ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martin Thomas was born in Acton, Wrexham and educated first at Acton School, within a stone’s throw of Acton Hall, the home in the late eighteenth century of Sir Foster Cunliffe and his family, Anne Hayman’s closest friends in the locality. From Grove Park Grammar School in Wrexham, Martin gained entrance into Peterhouse, Cambridge’s oldest college, where he read classics and law. He is now an honorary Fellow of the College.
After a stint as a solicitor, Martin read for the Bar and practised initially in Chester and North Wales. He took silk as a Queen’s Counsel in 1979 and worked mainly in London and the Far East, specialising in criminal advocacy. For a number of years, he sat part time as a Deputy High Court Judge. In his twenties, he took an interest in Liberal politics and fought a number of General Election campaigns in Flintshire and in Wrexham, serving first as Chairman and later President of the Welsh Liberals and Liberal Democrats.
Paddy Ashdown recommended his appointment as a working peer to the House of Lords in 1996, since which time, he has been the Liberal Democrat spokesman on Welsh Affairs and on Justice, and has shadowed the roles of the Lord Chancellor and currently, of the Attorney General.
One evening in 1997, Martin picked up Rose Weigall’s Brief Memoir of the Princess Charlotte of Wales (1874) in the library of the Reform Club where he was staying in London. He was surprised to find in the text a number of letters from ‘A Hayman’ with the address of Gresford. He recognised the name from the deeds of his own home of Glasfryn in Gresford where he has lived since 1972. The trail was pursued over many years before all the wealth of Anne’s correspondence was uncovered. Some of the most revealing insights were discovered in a file he found in the National Library of Scotland, marked “Secret, Princess of Wales”.
Martin’s experience as a lawyer and as a politician has been put to use in the analysis of this history, particularly his consideration of the Delicate Investigation into Caroline’s indiscretions in 1805 and of her effective trial in 1820 in the House of Lords for alleged adultery. He has come to some new and interesting conclusions.
When not engaged in his professional duties, Martin is a keen follower of rugby football, rows in an eight, and fishes on the Scottish Dee. Being Welsh himself, he also relaxes by playing the harp and singing in the Parliament choir. Hopefully the musical Miss Hayman would have approved.