Anthony Holden, the first biographer of King Charles, dies aged 76

Writer Anthony Holden, the first biographer of King Charles and the author of more than 40 books, dies aged 76

  •  Award-winning journalist wrote over 40 books, biographies and translations

Writer Anthony Holden, who was the first biographer of the then Prince Charles, has died aged 76.

Holden was a brilliant journalist, whose articles on the Royal Family appeared in the Mail, and the author of more than 40 books.

Among his works were biographies of Laurence Olivier, Tchaikovsky and Shakespeare. 

He also published translations of opera, ancient Greek plays and poetry as well as several books about poker. These included bestseller Big Deal, which was about his year spent as a professional poker player.

Holden was the grandson of the Olympic gold medallist and former England footballer Ivan Sharpe. He married twice and had three sons with his first wife Amanda.

Writer and journalist Anthony Holden, the first biographer of the King, then Prince Charles, has died aged 76

He died on October 7 from brain cancer and stroke complications. Holden was married twice, and had two sons and three grandchildren. 

A keen poker enthusiast, he spent one year living the life of a professional player before publishing a book on it, Big Deal: A Year as a Professional Poker Player in 1990.

Born in Southport on May 22 1947, Holden started his journalistic career at the Hemel Hempstead Evening Post Echo.

He studied English language and literature at Merton College, Oxford and featured on University Challenge. 

He later went on to be US editor for the Observer and assistant editor at the Times, and won several press awards.

His biography of the King, then the Prince of Wales was the first to draw attention to the unique aspects of the Charles’s upbringing, as the first heir to attend school and gain a degree.

Holden’s biographies of the King were the first to draw attention to the unique aspects of his upbringing for a royal heir, including him being the first one to attend school and get a degree

In his 1988 work ‘Charles’, he commented that Princess Diana could not help upstaging her husband, and noted that their marriage was at a stage of ‘cold indifference’.

His later books focused on important cultural figures including composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and William Shakespeare.

In 2003 he notably threatened to resign from the judging panel of the Whitbread awards if Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban won that year’s award, and was quoted as saying it would have been a ‘national humiliation’ had J.K. Rowling’s novel scooped the prize.

Holden shared his birthday with his brother, Robin, who was five years his elder.

He was a lifelong supporter of Arsenal and Lancashire County Cricket Club.

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