Penny Junor
Penelope Jane Junor

(1949-10-06) 6 October 1949 (age 74)
Leatherhead, Surrey
Occupation(s)Journalist, royal biographer, author
Years active1981–present
James Leith
(m. 1970)
Children4, including Sam Leith

Penelope Jane Junor[1] (born 6 October 1949) is an English journalist and author.

Early life and education

Born in Leatherhead, Surrey, Junor was educated at Benenden School in Kent. Her father was the newspaper editor Sir John Junor and her brother Roderick (1944–2000), to whom she was very close throughout his life, was a leader writer for The Daily Telegraph and speechwriter for Margaret Thatcher. She studied history at St Andrews University, but left in her second year to get married.[2]


Junor started out on television in 1981, aged 32, presenting a programme called Collecting Now when she worked as a reporter. The following year in 1982 she presented 4 what's it worth which was an award-winning consumer programme broadcast by Channel 4 in which she worked as an investigative reporter and presenter. This programme continued until 1989. In addition she also co-presented The Afternoon Show on BBC1 with singer Barbara Dickson from 1984 to 1985.

Junor was the main presenter (1988–1997) of the Travel Show Guides on BBC2 alongside Matthew Collins (Collins named 'The Special Assignments Man' did all the travelling) and John Kettley presented the weather forecast for the holiday destination for the forthcoming week or so. The guides were brief and concise films enabling holidaymakers to learn about the resort that was highlighted before travelling there.

Junor has written several books about the British royal family; she has written biographies of Diana, Princess of Wales (1982) and Charles, Prince of Wales (1987 and 1998), and Charles and Diana: Portrait of a Marriage (1991). The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor followed in 2005. Her work on the Waleses "alienated" both of them and she reportedly considers the experience the worst of her career.[3] She has also written and had published a book titled Prince William: The Man Who Will Be King (2012). This biography of Prince William ends with his marriage to Catherine Middleton. Junor's biography of Prince Harry, Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son, was published in 2014.

Junor's other books include works on Margaret Thatcher (1983), actor Richard Burton (1986) and John Major (1993). She subsequently said in an interview that she found Major to be a failure as a British prime minister. In 2007, she co-authored Wonderful Today with Pattie Boyd, the former fashion model and former wife of English rock stars George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Junor assisted Sir Cliff Richard in writing the number one best selling My Life, My Way (2008) which sold over 250,000 copies and Shaun Ellis with his book The Man Who Lives with Wolves (2009). Her father, John Junor, was the subject of her memoir Home Truths: Life Around My Father (2002), "an unflattering account".[4][5]

Junor has worked for the Evening Standard and a column for Private Eye lasted five years.[2]

Personal life

Junor married ex-restaurateur James Leith (the brother of Prue) in 1970. She has four children with her husband; their eldest son is the journalist Sam Leith.



  1. ^ "Ms Penny Junor Authorised Biography". Debrett's People of Today. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b Natalie Graham "Fame & Fortune: Royal biographer lived the real Good Life", The Times, 5 June 2005
  3. ^ Emma Daly "Media families; 8. The Junors", The Independent, 7 April 1997
  4. ^ "Journey around the real John Junor". The Herald. 8 July 2002. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  5. ^ Kemp, Arnold (14 July 2002). "The lion and the rat". The Observer. Retrieved 20 January 2017.