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The Mayflower and the Thistle

Rosaleen Moorhead-Murphy

Born in 1878, May Goelet was the richest heiress of her day and a member of the old New York society. When she came of age, she was said to be worth over twenty million, making her the target of many would-be suitors. May's mother, an ambitious woman, saw all the 16 prospective noblemen as potential husbands for her daughter, as she desperately wanted May to marry a man of high standing. Mrs Goelet may even have favoured Count Boris, who was then heir to the Russian throne. Much to her mother’s chagrin, May turned them all down because she didn't love them, apart from one gentleman, Kelso, who loved May but decided to keep his distance until he was sure May would accept his hand.


Henry John Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe was the holder of the premier Scottish dukedom and a first cousin of Winston Churchill.


Following the meeting of May and the Duke of Roxburghe, The Mayflower and the Thistle follows their story.

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Rosaleen Moorhead-Murphy was born in Liverpool where she trained as a teacher. Writing and illustration have always been her main focus.

After their marriage, she and her husband, Pat, moved to Suffolk where their four children were born. Her first book, The Mystery, was published then and was an update of the medieval miracle plays where each scene could be prepared independently and presented as part of a whole.

The family then moved to the Scottish Borders, where they had a painting studio and gallery, and it was there that she first visited Floors Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Roxburghe, and heard the story of the 8th duke and his feisty, millionaire bride, May Goelet. Further research resulted in The Mayflower and the Thistle.