Charles Wintour

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Charles Wintour
Born Charles Vere Wintour
(1917-05-18)18 May 1917
Pamphill Manor, Pamphill, Dorset, England
Died 4 November 1999(1999-11-04) (aged 82)
Alma mater Oundle School
Peterhouse, Cambridge
Spouse(s) Eleanor Trego Baker
(m. 1940; div. 1979)

Audrey Slaughter
Children 5; including Anna and Patrick Wintour
Parent(s) Major-Gen. Fitzgerald Wintour
Alice Foster

Charles Vere Wintour, CBE (18 May 1917 – 4 November 1999) was a British newspaper editor and the father of editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour, and the Diplomatic Editor of The Guardian newspaper, Patrick Wintour.

Life and career[edit]

Wintour was born in Pamphill Manor, near Wimborne, Dorset, the son of Alice Jane Blanche Foster and Major-General Fitzgerald Wintour.[1] He wrote articles for the Radio Times while he was at Oundle School, and won a prize awarded by the Daily Mail. He completed his education at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he studied English and history and briefly edited Granta with Eric Hobsbawm.[2]

After university, Wintour took a job in advertising, but left at the start of World War II to join the Royal Norfolk Regiment. During the war, he was awarded the military MBE, the Croix de Guerre and the Bronze Star.[2]

In 1940 Wintour married Eleanor "Nonie" Trego Baker; the couple later divorced in 1979. In 1946, Wintour became a leader writer for the London Evening Standard. He was soon promoted to political editor, then moved to the Sunday Express as assistant editor. He returned to the Standard as deputy editor, during which period he convinced Lord Beaverbrook to launch the Evening Standard Awards for theatre.[2]

Wintour became managing editor of the Daily Express in 1958, then in 1959 moved back to the Standard as editor.[3] During this period, he had five children, of whom two, Anna and Patrick, later became prominent journalists.[4]

Although circulation fell under Wintour's editorship, he was well regarded, and was considered for the post of editor of The Times in 1967.[2] He was particularly passionate about the paper's politics and high-society gossip column, the Londoner's Diary, once remarking that: "To go to a decent London dinner party without having read the Diary would be to go out unprepared for proper conversation."

Wintour remained editor until 1976, when he became managing director of the Daily Express, supervising its transition from broadsheet to tabloid.[4] He took part in the negotiations to merge the London Evening Standard with the Evening News, championing the case for keeping the staff and approach of the Standard. As a result, the proposed merger was called off. The Express Group was sold to Trafalgar House, and new owner Victor Matthews appointed Wintour editor of the Standard again in 1978. In 1979, Wintour joined the Press Council, serving for two years. In 1980, the Standard and the News were finally merged. While the name of the Standard was ultimately retained, Wintour was replaced by former News editor Louis Kirby.[2]

In 1981, Wintour launched the Sunday Express Magazine with new wife Audrey Slaughter, and in 1984 they launched Working Woman magazine. In 1985, Wintour became editor of the Press Gazette, and he gave advice on the launch of Today, The Independent and the new Daily News,[2] in addition to TV-am.[4]

Wintour retired in 1989 and spent his later years supporting the Liberal Democrats and chairing the regional National Art Collections Fund.[3]


Media offices
Preceded by
John Junor
Deputy Editor of the Evening Standard
Succeeded by
Derek Marks
Preceded by
Percy Elland
Editor of the Evening Standard
Succeeded by
Simon Jenkins
Preceded by
Simon Jenkins
Editor of the Evening Standard
Succeeded by
Louis Kirby