What Is In This Small Old Book of Lost Royal Secrets?

I found this old limited edition small book of lost Royal secrets in my local country library.

I couldn’t believe my luck.

There it was in front of me among all the other quite ordinary library books.

But it was smaller that the rest.

This old book must have been sitting there for 40 years.

Unloved and unwanted.

The title seemed uninviting.

Who would ever have even picked it up, I thought.

‘The Chaplain: Being Some Further Account of the Days of Bobby Knopwood.’

Who was Bobby Knopwood?

I knew.

But who else would know?

Would you?

Probably not.

He was the Reverend Robert Knopwood, the first chaplain of Tasmania.

I knew from the research I’d been doing for my book and so, for me, it was a rare find.

And that’s how it turned out to be.

Here was the perfect story to introduce my historical romantic paranormal true mystery I had started.

What a find.

I’ll use an extract for my Introduction, I thought.

It’ll set the scene for the bigger picture I had to tell.

Just what I’d been looking for.

Now my book is done and you can buy it here.

In just a few paragraphs the author, Mabel Hookey, related her story of a local Doctor and his wife who were sent from England to the antipodes, Van Diemens Land (Tasmania), on condition that they never returned to England and they never divulged their secret that kept them from returning.

They were believed to receive a mysterious secret regular pension provided they stayed in the new homeland in the early days of the new penal colony.


There were rumours that he was physician to the King and she was Lady in Waiting to the Queen.

What was their secret?

Nobody ever knew.

Even the author didn’t know.

I know.

The little limited edition book has since disappeared from the library, from the shelves, the catalogue, every record.

Read my book and learn their secret here.


PS. Visit my book gallery here.

I know Dr Desailly’s Royal secret

Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) 1855

“At Rokeby, where the road branches off from Skillion Hill, through Glebe Farm on its way to Cambridge,” wrote Mabel Hookey in a small limited edition book published over 40 years ago, “there is an old cottage, once the home of Dr and Mrs Desailly. It was built in 1826, by William Hance and was one of the early landmarks of the locality.

“There was a certain cachet about the Desaillys, and a hint of strangeness as of exotic birds blown from their course by adverse winds. It was whispered that Dr Desailly’s English practice had been at the court of George IV, and that his beautiful wife had been a Lady in Waiting to Queen Caroline.

“What were they doing in this antipodean outpost?

“They held no official position, nor were they of the free settlers who were beginning to trickle into the colony. They did not swell the ranks of those unfortunates [convicts] who had left their country for their country’s good, nor were they political exiles.

“A vessel under special charter brought them to Van Diemen’s Land [Tasmania], and they always had plenty of money, derived from a mysterious pension, paid regularly and with great secrecy.

“Uneventful years went by. The doctor settled into his practice at Clarence Plains at Kangaroo Point.

“More years passed, but the secret that barred the Desailly’s return to England was as closely kept as ever.

“Apparently the young people had no inkling of what it was. Their descendants knew nothing of it. No doubt the district gossiped but, there was so little to go [on] that conjecture was baffled.

“Could it possibly have had anything to do with the divorce proceedings between George IV and Queen Caroline? This supposition was as good as another.

“In 1861 Mrs Desailly died, aged 77, and was buried in Rokeby churchyard.

“The Doctor’s last years were passed at Bellerive in the two-gabled house next to the old church.

“I have talked with elderly people,” wrote Hookey, “who could remember the frail old man in his hooded carriage, drawn by a black, white-faced horse, driven by his coachman, Paddy Swan.

“His secret died with him . . .”

Or so it was thought – until now.

I couldn’t believe my luck.

Right there in my small local country library I found a numbered limited edition copy – number 365 of only 750 copies printed – of a book published in 1970 (originally published in 1943) titled ‘The Chaplain: Being Some Further Account of the Days of Bobby Knopwood’.

The Reverend Robert Knopwood was the first chaplain of Tasmania. As it happens he plays a significant role in my story later in the book.

Quite unexpectedly Mabel Hookey provided me with the perfect opening to my story, setting the scene for the mystery that had unfolded for me before leaving Australia for the New York under my own strange circumstances.

Curiously, when I went back to borrow the book again to check on the material I am quoting here I discovered to my surprise that it was no longer in the library catalogue or on the shelves, having sat there for possibly the last forty years. A search on Amazon shows the book as “out of print”.

Then when I wrote to the publisher in Tasmania requesting permission to quote from the book I received no reply. It was as if the book had never existed.

Never mind, because I know Dr Desailly’s Royal secret.

To read more go to my website HERE.

For amazing reviews of the book CLICK HERE

To order direct from the publisher with a 10% discount CLICK HERE.

Best wishes.


Reference: ‘The Chaplain: Being Some Further Account of the Days of Bobby Knopwood’ by Mabel Hookey, Fuller’s Bookshop, Tasmania, 1970.

Illustration: The site of Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) 1855