John Julius Norwich: British historian (1929-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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John Julius Norwich
British historian

John Julius Norwich

John Julius Norwich
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro British historian
A.K.A. John Julius, 2d Viscount Norwich Cooper
Is Television presenter Politician Historian Diplomat Writer
From United Kingdom
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature Social science Politics
Gender male
Birth 15 September 1929, Oldham, Oldham, Greater Manchester, North West England
Age 94 years
Star sign Virgo
Mother: Lady Diana Cooper
Father: Duff Cooper
Children: Allegra Huston
The details (from wikipedia)


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


Early life

Norwich is the son of the Conservative politician and diplomat Duff Cooper and of Lady Diana Manners, 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, Canada (as a wartime evacuee), Eton, and 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. On his father's death in 1954, he inherited the title of Viscount Norwich, created for Duff Cooper in 1952. This gave him a right to sit in the House of Lords, though he lost this right with the House of Lords Act 1999.

In 1964, Viscount 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. Viscount Norwich has often contributed to Cornucopia, a magazine devoted to the history and culture of Turkey.

Viscount Norwich has worked extensively in radio and television. He was host of the BBC radio panel game My Word! for four years (1978–82) and also a regional contestant on Round Britain Quiz. 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, The Treasure Houses of Britain, and The Death of the Prince Imperial in the Zulu War.

Norwich has also worked for various charitable projects. He is the former chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, honorary chairman of the World Monuments Fund, 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, and also served on the Board of English National Opera. Viscount Norwich is also a patron of SHARE Community, which provides vocational training to disabled people.

Christmas Crackers

Viscount Norwich began to compile 24-page anthologies for friends in 1970. Later producing around 2,000 copies a year and expanding to the United States in the mid-1980s. Several anthologies have been published and certain single issues fetch high prices in secondhand bookstores.

Christmas Crackers are compiled from whatever attracts Norwich: letters and diaries and gravestones and poems, boastful Who's Who entries, indexes from biographies, word games such as palindromes, holorhymes and mnemonics, occasionally in untranslated Greek, French, Latin, German or whatever language it was sourced from as well as such oddities as a review from the American outdoors magazine Field and Stream concerning the re-publication of "Lady Chatterley's Lover".


Viscount Norwich's first wife was Anne Frances May Clifford, daughter of the Hon. Sir Bede Edmund Hugh Clifford; they had one daughter, the Hon. Artemis Cooper, a historian, and a son, the Hon. Jason Charles Duff Bede Cooper, an architect. After their divorce, Lord Norwich married his second wife, the Hon. Mary (Makins) Philipps, daughter of the 1st Baron Sherfield GCB GCMG.

Viscount Norwich is also the father of Allegra Huston, born of his affair with the American ballet dancer Enrica Soma while she was married to the American film director John Huston.

Honours and styles of address


Viscount Norwich was appointed to the Royal Victorian Order as a Commander in 1992 by the Queen after curating a Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition entitled Sovereign, which marked the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession.

Styles of address

  • 1929–1952: Mr John Julius Cooper
  • 1952–1954: The Honourable John Julius Cooper
  • 1954–1992: The Right Honourable The Viscount Norwich
  • 1992–: The Right Honourable The Viscount Norwich CVO



  • Mount Athos (jointly with Reresby Sitwell), Hutchinson, 1966
  • The Normans in the South, 1016–1130, Longman, 1967. Also published by Harper & Row with the title The other conquest
  • Sahara, Longman, 1968
  • The kingdom in the sun, Longman, 1970
  • A History of Venice, Allen Lane, 1981, ISBN 0-679-72197-5
  • Hashish (photographs by Suomi La Valle, historical profile by John Julius Norwich), Quartet Books, 1984, ISBN 0-7043-2450-4
  • The Architecture of Southern England, Macmillan, 1985, ISBN 978-0-333-22037-5
  • Fifty Years of Glyndebourne, Cape, 1985, ISBN 0-224-02310-1
  • A Taste for Travel, Macmillan, 1985, ISBN 0-333-38434-2
  • Byzantium: The Early Centuries, Viking, 1988, ISBN 0-670-80251-4
  • Venice: a Traveller's Companion (an anthology compiled by Lord Norwich), Constable, 1990, ISBN 0-09-467550-3
  • The Normans in the South and The Kingdom in the Sun, on Norman Sicily, later republished as The Normans in Sicily, 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 0-14-015212-1
  • Byzantium; v. 2: The Apogee, 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, Alfred A. Knopf, 1997, ISBN 0-679-45088-2
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas (illustrated by Quentin Blake), Doubleday, 1998 (spoof of the old favourite carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas"), ISBN 0-385-41028-X
  • Shakespeare's Kings: the Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337–1485, New York : Scribner, 2000, ISBN 0-684-81434-X
  • The Middle Sea: a History of the Mediterranean, Doubleday, 2006, ISBN 0-385-51023-3
  • Trying to Please (autobiography), Wimborne Minster, Dovecote Press, 2008, ISBN 978-1-904349-58-7
  • Christmas Crackers (anecdotes, trivia and witticisms collected from history and literature)
  • More Christmas Crackers
  • The Big Bang : Christmas Crackers , 2000–2009, Dovecote Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-904349-84-6
  • 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, Chatto & Windus, 2011, ISBN 978-0-7011-8290-8
  • Darling Monster: The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper to Her Son John Julius Norwich (editor), Chatto & Windus, 2013, ISBN 978-0701187798
  • Sicily: An Island at the Crossroads of History, Random House, 2015, ISBN 978-0812995176
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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