Skandar Keynes

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Skandar Keynes
Born (1991-09-05) 5 September 1991 (age 29)[1]
EducationPembroke College, Cambridge
OccupationActor (2001–2010)
Political advisor (2015–present)
Known forEdmund Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia
Parent(s)Randal Keynes
Zelfa Cecil Hourani
FamilyKeynes, Darwin–Wedgwood
Awards30th Young Artist Awards
32nd Young Artist Awards
CAMIE Awards

Skandar Keynes is an English political adviser and former actor. Best known for starring as Edmund Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia film series since 2005,[3] he appeared in all three installments: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which was released on 10 December 2010.[4]

Early life[edit]

Keynes was born in Camden, London on September 5, 1991. His mother, Zelfa Hourani, is Lebanese; and his father, Randal Keynes, is a British author. He has an older sister, Soumaya (born July 31, 1989), a journalist who has appeared in various productions for BBC Radio 4, and a former economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.[5]


On his father's side, Keynes is of English descent, and is the grandson of physiologist Richard Keynes, the nephew of two Cambridge professors, the historian Simon Keynes, and the neuroscientist Roger Keynes, the cousin of Catholic writer and apologist Laura Keynes,[6] and the great-great-nephew of economist John Maynard Keynes.[7] His great-great-great-grandfather was naturalist Charles Darwin. Keynes' great-grandparents were Nobel Prize laureate Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian and Hester Adrian, Baroness Adrian.[8]

On his mother's side, Keynes is of Lebanese, Persian and Turkish descent.[9] His maternal grandfather was Lebanese writer Cecil Fadlo Hourani, who was an advisor to the late Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba. The Hourani family were immigrants to Manchester from Marjeyoun in southern Lebanon. Cecil's two brothers were Albert Hourani, a historian of the Middle East, and George Hourani, philosopher, historian, and classicist.[citation needed] His maternal grandmother, Furugh Afnan, was the great-granddaughter of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Baháʼí Faith, making Skandar a great-great-great-grandson of Baha'u'llah.[10] The nickname Skandar is Proto-Iranian[11] for the Greek name "Alexander", or is short for "Iskandar," an Arabic variant[12]). Lebanese nationality law states that citizenship is passed on patrilineally, so Keynes is legally a foreigner in the country he considers his second home.[13]


Keynes auditioned for the role of Edmund Pevensie in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the same time as he auditioned for the role of Simon Brown in Nanny McPhee, winning the former while losing the latter to Thomas Sangster. His voice changed, due to puberty, during the filming of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,[14] so the director used his sister Soumaya to voice some of his lines in the movie.[15]

He reprised his role as Edmund in Prince Caspian, released 16 May 2008. Keynes said he enjoyed the action-oriented stuntwork in the film but bruised his heel during a stunt with a horse. When he later had to run in the same scene, he did so while on pain medication and worried it was noticeable.[16]

He starred again as Edmund in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia film series. Filming began in July 2009, and finished in December of the same year. The film was released on 10 December 2010 in Britain and the U.S. In preparation for this film, Keynes studied to earn his Professional Association of Diving Instructors license for underwater scenes.[17]

Keynes contributed his voice in 2014 to the audio project, In Freedom's Cause as Sir Allan Kerr, which would be the final project of his official acting career. In 2016, Keynes announced that he is no longer pursuing a career in acting[18] and was now a parliamentary adviser to Crispin Blunt, MP.[19]


Keynes attended the Anna Scher Theatre School from 2000 to 2005, having attended Thornhill Primary School from 1996 to 2002. He attended the all-boys City of London School from 2005. There he wrote as a film critic for the review section of The Citizen, the City of London School weekly school newspaper. He sat his GCSEs in May and June 2008 and started Sixth Form and his first year of his A-level studies the following September. He studied biology, chemistry, maths, further maths and history at A-level.[20] In October 2010, he began his degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern History at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Keynes was listed as one of Business Insider's "16 Incredibly Impressive Students At Cambridge University."[21] Keynes received his degree in Middle Eastern Studies in 2014.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Keynes and his family have visited Marjeyoun since he was a child. "We've been coming every year to Lebanon and visiting Marjeyoun despite the political situation. I was here in 1996 during Operation Grapes of Wrath. I was four at the time and I had no concept that it was war," Keynes told a reporter. "I remember when the gravity of the situation dawned on me. It was during the 2006 July war, I was 14 then... but it didn't really shake my view of Lebanon as effectively a second home, a place where I come to and I have family."[13] Keynes explains that he is cognisant of the political situation:

"And I understand that in part the law that a mother cannot pass her nationality to her children is tied up with the Palestinian issue, and sometimes I wonder who I am to complain when there are people who have been born and brought up in Lebanon, who speak Arabic better than I ever will and can't get Lebanese citizenship... I would like to see the law changed and would like to be able to be considered Lebanese by the Lebanese government. When I arrive at the airport, I would like to show a Lebanese passport, I would like to go to my [family's] house without having to get permission, but part of me feels that I have to put my hands up in the air and say, 'Well, what I want is not what I'm going to get,' and I don't know how or to what extent I should resign myself to the fact that I'm not Lebanese as far as they are concerned."[13]


Year Title Role Notes
2001 Queen Victoria Died in 1901 and is Still Alive Today Waif TV documentary
2003 Ferrari Enzo Ferrari at 8 years old TV film
2005 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Edmund Pevensie
2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian T4 Film Special Behind-the-scenes TV programme (23 min.)
2010 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
2014 The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty: In Freedom's Cause Sir Allan Kerr Audio Drama

Awards and nominations[edit]

Young Artist Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2009 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Nominated [23]
Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Ensemble Cast Won
2011 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Ensemble Cast Nominated [24]

CAMIE Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2006 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe N/A Won [25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Skandar Keynes. Internet Movie Database, retrieved 18 July 2011
  4. ^ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Internet Movie Database, retrieved 18 July 2011
  5. ^ Soumaya Keynes at the Institute for Fiscal Studies Archived 2 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Institute for Fiscal Studies, retrieved 2013-11-23
  6. ^ West, Ed (2013-06-13). Descendant of Darwin Becomes a Catholic Apologist. The Catholic Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  7. ^ Anderson, Jon Lee (24 July 2006). "Change of Plans". The New Yorker. Retrieved 18 October 2006.
  8. ^ "Notes on the Rendall family" (PDF). Retrieved 29 May 2008.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ SKANDAR KEYNES – Personal Facts., 2008-07-31, retrieved 2011-07-18
  10. ^ Behai, Shua Ullah (2014). Stetson, Eric (ed.). A Lost History of the Baháʼí Faith: The Progressive Tradition of Baha'u'llah's Forgotten Family. Newark, Delaware: Vox Humri Media. p. 550. ISBN 978-0-692-33135-4.
  11. ^ Ashraf, Mohsin (2007). Top Ten Lives of the Greatest Monarchs of History. London, UK: LuLu Publications. p. 1. ISBN 978-1430329398.
  12. ^ "Skandar". Pronounce Names: The Dictionary of Name Pronunciation. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  13. ^ a b c Elali, Nadine (29 September 2012). "A second home in Lebanon: Talking to Skandar Keynes". NOW Lebanon. Beirut, Lebanon. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  14. ^ Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, and Andrew Adamson (2006). The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe [Cast Commentary] (DVD).
  15. ^ Mark Johnson, Michael Apted (2011). The Chronicles of Narnia:The Voyage of the Dawn Treader[Director's Commentary] (DVD).
  16. ^ Utichi, Joe (25 June 2008). "RT Interview: Skandar Keynes on the Action Challenge of Prince Caspian: Edmund Pevensie on the new experiences of the Narnian second part". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  17. ^ Nemiroff, Perri (6 December 2010). "Interview: The Chronicles Of Narnia's Skandar Keynes". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  18. ^ "6 Child Actors Who Gave Up Hollywood For Normal Jobs". The Hook. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Commons Committee" (PDF).
  20. ^ Gadelrab, Roisin (13 March 2009). "Evolution of screen heartthrob Skandar". Islington Tribune. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  21. ^ Robinson, Melia; Stranger, Melissa (23 May 2014). "16 Incredibly Impressive Students At Cambridge University". Business Insider. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  22. ^ "Skandar Keynes – About". Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  23. ^ "30th Annual Young Artist Awards". Young Artist Foundation. 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  24. ^ "32nd Annual Young Artist Awards". Young Artist Foundation. 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  25. ^ "Awards for Skandar Keynes", Internet Movie Database Retrieved 13 October 2012.

External links[edit]