A FORMER Crimond man man has taken the quite extraordinary step of publishing a book claiming Queen Victoria and servant John Brown wed and had a ‘love child’.
The amazing tale from Billy Rennie of Stuartfield, just released Stateside by American publishers Dorrance Publishing Co Ltd, insists it has evidence to uncover one of Scotland’s “best kept secrets”.
In ‘The Hidden Prince’, Billy Rennie - who has produced a wealth of historical documentation for the Buchan Observer and Back in the Day - presents compelling information passed down from generation to generation regarding the secrecy surrounding a relationship between the late Queen Victoria and John Brown, who was most likely the love of her life.
Although this tale is not a new one - in fact, there was a film made on the story - Billy provides information that he maintains solidifies the secret marriage between them and the birth of a ‘hidden prince’ who was raised by John Brown’s family.
What contributed greatly to the author’s interest in this love story is the fact that his beloved late wife, Sheena, was a descendent and had credible bits and pieces passed down through her family over the years.
He told the Buchanie he initially wanted to help her find out more truths behind the family history and tales and whispers passed on from and through each generation which he himself claism to have witnessed himself on several occasions.
After reading a paper article where Michael MacDonald, the then curator of the Museum of Scottish Tartans, had been forced not to pursue the very same areas - although lacking in substance - of interest that Sheena wanted to be heard and exposed, it was felt better to let sleeping dogs lie due to the perceived fear and harm it may cause to her children’s future.
Historically this was the showstopper for most parties wanting to enter this area of forbidden grounds and secrets.
After many years laying unspoken, it all came flooding back to life again one evening when Billy was sitting with one of his grandchildren when the conversation turned to historical information on his family the young man had never been exposed to which included the long gone and buried.
“In afore ye gwa I hiv ti tell ye the maist important een,” said Billy.
On telling of the direct linear parentage the young man didn’t believe a word of it and laughed and was advised to go and ask his father about it.
All being told, Billy’s grandson brought it up with his dad when visiting for Sunday dinner and he says you could have heard a pin drop, with the look on his face being priceless as the question was met with his father’s reply of “I, at’s right enough son, fit yer granda said is true”.
So a few phone calls later it was decided that the time was right to expose the truth and dare to put on paper the “unmentionable” truth.
Billy says it was time the family received the accreditation they should rightfully have.
He claims the upset and torment through the siblings of generations within the family as they knew who they were but were denied their right to their given parentage is very sad and not envisaged in good light, standing or shows any accountability.
“One might question what historical events might have been altered if this relationship had been brought to light back then,” he tells us.
“Of course, that’s something we will never know.”
Billy Rennie was brought up on the family farm at Crimond, and went on to train jumping horses in the US, Canada, Newfoundland, and the UK, himself competing and beating some of the best.
Married to a registered nurse at the age of 20, he drove big equipment on the pipeline and then became a surveyor and assessor in Scotland prior to retiring due to ill health.
His outside interests included producing Scottish culture music on local radio and involvement in a BBC series called Scotland’s Greatest Mysteries.
Widely regarded as a local historian in the North-east, Billy says he is a proud and distinguished Scotsman.
The “Hidden Prince” is available initially via