Gina Clifford-Holmes, Ageless Grace Educator and Trainer

Do you have a life-long dream unfulfilled and think you’ve left it too late…maybe not!
It really is never too late to make a fresh start – or as Denise would say “It’s never too late to
begin – it’s never too early to start.”

I started 43 years ago, with a goal/dream/wish to write the biography of my great
grandmother: Rosie Boote, a Gaiety Theatre actress in London in the 1890s, whose marriage
to my great-grandfather, Geoffrey, 4th Marquis of Headfort (an Irish title, below a Duke and
above an Earl) caused a huge scandal in its day.

Geoffrey was an Army officer in the First Life Guards and incurred the ire of the King, his
Commander-in-Chief and his mother, who all forbade him to marry. Many efforts were made
to prevent them, but true love prevailed, they eloped and were married in 1901. It was as
much of a scandal that she was Roman Catholic as well as a poor actress, marrying a
prominent Protestant titled officer, to become Rose, 4th Marchioness of Headfort. The trials
and tribulations of the romance, caught the imagination and interest of the country and made
every paper, in England as well as America. They settled at the family estate in Ireland, had
3 children, and Rosie’s charm and charisma won her respect and earned her a place in both
Irish and English society. These were the romantic stories of my youth, and I always wanted
to know more.

At the time I completed my history degree in 1981, my uncle Michael, the 6th Marquis, was
selling the ancestral home in Ireland. The contents of the Records Room were going to the
National Library in Ireland. He knew I wanted to research Rosie’s life and gave me
permission to take whatever papers interested me. I had 5 fascinating days going through
material from the 1650s, when the family arrived in Ireland, up to 1958 when Rosie died. I left
with 10 boxes of historical source material.

For three years, part-time, I researched her life, interviewed friends and family, and uncovered
three pieces of ‘scandalous’ information that I shared with Rosie’s only surviving son, my
great-uncle Billy. His reaction of “Oh no! You can’t tell people that,” put a damper on my
youthful enthusiasm, then marriage, children and work pushed the project to the back burner –
where it stayed for 42 years.

Part of my reticence about resuming the research, was both doubt that I was up to the task,
and uncertainty that others would be interested in their story. The Universe thought
differently. A few years ago, an English composer, Chris Broom, wrote and asked, as I was a
descendant of Rosie’s, if I knew anything about her since he was writing Rosie – the Musical,
which would be loosely based on her life. He had found an amazing young British singer, Lucy
Thomas, and had written and recorded some songs, but then came Covid and the composer put
the project aside as well.

We reconnected in January last year, when Chris told me that his soundtrack was now
progressing well, Lucy Thomas had recorded many of the songs and, in the meantime, grown
a following of 897,000 on YouTube. Her voice is phenomenal; her version of ‘Hallelujah’
recorded at age 17, has had 46 million views! The soundtrack of Rosie – the Musical was
released 1st March 2024, and is available on CD and ALL musical platforms. I include the link
to one of my favourite songs ‘Hold On’ –

The songs are perfect ballads and work brilliantly for an Ageless Grace class, particularly for the
slower Tools like Saving Face, Try Chi, Yo Baby! and Balancing Act. My students LOVE the songs
and ask for them weekly. The songs are also ideal for doing your 10 minutes a day at home.

The composer, who is also Lucy’s music publisher, plans to have opening concerts in London’s
West End later this year. His plan is that the musical will be complete and to go to the stage
by June 2025.

Chris’ update flicked a switch. I had one of those life-changing ‘Aha’ moments, when I
realized that if I didn’t write the book now, when was I going to do it, and what better time than
having it ready for when the musical went to the London stage. There was a domino effect
when I made the decision. Everything fell into place in a way that convinced me I was
meant to do this NOW. I wrote one email to a publisher who specializes in Irish, historical
biographies – my book covers all three – and he knew who Rosie was, and is very interested and
wants my manuscript by end September. I told him that I had never written a book before. I must
have written one heck of a covering letter and synopsis as he said: “You are equipped – we will
help you every step of the way.”

Out came my 10 boxes, opened, sorted and I am now 58,000 words in, with over 60
illustrations up to 1908, and making steady progress. It’s amazing when you make a decision
and stick with it – what you can achieve! How do you write a book? I started with the goal of
350 words a day. On a good day, like yesterday, I wrote 1600 words. How do you eat an
elephant…one bite at a time!

I have recently been sent the script for the musical, which has motivated me even more to
complete my manuscript. Please find me on social media and check up on how I am
progressing. There is nothing like a public declaration to keep you focused. Your “likes” and
support for Rosie – the Musical would also be appreciated. You can listen to the music free
on YouTube, where you will also find my channel. I hope that you enjoy it too.
Now…back to the story….

Gina Clifford-Holmes, Ageless Grace Educator and Trainer