TV historian David Starkey today reveals the heartbreak of the night he found his long-term partner dead at their home.
In a moving interview with Event magazine, Starkey says the untimely death in 2015 of publisher James Brown, his companion for 20 years, was ‘a profound rupture, something horrible and dreadful’.
Starkey says: ‘I knew he’d become an alcoholic but I had no idea how far it had gone.
Tragic loss: David Starkey celebrates receiving the CBE with long term partner James Brown in 2007
‘That evening I found James dead, sitting on the sofa. He looked as though he’d just gone to sleep in the snug, which was our favourite little sitting room.
‘I didn’t go in that room for another week until I finally thought, now, either I confront this or we’ll do a Miss Havisham and I didn’t want to do that. So, I confronted it.’
He took comfort from the ceremony of the funeral at Rochester Cathedral, where James, 43, was once a choirboy and says: ‘One thing I suppose, as a historian, you should be used to is the idea of death. You spend the whole of your time communing with death.’
Starkey, 73, is working on a new exhibition of Tudor art at Hever Castle, Kent.
Historian David Starkey, 73, is working on a new exhibition of Tudor art at Hever Castle, Kent
In the interview, the famously acidic commentator hits his stride when asked about the Monarchy’s role with Brexit.
‘It has played no part at all in the whole business of Brexit,’ he says. ‘At the time of Munich , George VI and Queen Elizabeth received Chamberlain on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, they put the weight of the Monarchy behind peace.’
Asked what the Queen could actually do, he replies: ‘That’s what everybody now says, but that’s the result of 60 years of Elizabeth II, which have very much diminished the Monarchy.
‘What is there under the flummery? That’s the frightening question Charles will be asking.’