John Julius Norwich

John Julius Norwich

John Julius Cooper, 2nd Viscount Norwich CVO (born 15 September 1929) is an English historian, travel writer and television personality. He is commonly known as John Julius Norwich.

Early life

Norwich is the only child of the Conservative 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, Toronto (as a wartime evacuee), at Eton College, and at the University of Strasbourg. He served in the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford.


Joining the British Foreign Service after Oxford, John Julius Cooper served in Yugoslavia and Lebanon, and as a member of British delegation to the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. At his father's death in 1954, he inherited the title of Viscount Norwich, created for Duff Cooper in 1952, which made him a member of the British House of Lords.

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 worked extensively in radio and television. He was host of the popular BBC radio panel game "My Word!" for four years. He has written and presented some 30 television documentaries, including "The Fall of Constantinople", "Napoleon's Hundred Days", "Cortés and Montezuma", "The Antiquities of Turkey", "The Gates of Asia", "Maximilian of Mexico", "Toussaint l'Ouverture of Haiti", "The Knights of Malta" and "The Death of the Prince Imperial in the Zulu War".

Norwich has also worked for various charitable projects. He is Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, Co-Chairman of the World Monuments Fund, and a Vice-President of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies. For many years he was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust, and also served on the Board of the English National Opera.


Lord Norwich was appointed CVO in 1992 after acting as curator of a Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition entitled 'Sovereign', which marked the 40th anniversary of the accession of H. M. The Queen.


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, 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, GCB, GCMG.

Norwich is also the father of Allegra Huston, offspring of his affair with Enrica Soma Huston, the estranged wife of the American film director John Huston.


*"The Normans in the South" and "The Kingdom in the Sun", two books on Norman Sicily, later republished as "The Normans in Sicily"
*"A History of Venice", John Julius Norwich, Publ. Allen lane (1981) ISBN 0-679-72197-5
*"The Architecture of Southern England", Macmillan, London, 1985, ISBN 978-0333-220-375
*"Byzantium: The Early Centuries", v. 1, John Julius Norwich, Publ. Viking (1988) ISBN 0-670-80251-4
*"Byzantium: The Apogee", vol. 2, John Julius Norwich, Publ. Alfred A. Knopf (1992) ISBN 0-394-53779-3
*"Byzantium: The Decline and Fall", v. 3, John Julius Norwich, Publ. Viking (1995) ISBN 0-670-82377-5
*"A Short History of Byzantium", John Julius Norwich, Publ. Alfred A Knopf (1997) ISBN 0-679-45088-2
*"Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485" (2000) ISBN 0-684-81434-X
*"The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean", Doubleday (2006) ISBN 0-385-51023-3
*"Mount Athos" (jointly with Reresby Sitwell)
*"Venice: A Traveller's Companion"
*"A Taste for Travel"
*"Fifty Years of Glyndebourne"
*"The Twelve Days of Christmas", a work of humour
*"Trying to Please" (autobiography), Dovecote Press (2008)


* "Old Times": Leaders & Legends: John Julius Norwich; Winter/Spring, 2008

External links

* [,,0_1000023791,00.html Penguin books] short biography

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