Peregrine Worsthorne

Peregrine Worsthorne was a journalist, author and broadcaster. He was editor of the Sunday Telegraph from 1986 to 1989. He famously wrote of his sacking in The Spectator: over lunch at Claridge’s with Andrew Knight, while eating his favourite dish of poached eggs.

Encounters with eight presidents

Peregrine Worsthorne, the hugely distinguished British journalist, has died aged 96. He was a wonderful man and a brilliant columnist, who once described his job as ‘the articulation of an intelligent, well thought out, coherent set of prejudices’. He also worked as Washington correspondent for The Times and The Daily Telegraph. In 2014, he wrote

All human life is here except politics

Unfortunately for this volume commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Daily Telegraph, most people today are keener to read about the paper’s somewhat scandalous recent experiences and mysteriously uncertain future — about which it has nothing to say — than about its long and worthy past. So the timing of this chatty and jolly tome

Are explicit sex scenes OK?

Yes! Philip Hensher In April, I published a novel, King of the Badgers, about a series of events in a small town in Devon called Hanmouth. It is, in a way, about private and public lives, and the surprising and sometimes deplorable events that happen between people when their front doors are closed. It got

Cleared on all counts

Since the main purpose on earth of the Conservative party was, and still should be, to keep Britain’s ancient and well-proven social and political hierarchy in power — give or take a few necessary upward mobility adjustments — Harold Macmillan must rank very high in the scale of successful Conservative prime ministers; just below Benjamin

Putting the Boot in

So much was written about Bill Deedes at the time of his death — not to mention his own two autobiographies and the mass of other doting media coverage in recent years — that readers might be forgiven for thinking that this intelligently probing and well-written authorised biography would have little fresh to say. Truth

Conservative iconoclasts required

Having been a monarchist all my life, it was a bit embarrassing the other day to have to admit to a television interviewer that I could not remember the reasons why I had become one in the first place. In truth, of course — as I explained — I became a monarchist as a matter

Blindfolds and mindmists

Without the existence of ‘apparently [my italics] sophisticated circles’, which the great historian and poet Robert Conquest also calls ‘an intellectually semi-educated class’ (soon abbreviated into just ‘cerebral jellies’) his latest book would never have been written. For its express purpose, he avers, is to tease ‘these misinformed strata’ — yet another description — into

The race of the thoroughbreds

I read every page, every line of this very long book with sustained interest and pleasure. It is a collective biography of four Grenadier Guards officers — Harold Macmillan, Lord Salisbury, Oliver Lyttelton and Harry Crookshank — who, after becoming friends at Eton, and serving together gallantly and bloodily in the trenches of the first

Family values under the hammer

In the course of John Campbell’s superb second volume of his Margaret Thatcher biography, he poses the question of what Alderman Roberts would have thought of the new Thatcherite Britain which his daughter did so much to create. It is a question which, to the best of my knowledge, has never been asked before. But

Kennedy’s finest hour

Forty years ago the Americans won what I hope will be the nearest thing to nuclear war between superpowers – of which only one is left – ever fought; and the fact that they won it without firing a shot should not diminish but rather increase the extent of the victory. What I am referring

Too much and too late

By the criteria of the day before yesterday, the late William Whitelaw, a much loved Tory politician who served as Mrs Thatcher’s deputy leader, must have seemed a good circulation bet for a successful biography. Most people, after all, would have heard of him, if only because of Mrs Thatcher’s memorable remark that ‘every prime


This being the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, I feel that prudence requires anyone writing a Diary in The Spectator – which has become the principal launching-pad for Mark Steyn’s state-of-the-art verbal missiles – to use the main part of his diary to commemorate this event. So let me start