My academic background, school and university, was the world of Latin and Ancient Greek, classical civilisation. I studied at Oxford and won a first class undergraduate degree. After that I took a job in the financial world. That was a learning curve and miles out of my comfort zone. It paid the bills and stretched my mind.
I lived in Tokyo, then in Madrid and Vienna, alternating with spells in London. By living locally I honed my Spanish and German, although I picked up little Japanese. As the grandson of a Frenchwoman I am also happy in French.
When I came back to London full-time - I live there now - my thoughts returned to the lessons of history. The perpetual now of the markets lost its glitter.
My interest in early modern Europe came from books. At the outset, from the four volume biography by Winston Churchill of his ancestor the first Duke of Marlborough. I read it first in my early twenties and again in my forties, both times wishing it would never end. There are more exacting historians but who can match Churchill's insight, enthusiasm and prose?
Always I have liked 'being there.' Visiting historic places, museums, battlefields. Seeing what is left helps you imagine what it was. Another experience, in the early 1990s - I still think about it - was finding the exquisite Liria Palace in downtown Madrid and realising that its Spanish owner, with her Stuart name, descended from the Stuart kings. History makes unexpected connections.
When I stopped working in finance I was free to concentrate on two interests: the past and the creative world. The first has led to my writing two books: Henrietta Maria and The King's Only Champion. As for the second, the practice of drawing and painting is always in my life. So I put some sketches in this site.
For a third book I am researching the French court of the seventeenth century. There are many superb studies for the reading public on the Tudors and on England of the early modern period, but little on continental Europe, even on Scotland and Ireland. I like the links between nations. I also like personal experience, that is to say biography.
Why do things happen? History is our reality. It tell us about unreason. After all what results from the best laid plans? Plans work sometimes. Usually they hit a brick wall or a marshy field or ambush. History is the study of disruption.