John Betjeman was by far the most popular poet of the twentieth century. His collected poems sold over two million copies. Television audiences loved his quirky evocations of landscape and architecture. As Poet Laureate, he became a national icon, but behind the public man were doubts and demons. For much of his fifty year marriage to Penelope Chetwode, the daughter of a Field Marshal, Betjeman had a relationship with Elizabeth Cavendish, the daughter of the Duke of Devonshire and Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret. Betjeman, a devout Anglican, was tormented by guilt about the storms this emotional triangle caused.This book is the first to use fully the vast archive of personal material relating to Betjeman's private life, including literally hundreds of letters written by his wife about their life together and apart. It is a celebration of a much-loved poet, a brave campaigner for architecture at risk, and a highly popular public performer.
A. N. Wilson was born in 1950 and educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he has held a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism. He is an award-winning biographer and a celebrated novelist, winning prizes for much of his work. He lives in North London.