Antonia Fraser (1932)

Lady Antonia Fraser (Female)

Nationality: British


Born: 27 August 1932   Confidence Level  

Lady Antonia Fraser is a British writer of history books, novels, biographies and detective fiction. She was the daughter of the seventh Earl of Longford, Francis Pakenham (born 1905) and of Countess of Longford, Elizabeth Pakenham (born 1906). She received her BA in 1953 from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She converted to Catholicism in her teens, after her parents' conversion.

She married Sir Hugh Fraser, a Conservative MP, when she was 23. They had three sons and three daughters. Their marriage was dissolved in 1977. She married Harold Pinter in 1980, and they lived together until his death in 2008.

Her first (and only, she would later state) job was in George Weidenfeld's publishing house as a general assistant. She published her first major work - Mary, Queen of Scots - in 1969, which won the J. T. Black Prize for biography. Other biographies she went on to write include Cromwell, Our Chief of Men (1973), King Charles II (1979), and Marie Antoinette 2001). Her other historical non-fiction books include The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in Seventeenth-century England (1984), Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King (2006) and The King and the Catholics: The Fight for Rights, 1829 (2018). She was also the author of Jemima Shore series of ten detective fiction novels, between 1977 and 1995.

She has published two works which detail aspects of her life with Harold Pinter: Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter (London: Orion, 2010) and Our Israeli Diary: Of That Time, Of That Place (London: OneWorld, 2017).

Training and Education

Undergraduate degree

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford   (Training & Education | Est. Unknown)

Other Names

Antonia Pakenham (Birth name)


No productions have been added to this person record yet.

Appears In

Apart from That (2006)
Gene (Age: Not specified, Male)


Linked People

Harold Pinter (1930 - 2008)

Relationship: Spouse

Antonia Fraser met Harold Pinter in 1969, but it was after meeting at a production of The Birthday Party in January 1975 when their relationship began. They moved into her Holland Park home together in 1977 and married in 1980.

Linked Awards

James Tait Black Memorial Prize


Awarded the biography prize for Mary, Queen of Scots.

Wolfson History Prize


Awarded for her book The Weaker Vessel, a study of women's lives in 17th century England.

Crime Writers' Association Macallan Gold Dagger Award


Awarded for The Gunpowder Plot.

St. Louis Literary Award


Awarded each year to 'a distinguished figure in literature'.

Historical Association Norton Medlicott Medal


Enid McLeod Literary Prize


Awarded for Marie Antoinette.


Lady Antonia Fraser: Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter (Video)

Type: Interview

External Link:

YouTube video of Lady Antonia being interviewed by Victoria Lautman about her relationship with Harold Pinter, and reading extracts from her book Must you Go?


Antonia Fraser's selected diary entries concerning her life with Harold Pinter

Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter (London: Orion, 2010)

Published diary

Mel Gussow's biographical article on Antonia Fraser

'Antonia Fraser: The Lady Is a Writer', Mell Gussow, New York Times Magazine (September 9, 1984)


Michael Billington's biography of Harold Pinter

Michael Billington, Harold Pinter, 2nd edn (London: Faber and Faber, 2007).