Sarah Gristwood – biographer, historian, and broadcaster.


Sarah Gristwood

Sarah’s new book Secret Voices: A Year of Women’s Diaries will be published by Batsford at the end of February 2024. Featuring more than 100 diarists and covering over four centuries. Alison Weir called it “a book for all seasons – and all people…a modern classic”.

Sarah’s last book The Tudors in Love was published in the UK by Oneworld in September 2021 and in the US by St.Martins Press. The last two years have also seen new editions of The Story of Beatrix Potter (Anova/National Trust); and Elizabeth: Queen and Crown (Pavilion), as well as the publication of ,Authorizing Early Modern European Women: From Biography to Biofiction (Amsterdam University Press), and Hanoverian to Windsor Consorts: Power, Influence and Dynasty (Palgrave Macmillan), to both of which she contributed essays.

Recent television documentaries in which she took part include programmes on the Queen’s speeches;  Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II; the Royal Art Collection; the Queen Mother; the legacy of Edward VIII and Admiral Nelson.

Other recent historical books include Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe and Blood Sisters: the Women Behind the Wars of the Roses. She earlier produced bestselling Tudor biographies Arbella: England’s Lost Queen and Elizabeth and Leicester, while her eighteenth-century Bird of Paradise: The colourful career of the first Mrs Robinson was selected as Radio 4 Book of the Week.

After leaving Oxford, Sarah originally began work as a journalist, writing at first about the theatre as well as general features on everything from gun control to Giorgio Armani. But increasingly she found herself specialising in film interviews – Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro; Martin Scorsese and Paul McCartney. She has appeared in most of the UK’s leading newspapers – The Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph (Daily and Sunday) – and magazines from Sight and Sound to The New Statesman.

Sarah has written several books on iconic figures from the 20th century – not only books on Beatrix Potter and Elizabeth II, but Vita and Virginia; and Churchill: An Extraordinary Life (with Margaret Gaskin). She has also published a book on iconic dresses, Fabulous Frocks (with Jane Eastoe); and a 50th-anniversary companion to the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as well as co-authoring (with Alison Weir, Kate Williams and Tracy Borman) The Ring and the Crown, a book on the history of royal weddings. She is the author of two historical novels, The Girl in the Mirror and The Queen’s Mary.

A regular media commentator on royal and historical affairs, Sarah’s broadcasting career began a decade ago, as one of the team providing Radio 4’s live coverage of the royal wedding. She now speaks regularly on royal and historical stories – such as the death of Prince Philip – for outlets including CNN, Sky News, Woman’s Hour, BBC World, LBC, Radio 5 Live, NBC, CBC and other channels from Scandinavia to South America.

She is regularly quoted by platforms and publications from Vanity Fair to the Daily Express and Fox News. She has contributed to many television documentary series on cinema and fashion as well as history and the monarchy. Programmes such as The Royal House of Windsor, Inside Westminster Abbey, Inside St Paul’s Cathedral, Inside Balmoral and Secrets of the National Trust with Alan Titchmarsh all continue to be repeated regularly.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the RSA, Sarah has been shortlisted for both the Marsh Biography Award and the Ben Pimlott Prize for Political Writing. She lives in London and Kent.

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