Frank Giles

From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Person.png Frank Giles  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Born31 July 1919
Died30 October 2019 (Age 100)
Alma materBrasenose College (Oxford)
Parents • Frank Lucas Netlam Giles
• Elgiva Mary Ackland-Allen
Member ofKönigswinter/Speakers
UK editor who attended the 1974 Bilderberg as Sunday Times Deputy editor. Pushed out by Rupert Murdoch.

Frank Thomas Robertson Giles[1] was an English journalist, historian and diplomat, who was editor of the British Sunday Times newspaper[2] from 1981 to 1983, having served as its foreign editor (1961–1977) and then deputy editor (1967–1981) under his predecessor Harold Evans. He stood down in the wake of the Hitler Diaries scandal.[3]


Giles was the only son of Colonel Frank Lucas Netlam Giles (1879–1930), DSO (1915), OBE (1923), and Elgiva Mary Ackland-Allen (1890–1970). In 1946, he married Lady Katherine Pamela Sackville ('Kitty'), only daughter of the 9th Earl De La Warr; they had three children, the youngest of whom, Belinda, is married to television broadcaster David Dimbleby.[4]

Early Career

Giles was named ADC to Major General Sir Denis Bernard when he was appointed Governor of Bermuda in 1939.[5]

In 1940, the young Bermuda Government House ADC Giles encountered the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during their brief visit on their way to the Bahamas. Giles described his impressions at the time most lucidly in his memoirs.[6] He thought the duchess, aka Wallis Simpson: 'a very clever woman, … She is not intrinsically beautiful or handsome but she has a good complexion, regular features and a beautiful figure....More than all the charm of her physical appearance, though, is her manner: she has, to an infinite degree, that really great gift of making you feel that you are the very person whom she has been waiting all her life to meet... With old and young and clever and stupid alike she exercises this charm and during the week she was here, during which she met a number of people, I never saw anyone who could resist the spell — they were all delighted and intrigued… She is never anything but stately, and when she had to wave to the crowds on her arrival, and subsequently whenever we drove through [Hamilton], she did it with ease and charm and grace which suggested that she had been at it all her life.” On returning from Hamilton with a pair of swimming trunks the former king told the ADC: It’s I who wear the shorts in this family, you know.

After leaving Bermuda in 1942, Mr. Giles served in Britain’s War Office for the duration of the Second War World.


In 1946, he joined the Times as a subeditor. He was soon writing leader columns and a year later was appointed as assistant correspondent in Paris. A two-year stint in Rome followed before he returned in 1953 to Paris as the paper’s main correspondent.[7]

In 1960, he was encouraged by Ian Fleming, the James Bond author and spy who was working part-time as a consultant at the Sunday Times, to try for the post of foreign editor.

In his review (New York Times, 17 January 1993) of Rupert Murdoch, Murdoch by William Shawcross (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993) Andrew Sullivan wrote: 'THE best story in this sprightly, undemanding biography of the media entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch is apocryphal. When Mr. Murdoch fired Frank Giles as editor of The Sunday Times of London in 1983, he proposed that Mr. Giles assume the title "editor emeritus" for the two years remaining before his retirement. Mr. Giles asked what on earth "editor emeritus" meant. "It's Latin, Frank," Mr. Murdoch reportedly replied. " E means 'exit' and meritus means 'you deserve it.'"

Giles published a memoir in 1986, Sundry Times. In his retirement, he lived in London. He turned 100 in July 2019[8] and died on 30 October that year.

He was a member of the Society of Dilettanti, Brooks's Club, and Beefsteak Clubs and a member of the St James's Club. In 2009, his 'Hobbies and other interests' were listed as 'Wine (especially claret and burgundy), opera, watercolor painting, visiting his holiday home in northern Corfu, Greece'.[9]


  • Frank Giles: Sundry Times. London, John Murray, 1986. ISBN 0-7195-4289-8.[10]
  • Frank Giles: A prince of journalists, the life and times of Henri Stefan Opper de Blowitz. Lasalle, Open Court, 1974. ISBN 0-912050-51-9 (1st ed.: London, Faber and Faber, 1962).
  • Frank Giles: Napoleon Bonaparte: England's Prisoner (ISBN 1841195995), Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2001.
  • (Editor) Corfu: The Garden Isle, presented by Count Spiro Flamburiari, photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg and Christopher Simon Sykes, John Murray (London) and Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1994.
  • Frank Giles: The Locust Years: The Story of the Fourth French Republic, 1946–1958, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1991, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1994.[11]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/197419 April 197421 April 1974France
Hotel Mont d' Arbois
The 23rd Bilderberg, held in France


  3. The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch, Broadway Books, by Michael Wolff, 2008.
  4. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 1, 2003, p. 1076
  6. Bernews,'The Duke Of Windsor's 1940 Bermuda Detour', 31 May 2013, from Giles' 1986 memoirs.
  8. POLITICO London Playbook: The last leg — Lambs to the slaughter — No deal? No sex life
  9. (Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Gale, 2009)
  10. Reviewed in Times Literary Supplement, 19 September 1986.
  11. Giles also told Contemporary Authors: "The favorite among my books is The Locust Years: The Story of the Fourth French Republic, 1946–1958, because a) it is a work of original research and expertise—the result of years of close observation of the French political and social scene; b) it got mostly glowing reviews; and c) it is judged to be eminently readable."