from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook
Jonathan Christopher Cavaliere, Jr., is an American-born Paradisian businessman, politician, media producer, and entertainer.
He is the central or a pivotal character in several interrelated story arcs devised by author Jonnie Comet. In the Two Paradises fantasy/fiction realm, he is the father of the Cavaliere siblings of Camelot estate.
History of the character
In the Wilshire Tales (story dates 1973-1979), Cavaliere is a high-school student in Connecticut, USA, and member of the rock-and-roll quartet The Strawberries. During the timeline of the Tobasco Beach and Surf Haven story arcs (story dates 1975-1980), he and his band relocate to eastern Florida, begin recording and touring, and invest in several business ventures, till Cavaliere is forced to relocate out of the United States.
In the Sea Room story arcs (story dates 1981-1987) he accompanies his cousin Paul Cavaliere to The British Paradise Islands and begins to invest on preserving and conservatively developing this overlooked British territory.
In the Two Paradises domains (story dates 1994-2004), he is featured as father to several major characters and, titled as first Lord Paradise, an appointed leader of territorial politics as a ranking member of the House of Peers.
- Full name: Jonathan Christopher Cavaliere, Jr.
- Nicknames: ‘Jonny’ (only Jeninne Christopher and his wife call him this)
- Formally addressed as: The Honourable Sir Jonathan Cavaliere, Lord Paradise
- Birthdate: 24 Nov 1956 (Sagittarius)
- Birthplace: New Rochelle, New York, USA.
- Parents: J Christopher Cavaliere and Ellen B (nee Bailey) Cavaliere
- Nationality: naturalised British subject, naturalised Paradisian resident and belonger
- Residence: Treasurers' Cay, adjacent to and administered by Somerset Township, Eden I.
- Height: 175 cm [5 ft 9 in]
- Weight: 69 kg [152 lbs] (1995)
- Figure: slender, slight, unobtrusively muscular
- Hair: light brown, blonde, moderately wavy
- Eyes: grey-blue
- Complexion: medium; well-tanned
- Ethnic background: English, German, Italian
- Religion: Anglican
- Occupation: musician, performer, businessman, speaker, producer and promoter, politician
- School: Wilshire High School, Wilshire, Connecticut, USA; graduation 1975
- Sports: competitive swimming, aerobatic flying, surfing, fencing
Story arcs: All related to Two Paradises realm
Cavaliere was born in New Rochelle, New York, in 1956. His father, a decorated bomber and fighter pilot with the USAAF 8th Air Force in England during the 1939-1945 War, had become very popular amongst East Anglia society, his flying exploits featured in several newspaper stories. At the amused prodding of several English friends, he changed his name from John to Jonathan, having previously enlisted and been known as ‘J Christopher Cavaliere’. Thus when his first child was born, he was already legally known as Jonathan and his son was named Jonathan, Jr. In the novel It’s Only Love, the son comments that ‘I am first to be born with his name’. The elder Cavaliere returned to New York after the War, settling later in Connecticut with his wife, with whom he started an architectural-design and construction business.
Cavaliere’s mother, Ellen Jane Bailey, was born into a comfortable middle-class family in Wyneewood, Pennsylvania, and became a schoolteacher before marrying Cavaliere in 1954. They had met sharing a common love of jazz music in New York and following their first son's birth settled in Wilshire, Connecticut, about 30 miles south of Hartford, on the Essex River, and raised four children there. She resumed teaching, for the fourth grade at the neighbourhood elementary school, once her youngest, Eve, had begun kindergarten.
Cavaliere’s father was originally Roman Catholic but lapsed into nonparticipation following his Army service. Cavaliere and his siblings were baptised Roman Catholic but in the 1960s were de facto received into the Episcopal Church of America, his mother’s native church. Cavaliere and his family became accepted communicants of the Church of England as a consequence of moving to The Bahamas in 1986.
Cavaliere, Sr., was received into the Church of England in the 1990s.
Both his parents being intelligent and artistic by nature, the younger Cavaliere was raised in literacy, ethics, and fine and performing arts, learning, through formal lessons, being taught by family members, or on his own, dance, drawing, music,architecture, writing and acting. By the time he started at secondary school he was both an accomplished pianist and a promising engineer. Throughout his upper-secondary years at Wilshire High School (WHS), he was known as a brilliant debater, a formidable writer of prose and poetry, and a genius-level student, artist, musician and performer.
As a teenager Cavaliere was also gifted in sports, having competed on the high-school swim team. He was also proficient in gymnastics, fencing, shooting, flying, sailing, and surfing, all of which, with swimming, he continues to pursue throughout his adult life.
According to counsellors at Wilshire High School, Cavaliere is offered full or partial scholarships for both Julliard, for music, and Yale, for political science and/or pre-law, but declines to accept either, preferring to pursue rock music as a career, a decision which proves extraordinarily lucrative.
At Camelot, Cavaliere keeps an Arabian called Sterling, which he rides regularly about the estate and abroad in Eden Island.
Shortly after moving into the castle at Camelot, he begins building an HO-gauge model railway, based on the Hudson River Line, in a suite of interconnected rooms of the lower level of the west wing, mostly by himself, for relaxation. Though several of the domestic staff admit interest in the project, and offer to assist in its construction, it remains unfinished and mostly not working through 1995.
Cavaliere is a great fan of British automobiles and keeps garages at both Camelot and Stonesea in which are kept Jaguars, Bentleys and Triumphs. He purchases a silver 1974 V12 E-Type during his first extended stay in London which finishes up in the collection at Stonesea, his home in England. Most of the cars available for guests to Camelot are 3.8-litre Jaguars, both XJ6s and Mk2s.
Also at Stonesea is his first personal car, a platinum-silver 1968 Chevrolet Caprice 4-door pillarless saloon, which he and Holloway rebuilt in 1973, including adding a 4-speed manual gearbox and supercharger, and which served Cavaliere as daily transportation throughout high school and in settling bets on and off the drag strips. The car, known to Jeanne and Jonathan as 'the silver chariot', figures prominently in Love Me Do and the rest of the Wilshire Tales series.
In late 1975 he presents Jeanne, then his girlfriend, with a pale-yellow 1967 Chevrolet Malibu convertible, which is also shipped to Stonesea and preserved in operable condition in the collection.
His favourite subjects are English, history, physical science, and philosophy, all of which he studies independently throughout his life; though tentatively accepted at both Yale (for pre-law) and Julliard (for piano), he never pursues formal education after high-school graduation.
Mainly through independent study and from interaction with older generations of his family, Cavaliere develops an adequate literacy in Italian. He also becomes passably fluent in German, French, Spanish and Japanese (coincidentally, these five being the languages most often offered at BPI comprehensive secondary schools).
Cavaliere has enjoyed sailing all his life, having sailed his family's yawl La Cacciatrice ['the Huntress'], the prototype of the Cavaliere 42 designed by his uncle Rick, and acquiring several yachts of his own, including a Cavaliere 48 ketch which he calls Indigo, since 1975.
Adolescence and early adulthood
In his eigth year at Wilshire Junior High School South, he met and fell in love with Jeanne Banfield, a seventh-year student in his physical-science class. In October 1970, on a day the regular teacher was absent, he and his blood-brother best friend, Bob Prescott, arranged to serenade Jeanne and the class, notably playing the Paul Williams song ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ on two guitars with two voices. The romance between Jonathan and Jeanne can be considered substantive from this date, though they did no active dating till considerably later.
Cavaliere is naturally lefthanded. He has received unfair criticism for playing a lefthanded Hofner-made violin-body bass guitar, as his musical idol Paul McCartney has done, sparking accusations, especially in light of The Strawberries’ early repertoire, of deliberately copying or mimicking The Beatles. The guitar had been a gift from his uncle Charles, a musical-instrument technician, in 1972. Cavaliere converted the righthanded instrument for lefthanded playing, including refinishing the body in ebony stain to hide the patched instrument holes, himself.
The 1966 Hofner is Cavaliere’s only bass guitar until 1975 when he obtains a custom cranberry-red (no sunburst pattern) Rickenbacker 4001. Of his collection, these two bass guitars, plus some backups used for touring, are most often used. Cavaliere also plays ukulele, mandolin, and six-and-twelve-string acoustic and electric guitars, cello, violin and viola (all lefthanded), double bass (strung either way), trumpet, coronet, drums and percussion, piano, organ and electronic keyboards. His singing voice is in the upper-baritone or lower-tenor range; he is noted for singing high harmonies with well-controlled falsetto if not without falsetto entirely.
He attends a birthday party for Chris Santana, a mutual friend, on New Year’s Eve, 1971, where he and Bob Prescott met David Holloway and Ricky Denning. The four began a jam session that lasted well into the wee hours, during which they serenaded Santana for his birthday (1 January) by playing The Beatles’ ‘Birthday’. From this date this foursome, later known as The Strawberries, considered themselves a band.
By the date of the If You Only Knew LP in 1988, he has composed or cowritten nearly 200 songs that have been recorded or performed by The Strawberries or by others.
Cavaliere, his brother and father have long shared a fondness for flying, often going up in sport aircraft with a family friend. Cavaliere begins formal pilot training in 1973, achieving an FAA private pilot’s licence in mid-1974.
Cavaliere will pursue flying-oriented interests for much of his young-adult life, acquiring and qualifying in both a Boeing/Stearman PT17 biplane trainer, in 1975, and a North American P51D Mustang fighter, in 1976, because they were his father’s favourite aeroplanes whilst training in the 1939-1945 War.
He is later certified by the FAA in various single- and twin-engined propeller-driven aeroplanes, including medium commercial airliners. After 1988 he becomes certified to fly his personal Dassault Falcon 20 and, after 1993, his Dassault Falcon 50.
Marriage and children
Cavaliere and Jeanne Banfield marry in June 1977 and have four children, Caroline Anne Marie ‘Sissy’ Cavaliere (b. 1979), Jonathan Christopher Cavaliere, III (b. 1980), George Andrew Jacob Cavaliere (b. 1981), and Kimberley Jeanne Elisabeth Cavaliere (b. 1984). In 1982 they adopt Susan Marie Meriwether ‘Susie’ Cavaliere (b. 1979) from an orphanage in central Florida. The couple first settle in a beach house at Tobasco Beach, Florida, later moving to a larger house in Tobasco Township, Florida, and taking other residences in Connecticut, in The Bahamas, and in England before relocating to the British Paradise Islands in 1990.
Music work with The Strawberries
Originally a pianist, Cavaliere had taken up guitar at the prodding of his friend Bob Prescott. Becoming ensconced as the bass guitarist for The Strawberries, he often exchanges the role with Holloway so that either of them may play piano on stage. He and Holloway are known as the band’s primary lead singers and songwriters.
Upon the band’s relocation to Florida, The Strawberries record their first two LPs, End of Nineteenth Street and Hideout, over the summer of 1975 for Tommy Gold’s newly-created Cream Records. Immediately they embark on a comprehensive North American tour, remaining on the road till nearly Christmas and returning to the road after New Years’ till early April. Buoyed by the universal acclaim, both by record sales and in the press, they record Always, their third LP, in June-July 1976, making another tour, this time including the British Isles, western Europe, and Australia, over 1976-1977. A fourth LP is recorded in September 1977 and another tour conducted over that winter.
The band play England in February-March 1978, remaining in London to record the LP Old Stone. Both Holloway and Cavaliere take houses for their families, a move which in 1979 convinces them, and the others of the band, to buy Strawberry House in Sloane Street, a pied-à-terre and office facility that establishes the band's artistic and business presence in England.
With their friends, members of fellow WHS band Tobacco Road, who are doing less well under the same management company, the four Strawberries, with much support from some of Gold’s partners, buy out Cream Records in early 1979, reforming it as Strawberry Records. Prescott and Cavaliere co-produce Tobacco Road’s next LP, All That Glitters, gaining recognition for being as competent as producers as they are as musicians. As individual and collaborative producers, each of The Strawberries brings new acts to the label, including Sceptre, Flame, The T Set, and Randi, Kim, and Donna (‘RKD’), all of whom had been associates of the band in their earlier Florida years. The formation of the new production company is a direct antecedent to Cavaliere and Holloway’s investment in film and television production under the name of White Knight Productions.
Over the 1980s Cavaliere continues to gather artistes, usually adopting an active in-studio producer role, contributing compositions as well as instrumental and vocal work. The Strawberries, having started as boys who all respected and admired each other, suffer no significant internal strife and continue to work together well, performing live and recording their eleventh LP, Basket Case, in 1985.
White Knight Productions begins work in film producing with The Green Room, a modest-budget surfing film featuring exceptionally-talented surfers, windboarders and skateboarders, filmed during 1980 entirely on location at Tobasco Beach Island. This is followed by two light romantic dramas, both produced and cowritten by Cavaliere and filmed in the Tobasco region, Make It Last of 1981 and Where the Girls Are of 1982. Whilst less than award-winning fare, both are innocuous, heartwarming and enjoyable, full of pop music, surfing, speedboats and hot-rod cars, at once paying homage to the 1960s and reestablishing the beach-movie genre for the 1980s.
As witty as he is frugal, producer Cavaliere secures himself some minor on-screen cameo part in each, doing actual surfing in Green Room and serving reliably as stunt driver and musical coordinator on the others, as well as in 1984’s Just A Little Prayer.
Florida business interests
In 1976 Holloway and Cavaliere set up C&H Speed Shop at Tobasco Beach, to specialise in preparing high-performance cars, particularly those of 1960s General Motors products. A dream of both, this has long been considered a kind of professional backup plan. The shop attends to several local luminaries’ vehicles, not only restoring cars and building hot rods but also doing custom coachwork forlimousines and light trucks, even whilst the principals are recording and touring with a successful music act.
The two, with several others, also invest in Cavaliere Yacht and Marine, persuading Cavaliere’s uncles Rick and Frank from New Jersey to establish a second boatbuilding plant in coastal Florida. From March 1979, CY&M produces the Cavaliere 48 ketch, Cavaliere 54 staysail schooner, Cavaliere 42 yawl, and Cavaliere 29 power launch, all designed by Rick Cavaliere, and, later, a smaller range designed by Rick’s son Paul.
Another pet project is the Lavender brothers’ Sunrise Surf Shop at Surf Haven, up the coast from Tobasco Beach. Danny Lavender and his three brothers, maternal cousins of Marjorie Bailey, Cavaliere’s cousin on his mother’s side, host Cavaliere and Prescott when they turn up for a holiday in August 1974. As The Strawberries begin to earn profits, Holloway and Cavaliere stake the Lavenders’ plan to start both a textile plant, to make casual and surfing clothes, and a surfboard-shaping facility to be known as Surf Atlantic. In 1978 Paul and Peter Cavaliere, with their friend Peter Connally, form the first full-time staff at the Surf Atlantic shop, on the beach farther up the island at Sutton Beach.
Cavaliere and his bandmates become investors in the Tobasco regional Starfish minor-league baseball team and also fully sponsor a girls’ 10-12-league softball team, the Seastars, also at Tobasco.
In 1979, having become controlling shareholders in the Penny Lane recording-studio/ resort complex, The Strawberries invest in the purchase and renovation of several modest family-oriented motels from the 1950s throughout the Tobasco Beach Island boroughs.
Cavaliere and Prescott found Strawberry Guitar Works Ltd, a custom luthier, in 1984, at Tobasco.
Interdiction efforts in narcotics trafficking
In the early 1980s Cavaliere and Holloway launch a surreptitious operation, modelled on espionage organisations featured in films and in novels, to interdict the transport of illegal drugs through The Bahamas and southeastern Florida. Enlisting and training a dedicated team, they restore an impressive collection of American WW2 light and heavy bombers which are flown on raids against on known narcotics-processing and transfer sites in the southern Caribbean and in Columbia and Venezuela. They succeed in ending the long-term violent regime of the Fidelas narcotics cartel; but the Reagan administration initiates stronger, though less-wellfocused, DEA enforcement in the area and secretly requests that Holloway and Cavaliere cease their illicit activities.
In early 1986 the DEA, using strong-arm tactics to intimidate Cavaliere, attempt to kidnap his daughter Kimberley from a Boscov’s department store in Tobasco. Though immediately foiled, especially by the efforts of their adopted daughter Susie, Cavaliere and his wife cite this as ‘the last straw’ and, over Easter week 1986, relocate their family, aboard their yacht Excalibur, to St Simon’s Cay. Fittingly, Sandswell, the house they take there, is one seized by Cavaliere and Holloway from the Fidelas cartel.
End of The Strawberries
The Cavalieres’ move to St Simon’s Cay effectively puts an end to The Strawberries as a touring entity. Cavaliere is plagued by investigations into his finances, an inconvenience that the other members are not spared as well, fostering some friction in the long-lasting friendships. In establishing his residence at a semiautonomous territory, and in maintaining the bulk of his holdings away from American banks, he is de facto immune to US investigation, extradition, or prosecution, although in July 1987 a Florida federal court indicts him, in absentia, for failure to report 1986 US income taxes.
As a return to the United States would be imprudent until a more fair-minded political landscape appears, the Cavalieres adjust to life as expatriates at St Simon’s, attending church, educating their children at home with the help of private tutor Amanda Nevins, and administering to what business interests they can from a remote location, including a resort complex, taken from the narcotics cartel, where Holloway and Cavaliere build a first-class recording studio. In becoming high-profile rebels, the Cavalieres’ popularity in both media and business circles skyrockets; unable to attend her WHS reunion in June 1986, Jeanne sends a letter of regret which quickly becomes a sought-after document, mere photocopies of which soon sell for US $200 and more.
Holloway approaches Cavaliere with the idea of a Strawberries tour, not to include any US cities; but the two quickly realise this is not the best idea. Cavaliere hosts his fellow bandmates at Sandswell for his 30th birthday, in November 1986, and they agree the The Strawberries as a group are no longer active.
With Holloway’s encouragement, Cavaliere begins recording on his own at St Simon’s, producing the thoughtful, if musically conservative Exile, released in October 1987. The LP, featuring the other Strawberries, friends from Tobacco Road, and others in guest appearances, is viewed by critics as a logical extension of the Strawberries oeuvre and gains mostly positive reviews. Cavaliere will record another, If You Only Knew, in 1988; but subsequently turns his attention to filmmaking and television producing.
Tobasco and Out Island Airways
Following the end of drug-interdiction operations, Danny Lavender, Holloway and Cavaliere further their interest in vintage aeroplanes with the establishment of Tobasco and Out Island Airways, a deliberately small, regional airline using only classic airliners from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The aeroplanes are all maintained to topnotch standards and crewed with skilful, cheerful personel dressed in crisp white shirts or blouses, khaki trousers or skirts, and navy-blue blazers with turquoise-and-navy neckties or scarves. Having executive offices at St Simon’s Cay, the routes include Miami, Jacksonville, Tobasco, numerous smaller airports of eastern Florida, Turks and Caiços, and all of The Bahamas.
Initially dismissed by the industry and by media as a hobby airline, the venture proves successful in offering as an alternative to modern, impersonal air travel a pleasant, traditional air experience, rare opportunities to fly in historic aeroplanes, and access to destinations normally not served by larger carriers.
Having qualified in the cockpits of most of the regular aeroplanes, Cavaliere is known to take on frequent flying duties himself, his well-known voice over the speakers surprising passengers who marvel at having a famous rock-and-roll star piloting their flight to a holiday destination.
See article on Excalibur
Cavaliere co-designs and commissions a seagoing yacht in the tradition of those of captains of industry at the turn of the last century. For its clipper bow, long bowsprit, raked masts, counter stern, and panelled deckhouses, the stately 54-metre [177 ft] yacht Excalibur, delivered in 1984, becomes a symbol of Cavaliere’s presence as both an artistic aestheticist and a business tycoon. His family make frequently use of the elegant but seakindly yacht in voyaging back and forth between St Simon’s and Paradise.
The Paradise Plan
In mid-1983, Jon and Jeanne Cavaliere sail with Paul Cavaliere and the crew of Starchase to The British Paradise Islands, tour the territory and, with Dave and Lynda Holloway, determine it ripe for overdevelopment by off-island investors. Paul and Jonathan Cavaliere, their wives and the Holloways launch an intensive campaign to establish public preserves, to protect vulnerable coral reefs, and to draft viable restrictions on residential, commercial and industrial development in the territory.
The so-called ‘Paradise Plan’ calls on existing landowners and would-be investors to purchase the development rights to discrete sections of land to be held in perpetuity as preserves accessible to the public. Development is restricted to nominal clearing of some portion, installation of benches or footways, and signage, typically representing the donor's identity and dates of dedication. Relying on the ego of those would like to leave their names on public facilities, hundreds of hectares in Paradise are protected as permanent preserves by 1995. The plan gains much draws much admiration in Britain, models of it being proposed and adopted there as well.
Another key part of the Paradise Plan is the arresting of rampant development and the reclamation of lands already zoned for development but not yet built-upon. Throughout the late 1980s, the Development Codes, a series of stiff restrictions on the building industry, previously lightly-regulated in the territory, curtail irresponsible housing developments throughout Paradise, whose continuation would have proved more a liability, both environmentally and economically, than a benefit to the territory’s larger interests. David Holloway and Paul and Jonathan Cavaliere are promoted with support in both houses of Parliament, as well as amongst the Paradisian government and populace, to be included in the Birthday Honours List of 1989, upon which they are each knighted KCMG by HM Elizabeth II in 1989.
Cavaliere’s acquisition of a tract on mainland Eden Island, for the purposes of connecting his estate’s causeway to Devon Road, permits the partitioning of two-thirds the section to become the Baronet’s Tract, a wide-open public preserve and a premier example of the Paradise Plan. Countering accusations of hypocrisy, Cavaliere is able to pose his own private property as an example, as over 80 percent of Treasurers’ Cay, its adjacent islets, and the mainland tract remains pristine, essentially-untouched tropical rainforest.
In 1985 Cavaliere and two others, using a TOIA Grumman Goose amphibian, make the first small-craft flight nonstop from the North American mainland to the British Paradise Islands, a distance of 2500 nautical miles, for which they carry some 1125 extra litres (247 Imperial gallons) of reserve aviation petrol. The aeroplane remains in the Paradise Islands, providing a vital transport link between Tahiti, the nearest transoceanic airport, and Paradise until completion of PTOA in 1988. After being placed on display at the PTOA terminal, Goose amphibian is flown back to St Simon’s in 1991.
Having promoted, and funded much of, the construction of the Paradise Trans-Oceanic Airport’s arrival facility, it is dedicated to him in 1991.
Business ventures since 1986
As a consequence of his exile from the US, Cavaliere both intensifies and diversifies his business portfolio, becoming invested in hospitality, transportation, production and construction.
Land-saving development projects
In the late 1980s, Cavaliere and Holloway devise a concept for pensioner housing based on mediaeval castle architecture, which Cavaliere has studied from boyhood. A three- or four-level castlelike structure, predominantly of heavy masonry, comprises a ring wall containing compact apartments, all giving onto an airy central courtyard containing a pool, fountains and gardens. Garages on the lowest level are effectively recessed into the ground, reducing the profile of the structure as viewed from without. The result is a secure, comfortable, and efficient housing complex, accommodating upwards of 300 or 400 residents, that is aesthetically romantic as well as both economically sensible and environmentally responsible. Some dozen of these complexes, in suburban, rural and urban areas, are built by Cavaliere Construction Group, the business founded by his father, in both the US and the UK.
The ‘castle concept’ was also applied to the Grand Beach Engineering facility in central Florida, a research-and-development business cosponsored by Cavaliere, Holloway, Holloway’s father, Jack, and half a dozen others. A large, one-level office and laboratory block was designed to sprawl over a former brownfield, utilising moving sidewalks and robotic trolleys for the delivery of records and supplies, with shipping-receiving doors and warehouses confined to the northwestern end, least vulnerable to uncomfortable weather. Several pleasant courtyards, open to the sky, were a part of the design. The entire complex, made of prefabricated and poured-in-place concrete, was roofed-over with earth and planted in a rolling lawn which formed the main grounds of an attractive first-glass golf course, known as Grand Beach Country Club, punctuated only by a few masonry towers, typically amidst trees, which provide entrances to the office block below. Thus two separate enterprises, either of which would require an expensive piece of real estate, use the same section of land. Cavaliere’s unique concept is reused by Cavaliere Construction Group, and others, in several locations in the US and in Canada.
Cavaliere also devotes great interest and effort to the problems of purely-urban development, buying numerous neglected properties in US and UK cities and revamping them into fiscally- and environmentally-responsible office blocks and residential apartments. Typically these include some retail space on lower floors and often provide direct access to mass transportation, such as an underground stop or bus depot, and are noteworthy for a pleasant, if traditional, architectural aesthetic.
As another byproduct of his narcotics-interdiction past, Cavaliere retains many of his former accomplices as aboveboard employes of White Knight Security, an elite team for the discreet defence of business, political, sports and entertainment figures. With a mission statement of 'Whatever you want is to do', the company is known to take on six- and seven-figure assignments anywhere in the world, with the stipulation that clients are engaged in no illicit business. Often those they assist and defend are themselves persecuted, vulnerable 'good guys' in need of temporary security whilst some well-meaning project is under way. With over 300 in staff, able to conduct operations anywhere in the world, White Knight Security becomes known for the highest level of discretion, competence and success.
Design and construction of Camelot estate
In 1985, having moved to acquire the small island across Pirates’ Bay known as Treasurers’ Cay, Cavaliere begins drawing architectural plans for a large personal mansion meant to evoke the gaudy English Baroque style as in Blenheim Palace, including homage to Teutonic Baroque as in Neuschwanstein. The main house is constructed between 1988 and 1991, mainly of poured-in-place concrete, heavily-reinforced with steel rod (and impact-resistant metal mesh, which will stop most hand-launched projectiles and inhibits radio and infrared surveillance), stands over 23 metres tall to its highest tower and spans over 200 metres in width. Family legend holds that the castle and its outbuildings hide hundreds of secret passages and compartments; Cavaliere himself is believed to the only person who knows of all the castle and estate’s secrets, information he appears unwilling to ever divulge.
The estate, accessible via a causeway with drawbridge or by a secret underground tram, quickly becomes known as one of the most exotic and palatial private homes in the world, including two small villages and the mostly-intact remnant of an early-19th-C fort, a broad, calm lagoon with exclusive surfing break, a narrow-gauge railway, a cable car, a navigable canal system, a gymnasium, several swimming pools, a roadway network for small-scale motorcars, three additional islets containing guest accommodation, rope swings, water slides, saunas and spas, making the whole estate rather more like a private tropical theme park than a formal baronial manor.
Relocation to The British Paradise Islands, and titles
The Cavalieres shift their primary residence from St Simon’s Cay to Suffolk, England, in 1988, and thence to Paradise in late January 1990, with all five children enrolling in Paradise comprehensive schools by that September. The main house is declared complete in mid-1991, with attention turning to the development of outlying structures, the adjacent islets, and local business interests. Cavaliere’s being awarded the territorial baronetcy of Eden Island is popularly believed to be in quid pro quo for a commitment to base business in the territory and to pay (some) income taxes to the United Kingdom rather than in the United States or in The Bahamas, an income-tax haven; though many of the territorial Peers and others ascribe this to Cavaliere’s exemplary efforts in promoting responsible land use and in discouraging foreign investors from purchasing speculation property in the territory, two pet
Cavaliere subsequently sponsors a bill in the Paradisian House of Peers promoting a reduction in territorial personal-income taxes, a measure that remains unresolved in 1996.
The Cavalieres are asked to host at Camelot a dinner during the formal visit by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1992, during which they are created first Lord Paradise and Lady Paradise.
Business in Paradise
In the Paradise Islands, Cavaliere invests in several all-new ventures, such as a horse-racing track, named Kimberley Downs after his youngest child, the Somerset Music Academy, and others. With Holloway and others he cofounds the British Paradise Islands Olympic Committee, promoting a first Olympic presence for the territory, to begin with the XXVII Games at Sydney in 2000.
He and many of his WHS and Tobasco Beach associates sponsor a presence for both Cavaliere Yacht and Marine, a yacht-voyagers’ outfitting and refitting service centre at Cook Landing, Eden Island, run by his cousin Paul, and two territorial branches of the Surf Atlantic surfboard-and-surfwear business originally started by the Lavender brothers.
Cavaliere also maintains a presence in the territory as a record and film producer, in operating three separate recording studios (not including the one in his own house) as well as a complete sound stage for film and television work, located outside Hastings, Hope Island. Several cinemas, amphitheatres, and exhibition halls benefit from his largesse as well.
After 1992, Cavaliere is principal shareholder in the Knight’s Head Inn, a country fine-dining restaurant in Upper Somerset, Eden Island, BPI. He also founds and supports the Somerset Casino Arcade in Lower Somerset and numerous small holdings throughout the Paradise Islands.
By the mid-1980s Cavaliere and Holloway, neither of whom has any formal education in business or in finance, are confirmed to be the wealthiest and to have the most diversified financial portfolio amongst their WHS schoolmates, fellow Strawberries and recording-artiste associates. Their success is due to commonsense caution, characteristic of both men, combined with an almost-boyish enthusiasm to adopt, nurture and further new and undeveloped causes.
Cavaliere is widely admired for his innate ability to promote without stooping to mere salesmanship, relying on facts and ethics rather than politically-minded and vacuous promises. He conveys an open, honest sincerity and vitality that tend to inspire and entertain audiences and to persuade potential players to take up the mission. Once having gained allies, he will not back away soon, but typically remains a hands-on colleague, providing direction, direct labour and general mentorship to all staff. He is generally praised for an uncommon ability to see the difference between the ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ views of a given project, becoming neither bogged-down in details nor losing sight of the bigger picture. A benefit is that, from doormen, office assistants and wait staff to executive officers, political leaders and shareholders, he is universally admired and respected for having genuine respect and admiration for those who do the real work; and indeed few of his ventures ever fail to bring in at least what budgets require.
Cavaliere is known as a staunch Conservative, being a believer in the influence of the monarchy, the preservation of open and private lands, the primacy of the traditional Christian Church as a social, spiritual and historical institution, the vitality of a strong military, the independence of Church-sponsored schools, retention of and support of dependent territories abroad, and the support of the less-able, the less-privileged, and those victimised by discrimination through accommodating legislation and other benefits. He supports regulated foxhunting, unlimited sportfishing in deep waters, and unfettered development of responsible business ventures within Britain, its possessions abroad, and the Commonwealth.
Cavaliere does not support most American liberal economic, social and political platforms, which has accounted for much contention amongst his vast audience; whilst most fans claim to revere him as a musician, performer and content creator they often disagree with his moral choices and political preferences.
Numerous Christian groups around the world have voiced support for Cavaliere’s music, movies and other projects, often only on the merit of the projects’ being produced by him.
Concerns about security
Following his legal and financial problems in the United States, Cavaliere begins keeping a private security staff, ostensibly attached to White Knight Security, for the protection of himself and especially for his family. None of his children, nor his wife, go abroad from the Paradise Islands without being accompanied and/or closely monitored by armed escorts. Cavaliere hand-picks most of the agents, most often from the ranks of retired or recently-discharged British military or Secret Service. Staff are expected to maintain a visible but unobtrusive presence, typically attired in pale-grey business suits, white shirts, black neckties, to appear as liveried aides or chauffeurs, but with dark sunglasses and out-of-sight shoulder holsters. Procedures for assuring that security attendants are armed upon arrival in foreign airports remain a secret.
In 1983 Cavaliere acquires a Dassault Falcon 20 executive jet, taking on a staff of four pilots, ordinarily two based in England and two in the United States, three of whom are former Royal Air Force. When he adds a (three-engine) Falcon 50 jet in 1990, all four pilots, plus two additional pilots, are certified in both jets. He establishes, but does not always follow, the practice of flying separately from his children (and sometimes even from his wife) lest one of the flights lead to catastrophe. Having been certified also, Cavaliere often takes left-seat shifts of his own jets on his own flights.
As his children mature, further staff are needed to see to their needs as well. By 1996, he and David Holloway, sharing many of the same security agents, keep their properties at London, at St Simon's Cay, and at their two private homes in the Paradise Islands at least nominally staffed, to facilitate unscheduled visits by themselves and by family members.
Personal real estate
Cavaliere and his wife Jeanne keep several homes in various locations around the world, which, in addition to the band-owned Strawberry House, include:
- West Bluff, condominium, 1976; Upper Thurbury Township, Connecticut, USA; 1976-1979.
- Rockingwater, stately Palladian-revival mansion house, 1921, abandoned 1967; rebuilt 1977-1979; Green Township, Connecticut, USA; 1977- .
- Sandswell, mansion house in Neoclassical style, 1964, burned 1982; rebuilt 1982-1986; St Simon’s Cay, The Bahamas; 1982 - .
- Stonesea, country house dating to 14th C., burned and rebuilt in 1640s, remodelled 1810s; south of Southwold, Suffolk, UK, 1987- .
- Doveshingle, country house in English style, 1948, remodelled 1980s; north of Whangarei, NZ; 1990-.
Personality attributes, as evident in the stories
As Sir Jonathan Cavaliere, baronet, and later as first Lord Paradise, he is well-respected for his unfailing responsibility to the islands’ welfare. Some critics have mocked his singleminded attention to a remote island community of less than 45,000 people, as though he means to make himself a pocket monarch over a little country. Paradisians know differently, all of whom benefit from his unselfish generosity, and consider his titular accolades to be appropriate and ceremonial, tokens of their esteem but in no way commensurate with what he truly does for the territory. In public he is greeted as ‘Lord Paradise’, with deferential nods, bows, and curtseys, and-- though preferring to be called ‘Sir Jonathan’-- he always returns the respect with cheerful gratitude, appealing smiles and warm wishes. Most tourists, especially women, yearn for some glimpse of their beloved ‘Jon Cavaliere’ during visits tot he islands, however little he ventures into tourist areas during high season. He is considered a role model for other investors in the territory and his presence there does attract Western tourists eager to catch a glimpse of him scooting about Paradisian roads in one of his many Jaguars.
In closer company, especially in business and in politics, Cavaliere is noted for a serious, thoughtful and optimistic lookout. He listens well to those more experienced and encourages those less so to grow and gain from interaction with him and with others. He is said to be a born teacher who takes the time to understand others’ needs, to provide them with the assets and assistance they need, and to congratulate them on their successes. Most who have worked with him credit his encouragement as a key element to their own accomplishments, typically saying they could not have succeeded without him.
Cavaliere employees the same sort of nurture-and-encouragement tactics as a parent. In most of the stories he seems almost laissez-faire, listening to his children’s entreaties or stories of their exploits without judging them for them. He dispenses gentle, commonsense advice, typically relying on the child he has raised and knows well to solve the matter himself, or herself, on his or her own terms. He implores them each to in turn rely on their own native morality and common sense, frequently saying ‘I trust you’ like a parting benediction.
In turn his children endeavour to never disappoint him, each taking on extraordinarily mature and complex responsibilities both at his bidding and in order to impress and please him. Over the course of the Two Paradises series, Lord Jonathan comes to work in his father’s office, as a kind of professional deputy to his father’s job as member of the House of Peers, clearly to be prepared for an more adult role upon his completion at university. For year a following Lord Jonathan’s departure for Cambridge, Lord George comes into the same capacity.
Whilst clearly affectionate and gentle towards all his children, the girls seem to benefit more from his sympathy than from his challenges. Lady Caroline, soft and sensitive at heart, must steel herself to ask for permission to attend art school at Paris. Aware she may be disappointing him both in not staying in the islands for some sort of political or social role and in pursuing an artistic field that will probably never earn her much money, she delays asking almost till the very last minute, only to realise that her parents have long suspected her intentions and are forthcoming in their permission, support and encouragement. Lady Susie provides him with both great consternation and great pride, deftly balancing both private and public lives, from the events of A Night On The Town, in which she runs afoul of the American ambassador, to those of A Lady Arrives, in which she resolves to live a single, celibate life as actress in London, where she falls in love with Lord John Raymond Pembley.
Surprising her parents, as well as many of the family’s admirers, only Lady Kimberley, fifth child, actively pursues a career as a recording a performing musician. Unable to resist contributing to her success, Cavaliere overindulges in providing encouragement, both personal and material, though perhaps Lady Kimberley’s own considerable talents hardly need it. One critic lambastes her in referring to ‘the single worst display of nepotism in modern show business’. But Lady Kimberley ultimately prevails, performing with the first BPI gymnastics team at the XXVII Olympic Games before turning all her attention to developing herself as the best performer she can be.
All three girls are fond of being less-than-comprehensively dressed about the house, a habit they begin at St Simon’s and pursue to the level of a lifestyle at the estate in Paradise. Cavaliere, only amused by their innocent self-indulgence, decrees that no-one is to be bare-bottomed within the palace itself, causing each of them both embarrassment and amusement. The matter is never negatively addressed and Cavaliere is never seen to ogle their nakedness nor to prod them towards either more or less prudery. He consistently regards his beautiful daughters, who develop into young women literally before his eyes, as only the hearts, souls and minds he has always known and loved and who have always adored him as a respectful, responsible and doting father.
Amongst many things, Cavaliere is much admired for his marriage, which by all accounts is extraordinarily happy. Though starting very young (he 20 and she 18), both virgins till marriage, having no more than three semesters of college between them (all hers), they accept their roles as each other’s best partner and work collaboratively, and with good humour, on anything that needs their attention. All five of their children grow up intelligent, healthy and happy, and accomplished, despite some transgressions in their teen years. Though thrust rather abruptly into the limelight, first by his success as a performing and recording artist, and later in the political and social arenas, the two do not find any cause to bicker between themselves and consistently pose a unified front, defending and supporting each other’s public positions and thus setting an example for other influential married couples.
Unlike other rock stars’ wives, Jeanne is never accused of trying to manipulate her husband’s artistic or business decisions, typically encouraging him in whatever he chooses, typically serving as an organiser, a cheerleader, and a promotional 'face'. In turn he seems to never pass up any opportunity to speak well of his wife. At the start of It’s Only Love, having started a steady dating relationship with Jeanne, he is teased by the other Strawberries about ‘getting happy on us’; but in fact the short period of early 1975 may be Cavaliere’s most prolific, as over five months he writes the majority of the first two LPs with Holloway, produces or co-produces two other bands and The Strawberries’ gala farewell concert, and finishes high school, all whilst dating Jeanne steadily.
Jeanne tends to regard him with a mixture of fan worship, personal admiration, and professional respect even into her late 30s, becoming a kind of archetype for maturing Strawberries fans. We see the chaste genesis of their romantic relationship over the first two novels, and read some detail of their physical intimacy after their wedding, and must conclude that their married life is very satisfying to them both.
In the original designs for Camelot, Cavaliere includes a private retreat on the adjacent Starfish Cay, a super-secluded beachhouse where only he and his wife ever go, their children content to leave this as the exclusive romantic domain of their parents. It is the sort of intention Cavaliere sets out, both to impress his wife and to please her, merely because in his eyes and in his heart she has always been a princess worthy of all his best efforts.
Story arcs featuring Jonathan Cavaliere
The Wilshire Tales
- Love Me Do, novel
- It’s Only Love, novel
- All You Need Is Love, novel
- The Love You Make, novel/compilation
- Catch a Falling Star and Put It In Your Pocket, novella
- Surf Haven Stories, compilation
- Sea Room, novel
- East Of The Sun, novel
- Eden’s Bliss, novel
- ‘Camelot’ episodes, numerous
- A Night on the Town, novella
- A Small Affair, novel
- The Goddess and The Princess, novel
- A Global Awakening, novel
- A Lady Arrives, novel
- A Farewell to Paradise, novel
The Love of Gwendolyn Dahl
- numerous episodes
See also Strawberries discography
With The Strawberries
11 original LPs, plus two live LPs and one LP of greatest hits, 1975-1986
25 singles, including two double-A sides
Release dates given
Exile, LP, October 1987
- ‘Ellipsis’, single, Oct 1987
- ‘In Devonshire’, single, Jun 1988
If You Only Knew, LP, October 1988
- ‘My Girl, My Woman’, single, Nov 1988 (last release on Strawberries Records label)
- 41 original LPs for 27 separate artistes, 1977-1995
As executive producer, other parts as noted. Release dates given
The Green Room, Apr 1980 - acting, extra: appears as surfer
Make It Last, Jun 1981 - stunt work, driving: drives Corvette in drag-racing sequence; music: recorded soundtrack with Strawberries; promo/marketing: performs voiceover for feature trailer
Where the Girls Are, May 1982 - acting, extra: hands Randi Carsenti her guitar before music number
Just A Little Prayer, May 1984 - stunt work, driving; drives speedboats
Service Etiquette, May 1987 - actor; grows hair very long for role of cigarette-smoking loser/hot rodder
Spirit of Heaven, Jun 1989
Never Say Goodbye, May 1990 - composer: writes much of soundtrack with Dave Holloway
Make Your Way Home, May 1991 - composer: writes much of soundtrack with Dave Holloway
Flyer, May 1992 - stunt flying: flies own P51 and B25 aircraft; musician: performed period (1940s) music
I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Nov 1993 - stunt work, flying: flies own P47 aeroplane; acting: appears as pilot (officer); musician: performs bass in period (1940s) music, vocal solo on title song (end-title sequence); layout: designed film's promotional logo
Arrowchild of the Wood, 26 May 1994 - acting/riding: appears on horseback as one of the prince’s bounty hunters
The Legend of The White Knight, 25 May 1995 - cinematography: camera operator/grip in camera helicopter
The Return of The White Knight, 29 May 1997
The Revenge of The White Knight, 21 May 1998 - acting; riding: appears as warrior knight
The White Lady, 27 May 1999 - acting/riding: appears as charming highwayman on horseback
Do What You Do Best, 9 Jun 1999 - music: produces soundtrack recording; acting, extra: lights a woman’s cigarette in tube station
The Jesus Stone, 24 Apr 2000 - acting/driving: appears as Italian-cursing, leather-wearing Rome cabbie
The Dark Horse, 25 May 2000
The Body in the Library, 2 pts, Jan 1997
Murder at Hazelmoor, 2 pts, Sep 1997 - acting/driving: appears as cab driver
Pamela, 3 pts, Feb 1998
The Mirror Crack’d, 2 pts, Aug-Sep 1998
Joseph Andrews, 2 pts, Jun 2000 - acting/riding: appears as highwayman on horseback (reprising cameo role, by popular demand, from White Lady)
Clarissa, 4 pts, Sep 2001
64 individual-song projects for 51 separate artistes, 1981-2000
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