Christopher Lee (historian)

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'Christopher Lee RD and Bar, MA (London)' (born 1941) is a British writer, historian and broadcaster, best known for writing the radio documentary series This Sceptred Isle for the BBC read by Anna Massey and directed by Pete Atkin.

Lee's career began after expulsion from school and running away to sea in an old tramp steamer built for the duration of World War II. In his Twenties he restarted education reading history at London University. He later joined the BBC as a defence and foreign affairs correspondent and was posted to Moscow and the Middle East. Leaving his career in journalism for academia, Lee was the first Quatercentenary Fellow in Contemporary History and Gomes Lecturer in Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He went on to research the history of ideas at Birkbeck College in the University of London.

Christopher Lee was recruited into the Royal Navy's Joint Intelligence Reserve Branch and in the 1970s completed a study of the Order of Battle of the Soviet Northern Fleet and its command structure. Promoted to commander he later became captain of HMS Wildfire based at Chatham in Kent and was awarded a bar to his Reserve Decoration.

Lee is the originator and writer of the BBC Radio 4 trilogy This Sceptred Isle, which recounts the history of Britain from the Romans to the death of Queen Victoria, the 20th century and the British Empire.

His recent books include the three accompanying volumes of This Sceptred Isle. In 2003 was published 1603, the history of the death of Elizabeth I and the arrival of the Stuarts. In 2005, Nelson and Napoleon described the events that led to the Battle of Trafalgar and also in the same year he published the autobiographic Eight Bells and Top Masts the story of his time as a deck boy and his circumnavigation of the globe and the Bath Detective thriller trilogy.

In 2006, he gave a "Platform" talk on history writing and teaching at the National Theatre as a prelude to Alan Bennett's play The History Boys and a new stage play set in the London of 1912. His study of the British monarchy and its future was published in spring 2014 and his book on Royal Ceremony and Regalia is to be published early 2015.

In 2011 he edited an official single-volume abridgment of Winston Churchill's four-volume A History of the English-Speaking Peoples.

He is currently writing an authorised biography of Lord Carrington and the history of the Viceroys of India, with illustrations by his wife to be published in 2018.

He is also the writer of more than 100 Radio 4 plays and series including, The House for Timothy West, Julian Glover and Isla Blair, Colvil & Soames for Christopher Benjamin and Amanda Redman, Our Brave Boys for Martin Jarvis and Fiona Shaw and the Los Angeles production of his The Trial of Walter Ralegh which Rosalind Ayres produced with Michael York in the title role. His play, "A Pattern in Shrouds" was broadcast on Radio 4 in the summer of 2009 and deals with the consequences of the assassination of the Queen's uncle, Lord Mountbatten in 1979. In 2013 the BBC ran his play Air Force One that questioned the events during the 90 minutes between the assassination of President Kennedy and swearing in of Lyndon B Johnson aboard the presidential plane. His next major project is on the constitutional future of the British Royal Family to go alongside his book, Monarchy, The Past, The Present, The Future...?

He is the defence and foreign affairs advisor to the British Forces Broadcasting Service and lead analyst of the defence & foreign policy SceptredIsle Consulting

Personal life[edit]

Lee divides his time between England and Florence, Italy. He is married to Fiona Graham-Mackay, the portrait and landscape painter and skipper of their yacht Janeva moored on England's East Coast.

External links[edit]