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John Julius Norwich

john julius norwich, john julius norwich byzantium
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


  • 1 Biography
    • 11 Early life
    • 12 Career
      • 121 Christmas Crackers
  • 2 Family
  • 3 Honours and styles of address
    • 31 Honours
    • 32 Styles of address
  • 4 Ancestry
  • 5 Works
  • 6 References
  • 7 Sources
  • 8 External links


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, which made him a member of the House of Lords

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 second-hand 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
  • The Popes: A History, 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


  1. ^ "John Julius Norwich:'Deep down, I'm shallow I really am'", The Telegraph, 04 Jun 2008
  2. ^ Yardley, Jonathan "John Julius Norwich's memoir, "Trying to Please," reviewed by Jonathan Yardley", The Washington Post, 5 September 2010
  3. ^ "Venice in Peril — Trustees" Retrieved 20 December 2015 
  4. ^ "Welcome to NADFAS" Retrieved 20 December 2015 
  5. ^ http://wwwstandardcouk/news/londoners-diary/another-cracker-from-john-julius-norwich-8969843html
  6. ^ http://articleslatimescom/1986-12-03/news/vw-435_1_christmas-cracker
  7. ^ "A Daughter's Life with Daddy Issues" The New York Times 2 April 2009 Retrieved 20 December 2015 
  8. ^ "Page 2394" The Peerage Retrieved 15 April 2016 


  • Leaders & Legends: John Julius Norwich In: Old Times; Winter/Spring, 2008

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Norwich
  • Penguin books short biography
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alfred Duff Cooper
Viscount Norwich

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