The wry and amusing journals of royal biographer and Sunday Telegraph journalist Kenneth Rose, one of the most astute observers of the Establishment in mid 20th-century Britain.
Kenneth Rose was one of the most astute observers of the establishment for over seventy years. The wry and amusing journals of the royal biographer and historian made objective observation a sculpted craft.
His impeccable social placement located him within the beating heart of the national elite for decades. He was capable of writing substantial history, such as his priceless material on the abdication crisis from conversations with both the Duke of Windsor and the Queen Mother. Yet he maintained sufficient distance to achieve impartial documentation while working among political, clerical, military, literary and aristocratic circles. Relentless observation and a self-confessed difficulty 'to let a good story pass me by' made Rose a legendary social commentator, while his impressive breadth of interests was underpinned by tremendous respect for the subjects of his enquiry.
Brilliantly equipped as Rose was to witness, detail and report, the first volume of his journals vividly portrays some of the most important events and people of the last century, from the bombing of London during the Second World War to the election of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first woman Prime Minister, in 1979.
Intimate with the highest levels of society, politics, the arts and the Royal Family, Kenneth Rose has left us one of the most vivid, full and revealing records of the postwar era
The diaries, chronicling the events of previous generations, give a unique glimpse of the personalities and preoccupations of the statesmen of that time. Harold Macmillan, Rab Butler, amongst other figures, are shown in a different and more informal way than their biographers have done and the differences in their approach to politics and each other are amusingly revealed
Kenneth Rose was born in 1924. He was educated at Repton and was a scholar at New College, Oxford. He served in the Welsh Guards during the Second World War and was subsequently a schoolmaster at Eton, before working for the British Council in Rome and Naples. He joined the DAILY TELEGRAPH in 1951 and worked on the Peterborough column before starting the long-running Albany at Large column in the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH in 1961. He published prize-winning biographies of Lord Curzon, King George V and Victor Rothschild, as well as acclaimed studies of the Victorian Prime Minister Lord Salisbury and his family in THE LATER CECILS. His journals, spanning 1944 to his death in 2014, are to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in two volumes.