Dr Ed Owens
Historian, royal commentator and author
I am a historian of the modern British monarchy and an expert on the House of Windsor. I am the author of The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-1953. I commentate for the media on past and current royal events. Formerly a university lecturer in England, I now split my time between the UK and France where I continue to teach, research and write the history of the monarchy.
I am an Honorary Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy at Royal Holloway, University of London. I am also a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society (RHS) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
My other academic interests include the histories of mass media, empire, national identity, emotion and celebrity culture.
Historical documentaries that I have appeared in have been screened on Netflix and various other streaming services.
You can watch my showreels here.
My radio credits include BBC Radio 4, 5 Live, BBC Wales, LBC and Talk Radio.
I have also contributed many interviews to local radio including to KTRS, BBC Three Counties and BBC Radio Manchester.
You can read my most recent articles in my Royal blog.
My research on the royal family has also been widely disseminated online and in print around the world, including by the New York Times, the Associated Press, RND, the Independent, and Oprah Magazine.
“The book [is] beautifully written and packed full of quotable phrases. It is encouraging to see that the subject of the modern monarchy is attracting as talented an early-career scholar as Owens.”Prof. Philip Murphy, Contemporary British History 2021
“This book is valuable for understandings of the twentieth-century British monarchy… Owens’s research is impressively resourceful and wide, and his interpretation is appropriately rich.”Prof. Philip Williamson, English Historical Review, 2021.
“The royal family, famous for its inscrutability, has more than met its match in this resourceful young historian.“Prof. Arianne Chernock, Reviews in History 2020
“A vibrant and welcome study of the monarchy’s early interaction with the mass media… an important insight into how British royalty has been adept at making itself a powerful, popular, and frequently uncontested presence.”Dr Christopher Shoop-Worrall, Twentieth-Century British History, 2020.
“Owens’s account of the way the British royal family recast its image in the first half of the twentieth century adds a great deal of detail and context to a narrative that continues to resonate in the twenty-first century. In some ways, it feels like a prequel to the Netflix fiction series The Crown… with its later chapters on the Queen’s marriage and coronation providing a meticulous examination of the challenges confronting the monarchy in the post-war period.”Dr Kelly Boyd, Cultural and Social History, 2021.
- Forget the family reunion: this jubilee is about keeping the monarchy going￼Until now, the overwhelming focus of the media coverage of the queen’s Platinum jubilee has been the human drama of an aged monarch trying to bring her family back together in order to put on a united front one last time. British tabloidsContinue reading “Forget the family reunion: this jubilee is about keeping the monarchy going￼”
- Expect to see more of Prince Charles. This is a slow-motion abdicationAs first published by The Guardian in May 2022 This moment was always going to come. Due to her failing health, Queen Elizabeth II was not present at yesterday’s state opening of parliament – arguably her mostContinue reading “Expect to see more of Prince Charles. This is a slow-motion abdication”
- Why Elizabeth II’s message on the 70th anniversary of her accession mattersElizabeth II’s message to her people, published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of her accession, is remarkable for a number of reasons. First of all, it bears all of the hallmarks of the royal public language carefully craftedContinue reading “Why Elizabeth II’s message on the 70th anniversary of her accession matters”
- William, Harry and the myth of Princess DianaThe unveiling of the Diana statue was the most recent ceremonial act in the mythologization of the Princess of Wales. Her sons, Princes William and Harry, are the ‘high priests’ who have given power to her mythContinue reading “William, Harry and the myth of Princess Diana”
- About this blogBelow you will find my most recent writings on the British royal family, as well as some of the articles I’ve written about the House of Windsor over the last couple of years. I amContinue reading “About this blog”
- What next for the monarchy?A lot of overheated media commentary at the time of Prince Philip’s death insisted that his passing marked the end of an era. Certainly, he was the last British royal to have meaningful connections to aContinue reading “What next for the monarchy?”
- A royal love story that might never have happenedAs first published by Talking Humanities in April 2021. Prince Philip, who was one of the most popular and long-serving members of the House of Windsor, has died aged 99. Dr Ed Owens, historian, royalContinue reading “A royal love story that might never have happened”
- Another annus horribilis? ‘The Family Firm’ one year on…As first published by Talking Humanities in November 2020. In a speech marking the 40th year since her accession to the throne, Elizabeth II described 1992 as her annus horribilis. In the 12 months prior to this,Continue reading “Another annus horribilis? ‘The Family Firm’ one year on…”
- In profile: Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth IIAs first published by History Extra in October 2020. The only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne has often been a stalwart face of duty and (relative) normality throughout many of the royal family’sContinue reading “In profile: Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II”
- The monarchy and the next Great DepressionAs first published by History Matters in June 2020. It has been an oft-quoted refrain since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Europe: along with much of the rest of the world, Britain and the continentContinue reading “The monarchy and the next Great Depression”
- The monarchy, mythmaking and VE DayAs first published by On History in May 2020. On the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Ed Owens — author of The Family Firm. Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-53 — reflects on the royalContinue reading “The monarchy, mythmaking and VE Day”
- The family firm falters part 3As first published by Talking Humanities in April 2020. The coronavirus presents the British monarchy with a set of unique short-term and long-term challenges. In this third and final article, written in connection with theContinue reading “The family firm falters part 3”
- The family firm falters part 2As first published by Talking Humanities in February 2020. As the royal commentariat pore over the minutiae of the statement released by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex concerning their transatlantic future, the bigger question now isContinue reading “The family firm falters part 2”
- The family firm falters part 1As first published by Talking Humanities in February 2020. History is not repeating itself. Harry and Meghan are not Edward and Wallis. Prince Andrew’s transgressions are unlike those committed by other members of the royalContinue reading “The family firm falters part 1”
- The family firm fights backAs first published by Talking Humanities in October 2019. Dr Edward Owens, author of ‘The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and British Public, 1932-53’, reflects on the current relationship between the British royal family andContinue reading “The family firm fights back”
- Modernising royal weddings: a historical perspectiveAs first published by OUPblog in May 2018. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding demonstrated on a spectacular scale that there is an enduring interest among sections of the press and public in royal loveContinue reading “Modernising royal weddings: a historical perspective”
- Buckingham Palace’s balcony: a focal point for national celebrationAs first published by History Extra in June 2016. From George V’s appearance on the eve of the First World War to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s post-wedding kiss in 2011, the Buckingham Palace balconyContinue reading “Buckingham Palace’s balcony: a focal point for national celebration”
Get in touch
If you are looking for someone to interview about current or past royal events then please get in touch.
I am also here to help if you are looking for expert consultancy to guide your project on the history of the British monarchy.
I look forward to hearing from you.