Andrew Roberts, a formidable historian, is the author of “A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900”.   The Spectator (3/5) recently published the following extract from his diary:   "To Les Invalides in Paris for a two-hour high Mass to commemorate the Emperor Napoleon (I’m writing his biography)."

" Despite being a republic, the French really know how to lay on splendour in their public spectacles. Epaulettes, swords, standards with gold eagles, 10-inch candles, incense, cardinals, breastplates, medals, sashes and decorations: the lot. There was even one chap wearing a bicorn hat like Napoleon’s. The vast church was packed to capacity, with standing room only at the sides and back.”

”The Bonaparte and Walewska families were present en masse — the original Count Walewska was Napoleon’s illegitimate son — to listen to a sermon in which their ancestor was repeatedly likened to Jesus Christ. By the end I wondered whether 188 years after his death (i.e. in 2153) we Britons will be commemorating the life and achievements of Sir Winston Churchill in such a grandiloquent manner. I rather fear not.”