Sarah Bradford

A true Renaissance man

Lorenzo de’ Medici was proverbially ugly. Machiavelli, describing an encounter with a particularly hideous prostitute, compared her looks to his. He was tall, well-made and physically imposing but contemporaries dubbed his features ‘homely’, his face was bony and irregular with a long crooked nose, a jutting pugilistic jaw and dark piercing eyes. In compensation, ‘his

She has succeeded by being herself

Sarah Bradford, the Queen’s acclaimed biographer, hails her 80th birthday, reflects on an astonishing life — and looks forward to Her Majesty’s ninth decade The Queen will be 80 on 21 April, an appropriate time to reflect on the changes which have taken place during her 54-year reign. She was born in the difficult aftermath

A heart of gold — and steel

By the morning of Tuesday 9 April 2002 some 200,000 people of all ages had filed past the lying in state of the coffin containing the mortal remains of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. By the time she died, aged 101, Queen Elizabeth was a figure as familiar in the national consciousness as Winston Churchill.

A typically Tuscan joke

There is something irresistible about forgers, cocking a snook as they do at their target establishments — in this case the formidable intellectual and historical talents of Baroque (hardly Renaissance as the title claims) Rome, a circle which included the towering figure of the polymath Athanasius Kircher. What makes this case even more piquant is

The house that Jack and Jackie built

Within just a week of the tragic assassination in Dallas, the widowed Jackie Kennedy summoned the presidential chronicler Theodore H. White to a midnight conference at the family compound on the stormy Cape Cod shore. For four hours her whispery voice mesmerised him as she set out her vision of the Kennedy White House as

The everlasting power and glory of the shared table

From Apicius to the Ivy: Roy Strong, the possessor of 800 cookbooks, has written a fascinating and scholarly study of social eating from Greece to the 21st century, a single-volume synthesis of the most significant work published in various countries and various languages over the last two decades, polished with style, bibliographical knowledge and an