Two books - The Two Castaways and Gloriana expounded her views on the role of women.
Interviewed for the Women's Penny Paper, the reporter concluded that she was made of "heroic stuff that knows not what defeat means."
Family troubles returned. In 1893 the intimate and salacious details of her nephew Lord Alfred Douglas's affair with Oscar Wilde filled the press, and a year later her other nephew, Lord Francis Douglas died in a shooting "accident" horribly reminiscent of his grandfather's.
Disillusioned and crippled with arthritis, Florence died aged 50. She is not totally forgotten however for her name still graces a remote hotel in Chile - the Lady Florence Dixie.
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PostSubject: Re: Florence Dixie.   Tue May 17, 2011 9:06 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Florence Dixie.   Wed May 18, 2011 7:33 am

A very interesting thread about a remarkable woman. Britain in the 19th Century produced some very strong women, including Queen Victoria, at a time when the "weaker sex" were kept "in their place" by men. This situation makes their achievements all the more commendable.

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PostSubject: Re: Florence Dixie.   Wed May 18, 2011 1:04 pm

Florence Dixie's book "Defence of Zululand and Its King"
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PostSubject: Section about Florence Dixie in the book Ladies of the Veld by Brian Roberts   Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:22 pm

I was fortunate enough to find a book at a second hand book store that has a whole section on Lady Florence Dixie. Its called Ladies of the Veld by Brian Roberts. Have a look for it if you can.
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PostSubject: Re: Florence Dixie.   Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:15 pm

Hi JodiSky

Welcome to the forum.

There was a copy for sale on a well known auction site.

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Also copies at

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