Antonia Fraser

(* 1932)

Antonia FraserBiographical Sketch

Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser CH DBE FRSL (née Pakenham; born London, England, August 27, 1932) is a British author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction. She is the widow of the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature, Harold Pinter (1930–2008), and prior to his death was also known as Lady Antonia Pinter.

Read more about Antonia Fraser on Wikipedia.


Major Awards and Honors

Order of the British Empire
  • 1999: Commander
  • 2011: Dame Commander
Order of the Companions of Honour (British Commonwealth)
  • 2018: Member
James Tait Black Memorial Prize (Scotland)
  • 1969: Biography – “Mary, Queen of Scots”
Historical Association (UK)
  • 2000: Norton Medlicott Medal
Wolfson Foundation (UK)
  • 1984: Wolfson History Prize – “The Weaker Vessel”
Crime Writers’ Association (UK)
  • 1996: Gold Dagger – Nonfiction
Saint Louis University Library Associates (Missouri, U.S.A.)
  • 1996: St. Louis Literary Award
Franco-British Society
  • 2001: Enid McLeod Literary Prize



Jemima Shore Mysteries
  • Quiet as a Nun (1977)
  • The Wild Island (1978).
    A/K/A Tartan Tragedy
  • A Splash of Red (1981)
  • Cool Repentance (1982)
  • Oxford Blood (1985)
  • Jemima Shore’s First Case (1986)
  • Your Royal Hostage (1987)
  • The Cavalier Case (1990)
  • Jemima Shore at the Sunny Grave (1991)
  • Political Death (1995)
Historical Fiction
  • King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (1954)
  • Robin Hood (1955)
Biographies, History, Memoirs, and Other Nonfiction
  • Mary Queen of Scots (1969)
  • A History of Toys (1966)
  • Cromwell, Our Chief of Men (1973)
    A/K/A Cromwell: The Lord Protector
  • King James VI and I (1974)
  • The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England (1975)
    – Editor.
  • King Charles II (1979)
    A/K/A Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration; Charles II
  • Heroes and Heroines (1980)
  • The Weaker Vessel: Woman’s Lot in Seventeenth-Century England (1984)
  • The Warrior Queens: Boadicea’s Chariot (1988)
    A/K/A Warrior Queens: The Legends and Lives of Women Who have led Their Nations in War
  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1996)
  • The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605 (1996)
    A/K/A Faith and Treason: The Gunpowder Plot
  • Marie Antoinette (2001)
    A/K/A Marie Antoinette: The Journey, (2002)
  • The Battle of the Boyne (2005)
  • Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King (2006)
  • Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter (2010)
  • Perilous Question: The Drama of the Great Reform Bill 1832 (2013)
  • My History: A Memoir of Growing Up (2015)
  • Our Israeli Diary (2016)
  • The King and the Catholics: The Fight for Rights, 1829 (2018)
  • Scottish Love Poems (1975)
    – Editor.
  • Love Letters (1976)
    – Editor.
  • The Pleasure of Reading (1992)
    – Editor.
  • A Red Rose or A Satin Heart (2010)
    – Editor.


A Selection of Quotes

The Weaker Vessel

“It was a fact generally acknowledged by all but the most contumacious spirits at the beginning of the seventeenth century that woman was the weaker vessel; weaker than man, that is. … That was the way God had arranged Creation, sanctified in the words of the Apostle. … Under the common law of England at the accession of King James I, no female had any rights at all (if some were allowed by custom). As an unmarried woman her rights were swallowed up in her father’s, and she was his to dispose of in marriage at will. Once she was married her property became absolutely that of her husband. What of those who did not marry? Common law met that problem blandly by not recognizing it. In the words of The Lawes Resolutions [the leading 17th century compendium on women’s legal status]: ‘All of them are understood either married or to be married.’ In 1603 England, in short, still lived in a world governed by feudal law, where a wife passed from the guardianship of her father to her husband; her husband also stood in relation to her as a feudal lord.”

The Gunpowder Plot

“Terrorism: ‘the weapon of the weak, pretending to be strong.”

Marie Antoinette: The Journey

“A frequent charge made against “Antoinette” was that she was bathed in the blood of the French people; the truth of it was, of course, exactly the other way round.”

My History: A Memoir of Growing Up

“It is a fact that, being a quick reader, apart from enabling a person to study good books such as Macaulay and Gibbon, enables a person to read a lot of bad books as well.”

Unsourced / -attributed

“As long as you persecute people, you will actually throw up terrorism.”

Find more quotes by Antonia Fraser on Goodreads.