HUGO VICKERS Biographer & Historian
Hugo Vickers is a writer and broadcaster, who has written biographies of many twentieth century figures, including the Queen Mother, Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, Cecil Beaton, Vivien Leigh, a study of Greta Garbo, Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece, and his book, The Private World of The Duke and Duchess of Windsor was illustrated with pictures from their own collection. Mr Vickers’s book, The Kiss - The Story of an Obsession won the 1996 Stern Silver Pen Award for Non-Fiction.

His latest work is Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, the first major biography since her death, was published in October 2005 and is now in paperback.

Amongst the books that Hugo Vickers has written are:

We Want The Queen 1977
Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough 1979
Debrett’s Book of the Royal Wedding 1981
Cocktails & Laughter 1983
Cecil Beaton 1985
Vivien Leigh 1988
Royal Orders 1994
Loving Garbo 1994
The Private World of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor 1995
The Kiss 1996
Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece 2000
The Unexpurgated Beaton 2002
Beaton in the Sixties 2003
Alexis – The Memoirs of the Baron de Redé 2005
Elizabeth, The Queen Mother 2005
Horses and Husbands 2007
St George’s Chapel 2008

The biography of Princess Andrew of Greece was authorised by the Duke of Edinburgh, and for this book he interviewed many members of the Royal Family.

He has served as Literary Executor to Sir Cecil Beaton from 1987, and also to Sir Charles Johnston from 1986.

Hugo Vickers is a frequent broadcaster, and is much in demand for royal occasions. He was an ITN studio guest for the Royal Wedding of 1981, and for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

He commentated with John Suchet at ITN for the wedding of Prince Edward (1999), for the Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday (2000) and for the Queen Mother’s funeral (2002).

He appears regularly on CNN’s Larry King Live, and has also appeared on Fox TV, NSNBC, a great number of programmes in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He was a guest of Jane Pauley (talking about the Royal Wedding) on the Today show in New York in July 1981. He has done commentaries on ceremonial and state occasions for Sky TV, and for BBC 24.

See Lectures section.

In September 2007 Hugo Vickers wrote, produced and directed his first one-man show, A Lonely Poet (a monologue in two short acts) starring Charles Duff. This was staged at Cumberland Lodge during the 2007 Windsor Festival. For its first showing, Hugo Vickers also designed the set, chose the music and set up the PowerPoint.

This was re-staged as The Immortal Dropout at Bistrotheque London, 2 & 4 June 2008, and in seven performances at Jermyn Street Theatre from 28 July to 2 August 2008.

The theatre was transformed into Stephen Tennant's bedroom at Wilsford Manor.

Stephen Tennant, once the brightest of the Bright Young Things, lived at Wilsford Manor all his life. Once a family home, filled with conversation, chatter and laughter, it is now the retreat of its lonely owner, who chooses to spend most of his time in his bedroom, mulling over his life, the people he has known, and his literary endeavours and enjoyments.

The year was about 1980, and Stephen is in his mid seventies.

Stephen Tennant was played by Charles Duff, an international actor, director, author and lecturer, who was raised in Stephen Tennant's milieu.

The Immortal Dropout is available for further production - dates and venues being now booked into September 2009, when it will be performed by Charles Duff at Plas Newydd, Anglesey.

The Windsor Festival has been the occasion for a number of performances at the Royal Chapel, at Royal Lodge, all of which were written and devised by Hugo Vickers: -

In September 2001 he wrote a Victorian Evening in which he performed with Prunella Scales, in the presence of TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex. This was the first of the ‘Desert Island Discs’ creations, in which Prunella Scales played Queen Victoria in costume, and when she asked for music it was sung for her by Lay Clerks from St George’s Chapel, under the direction of Roger Judd. This was reviewed as follows: “A performance by Prunella Scales was given a royal seal of approval on Sunday when the Earl of Wessex described it as “terrific” – Clare Brotherhood – Windsor, Slough Observer – 5 October 2001.

In September 2002 he devised an evening of poetry, prose and music, entitled The Queen Mother’s Century, which he performed with Edward Fox, again with Roger Judd and his tenors.

In September 2005, he devised a ‘Desert Island Discs’ programme in which he interviewed Robert Hardy, who played Sir Winston Churchill.

In September 2006, he devised The Queen’s Childhood, a programme of readings and music, which he introduced. The prose was read by the television and radio presenter, Tessa Dunlop, who, earlier in the summer, had presented The Royal Dig at Windsor Castle.

In September 2007, Hugo Vickers devised a further ‘Desert Island Discs’ programme in which he interviewed Bevis Hillier, playing the castaway in the form of Sir John Betjeman.

Hugo Vickers was appointed Chairman of the Jubilee Walkway Trust in October 2002. The Trust was founded in 1977 as a permanent memorial to The Queen’s Silver Jubilee and lately restored and updated for the Golden Jubilee. As such he welcomed The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to the Mall on the 50th anniversary of the Coronation in 2003, when Her Majesty unveiled the Mall panoramic panel: and again welcomed The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh when they jointly unveiled the Diamond Wedding panoramic panel in Parliament Square on 19 November 2007.

Link to Jubilee Walkway -

He has been a Lay Steward of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle since 1970, and their Deputy Vice-Captain since 1996. He serves on the Council of Management of the Windsor Festival, and the Consultative Committee of the Foundation of the College of George.

He was Golo Mann Distinguished Lecturer, Claremont McKenna College, California, USA, 2007.

Hugo Vickers is married and lives in London and in a moated manor house in Hampshire (seen in Shekhar Kapur’s 2002 film, The Four Feathers), with his wife, who is a photographer, and his three children.

(Updated October 2008)