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Channon and his wife, Honor Guinness, from whose family he gained a seat in parliament. Photo:Trustees of the literary estate of Henry ‘Chips’ Channon

Chips Channon’s diaries—snobbish but irresistible

Chips Channon wrote witheringly about everyone—except Hitler. But his diaries still make for strangely addictive reading

By Chris Mullin   May 2021

About 10 years ago, not long after my first volume of diaries saw the light of day, I received an invitation to lunch with Henry Channon, grandson of the late Henry “Chips” Channon, at the family estate in Essex. He was considering publishing an unexpurgated version of his grandfather’s famous diaries—a heavily redacted version which came out in 1967 had caused a sensation—and wanted my advice. There was disagreement in the family over the wisdom of making the full version public. Henry was in favour. His sister, Georgia, was not.

That disagreement seems to have been resolved. “Chips” died in 1958, and just about everyone who features in his diaries is long dead and buried. (The Queen Mother was among the last to go in 2002; even his son Paul, who was in the Thatcher Cabinet, died in 2007). Henry asked who I would suggest as an editor.…

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