Anne Somerset read history at King’s College London, graduating in 1976. In 1980, her first book, The Life and Times of William IV was published in Weidenfeld & Nicolson’s Kings and Queens of England series. This was followed in 1984 by Ladies-in-Waiting: From the Tudors to the Present Day, which examined the role of women at the English royal court over four centuries. In 1991 Anne Somerset’s biography of Elizabeth I was received with acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, being described in the TLS as ‘the fullest and best biography of the Queen since Sir John Neale’s in 1934. Her next book, Unnatural Murder: Poison at the Court of James I – an account of the sensational scandal arising from the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in 1613 – was shortlisted in 1997 for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger award for non-fiction. The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV was another well received study of seventeenth century criminality and court scandal. Anne Somerset’s most recent work is a biography of England’s last Stuart monarch, entitled Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion. This was awarded the 2013 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography.
Until his death in 2011, Anne Somerset was married to the artist Matthew Carr. She lives in London with her daughter.
Anne Somerset has spoken or been interviewed at numerous literary events, including the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival, the Cheltenham Literary Festival, Dartington Hall Literary Festival, the Althorp Literary Festival, Chalke Valley History Festival, Blenheim Palace Literary Festival, the Theatre Royal Bath, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, and Oxford University Historical Association.
Anne Somerset’s recently completed book on Queen Victoria’s Political Life is scheduled for publication by William Collins in the spring of 2024.