John Julius Norwich
John Julius Cooper, 2nd Viscount Norwich CVO
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

 (born 15 September 1929) — known as John Julius Norwich — is an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 historian, travel writer and television personality.

Early life

Norwich is the son of the Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 politician and diplomat Duff Cooper and of Lady Diana Cooper, a celebrated beauty and society figure. Through his father, he is descended from King William IV and his mistress Dorothea Jordan.

He was educated at Upper Canada College
Upper Canada College
Upper Canada College , located in midtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is an independent elementary and secondary school for boys between Senior Kindergarten and Grade Twelve, operating under the International Baccalaureate program. The secondary school segment is divided into ten houses; eight are...

, Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 (as a wartime evacuee), at Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

, and at the University of Strasbourg
University of Strasbourg
The University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, is the largest university in France, with about 43,000 students and over 4,000 researchers....

. He served in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 before taking a degree in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 at New College, Oxford
New College, Oxford
New College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.- Overview :The College's official name, College of St Mary, is the same as that of the older Oriel College; hence, it has been referred to as the "New College of St Mary", and is now almost always...



Joining the British Foreign Service after Oxford, John Julius Cooper served in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 and Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, and as a member of British delegation to the Disarmament Conference in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

. At his father's death in 1954, he inherited the title of Viscount Norwich
Viscount Norwich
Viscount Norwich, of Aldwick in the County of Sussex, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1952 for the Conservative politician, author and former Ambassador to France, Sir Duff Cooper. He was the son of Sir Alfred Cooper and the husband of Lady Diana Manners. the...

, created for Duff Cooper
Duff Cooper
Alfred Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich GCMG, DSO, PC , known as Duff Cooper, was a British Conservative Party politician, diplomat and author. He wrote six books, including an autobiography, Old Men Forget, and a biography of Talleyrand...

 in 1952, which made him a member of the British House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....


In 1964, Norwich left the diplomatic service to become a writer. Apart from his many books (see list), he has also served as editor of series such as Great Architecture of the World, The Italian World, The New Shell Guides to Great Britain, The Oxford Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Art and the Duff Cooper Diaries. Norwich has often contributed to Cornucopia
Cornucopia (magazine)
Cornucopia is a magazine about Turkish culture, art and history, published jointly in the United Kingdom and Turkey.-Content:Cornucopia was founded by John Scott and Berrin Torolsan in 1992. It is an English Language magazine that concerns Turkish culture...

, a magazine devoted to the history and culture of Turkey.

Norwich has worked extensively in radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 and television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. He was host of the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 radio panel game My Word!
My Word!
My Word! was a long-running radio panel game broadcast by the BBC on the Home Service and Radio 4 . It was created by Edward J. Mason and Tony Shryane, and featured comic writers Denis Norden and Frank Muir, famous in Britain for the series Take It From Here...

for four years (1978–1982) and also a regional contestant on Round Britain Quiz
Round Britain Quiz
Round Britain Quiz is a panel game that has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 since 1947, making it the oldest quiz still broadcast on British radio...

. He has written and presented some 30 television documentaries, including The Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

, Napoleon's Hundred Days, Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 and Montezuma
Moctezuma II
Moctezuma , also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520...

, The Antiquities of Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, The Gates of Asia, Maximilian of Mexico, Toussaint l'Ouverture
Toussaint L'Ouverture
François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture , also Toussaint Bréda, Toussaint-Louverture was the leader of the Haitian Revolution. His military genius and political acumen led to the establishment of the independent black state of Haiti, transforming an entire society of slaves into a free,...

 of Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

, The Knights of Malta
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

, The Treasure Houses of Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, and The Death of the Prince Imperial
Napoléon Eugène, Prince Imperial
Napoléon, Prince Imperial, , Prince Imperial, Fils de France, was the only child of Emperor Napoleon III of France and his Empress consort Eugénie de Montijo...

 in the Zulu War

Norwich has also worked for various charitable projects. He is Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund
Venice in Peril Fund
The Venice in Peril Fund is a British registered charity. It raises funds to restore and conserve works of art and architecture in Venice, and to investigate ways to protect them against future risks, particularly rising sea levels...

, Honorary Chairman of the World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund is a private, international, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training....

, and a Vice-President of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies. For many years he was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust
National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

, and also served on the Board of English National Opera
English National Opera
English National Opera is an opera company based in London, resident at the London Coliseum in St. Martin's Lane. It is one of the two principal opera companies in London, along with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden...

. Viscount Norwich is also a patron of SHARE Community, which provides vocational training to disabled people.

Honours and accolades

Lord Norwich was appointed the CVO
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

 in 1992 by the Queen
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 after acting as curator of a Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum , set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects...

 exhibition entitled 'Sovereign', which marked the 40th anniversary of the accession of the queen of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Elizabeth II.


Norwich married, as his first wife, Anne Frances May Clifford, daughter of the Hon. Sir Bede Edmund Hugh Clifford; they had one daughter, Artemis Cooper
Artemis Cooper
The Hon. Alice Clare Antonia Opportune Cooper Beevor is a British writer known as Artemis Cooper.Known as Artemis, a nickname which honours her paternal grandmother, she is the only daughter of the 2nd Viscount Norwich and his first wife, the former Anne Clifford, and a granddaughter of the...

, an historian, and a son, Jason Charles Duff Bede Cooper. After their divorce, Lord Norwich married, as his second wife, the Hon. Mary (Makins) Philipps, daughter of the 1st Baron Sherfield
Baron Sherfield
Baron Sherfield, of Sherfield-on-Loddon in the County of Southampton, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1964 for the diplomat Sir Roger Makins. He had previously served as British Ambassador to the United States. His eldest son, the second Baron, was a leading...


Norwich is also the father of Allegra Huston
Allegra Huston
-Biography:Huston was born in London, England. Her mother was the American ballerina Enrica "Ricki" Soma and her biological father is John Julius Norwich ....

, offspring of his affair with Enrica Soma Huston, the estranged wife of the American film director John Huston
John Huston
John Marcellus Huston was an American film director, screenwriter and actor. He wrote most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics: The Maltese Falcon , The Treasure of the Sierra Madre , Key Largo , The Asphalt Jungle , The African Queen , Moulin Rouge...



  • Mount Athos
    Mount Athos
    Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

    (jointly with Reresby Sitwell
    Sir Reresby Sitwell, 7th Baronet
    Sir Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell, 7th Baronet was the head of the Sitwell family, and owner of Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire....

    ) London: Hutchinson, 1966
  • The Normans in the South and The Kingdom in the Sun, on Norman Sicily
    Kingdom of Sicily
    The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

    , later republished as The Normans in Sicily London: Penguin, 1992 (The Normans in the south,1016–1130; originally published:- Harlow:Longman,1967—The kingdom in the sun, 1130–1194; originally published:- Harlow:Longman,1970) ISBN 0140152121
  • Sahara London: Longmans, 1968
  • A History of Venice
    A History of Venice
    A History of Venice is a non-fiction book by the historian John Julius Norwich. It was originally published by Allen Lane....

    . Allen Lane, 1981 ISBN 0-679-72197-5
  • The Architecture of Southern England. London: Macmillan, 1985 ISBN 978-0333-220-375
  • Fifty Years of Glyndebourne
    Glyndebourne is a country house, thought to be about six hundred years old, located near Lewes in East Sussex, England. It is also the site of an opera house which, with the exception of its closing during the Second World War, for a few immediate post-war years, and in 1993 during the...

    London: Cape, 1985 ISBN 0224023101
  • A Taste for Travel London: Macmillan, 1985 ISBN 0333384342
  • Byzantium: The Early Centuries
    Byzantium: The Early Centuries
    Byzantium: The Early Centuries is a popular history book written by John Julius Norwich, published by Viking.- Content :In the book, Norwich covers the period 286-802 AD, from the establishment of the Tetrarchy by Diocletian and the beginning of the Dominate in the Roman Empire to the coronation...

    . Viking, 1988 ISBN 0-670-80251-4
  • Venice: a Traveller's Companion (an anthology compiled by Lord Norwich) London: Constable, 1990 ISBN 0094675503
  • Byzantium; v. 2: The Apogee. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992 ISBN 0-394-53779-3
  • Byzantium; v. 3: The Decline and Fall. Viking, 1995 ISBN 0-670-82377-5
  • A Short History of Byzantium
    A Short History of Byzantium
    A Short History of Byzantium is a history of the Byzantine Empire by historian John Julius Norwich. It is a condensed version of his earlier three-volume work on the same subject, published from 1988 to 1995 in 1200 pages, which is approximately one page per year of historical time covered.The...

    , New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997 ISBN 0-679-45088-2
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Quentin Blake
    Quentin Blake
    Quentin Saxby Blake, CBE, FCSD, RDI, is an English cartoonist, illustrator and children's author, well-known for his collaborations with writer Roald Dahl.-Education:...

    . London : Doubleday, 1998 (spoof of the old favourite carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas") ISBN 038541028X
  • Shakespeare's Kings: the Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485
    Shakespeare's Kings: the Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485
    Shakespeare's Kings: the Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485 is a non-fiction book by John Julius Norwich. It was published by Scribner. It takes a different perspective and tone than his Byzantium trilogy, Venice or Normans histories. It is only about a third the...

    . New York: Scribner, 2000 ISBN 0-684-81434-X
  • The Middle Sea: a History of the Mediterranean. New York: Doubleday, 2006 ISBN 0-385-51023-3
  • Trying to Please, (autobiography). Wimborne Minster, Dorset: Dovecote Press, 2008 ISBN 9781904349587
  • Christmas Crackers, anecdotes, trivia and witticisms collected from history and literature
  • More Christmas Crackers
  • The Big Bang : Christmas Crackers , 2000-2009. The Dovecote Press, 2010. ISBN 9781904349846
  • Paradise of Cities, Venice and Its Nineteenth-century Visitors, Viking/Penguin, 2003. ISBN 0-670-89401-X
  • The Great Cities in History, editor, Thames and Hudson, 2009. ISBN 978-0-500-25154-6
  • Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy, Random House, 2011. ISBN 978-1400067152

External links

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