Happy 2019, everyone. 2018 was a mixed-to-rubbish year for me, because of the loss of various people close to me – not least my father-in-law, Will Alsop. However, things brightened somewhat towards the end of the year, thanks to some interesting professional opportunities, including writing for the excellent Drugstore Culture, and, best of all, the commissioning of my fourth book, The Crown In Crisis, by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
This concludes – for the time being, at least – an enjoyable and productive relationship with my former publisher, Head of Zeus, with whom I published Blazing Star, Restoration and Byron’s Women. Yet, like most historians and biographers, I have always wanted to join the W & N stable. Looking at my bookshelves, I see a lot of great names who have been published by them before – Simon Sebag Montefiore, Cecil Beaton, Kenneth Tynan, Alan Clark – and feel honoured to join their ranks. My thanks to my agent, Andrew Lownie, and to the indefatigable (and newly promoted) Alan Samson at Weidenfeld.
As for the book, it’s going to be a fresh, thrilling and surprising take on the abdication of Edward VIII. My interest was piqued, as many others’ was, by the excellent The Crown, but its depiction of Edward and Wallis – not to mention the likes of Alan ‘Tommy’ Lascelles – can only skim the surface. There is a wealth of untold and little-known stories around the events of 1936, including assassination attempts, cross-European espionage, sexual power play and the ever-present threat of a country on the brink of destruction. Only a few brilliant men and women – including Walter Monckton (pictured, with the Duke of Windsor) – could save Britain, and its throne, from ruin. I can’t wait to be able to share the finished work with you all.
Until then, I’ll keep you updated as to any significant or particularly interesting developments here, or over on Twitter, and, as ever, look forward to receiving your feedback, thoughts and suggestions, for this and any other books.