Sir Anthony Seldon MA, PhD, FRSA, MBA, FRHisS

Anthony Seldon is a leading authority on contemporary British history and education and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. He was formerly Master of Wellington College, one of the world's most famous independent schools. He is author or editor of over 40 books on contemporary history, politics and education and is the author on, and honorary historical advisor to, Downing Street.

After gaining an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Worcester College, Oxford, and a PhD at the London School of Economics, he qualified as a teacher at King's College, London, where he was awarded the top PGCE prize in his year.

In 1993, he was appointed Deputy Headmaster and, ultimately, Acting Headmaster of St Dunstan's College in South London. He then became Headmaster of Brighton College from September 1997 until he joined Wellington College in January 2006 as 13th Master. He left Wellington College in summer 2015 to become Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, the only independent university in the UK with a Royal Charter.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and King's College London. He was knighted in the Queen's 2014 Birthday Honours list for services to education and modern political history. He founded the Sunday Times (now Telegraph) Festival of Education and most recently the Festival of Higher Education, and is widely known for introducing and promoting happiness, wellbeing and mindfulness across education.

Portrait by Caroline Ayles

Portrait by Caroline Ayles

He founded, with Professor Lord Peter Hennessy, the Institute of Contemporary British History, the internationally renowned body whose aim is to promote research into, and the study of, British history since 1945.

He founded Action for Happiness with Professor Lord Richard Layard and Geoff Mulgan. He is governor of several bodies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is Chair of The Comment Awards.

Some of Anthony Seldon's books include:

Churchill's Indian Summer, which won a Best First Work Prize; Major, A Political Life, the authorised biography of the former Prime Minister; Conservative Century, the standard academic history of the Conservative Party; The Powers Behind the Prime Minister, co-written with Professor Dennis Kavanagh; Number 10: The Illustrated History, which he is currently updating for publication in 2016; The Foreign Office: A History of the Place and its PeopleBlair and Blair Unbound, his acclaimed two-part biography of the former Prime Minister; three volumes of edited books on the Blair governments; Trust: How We Lost it and How to Get it BackBrown at 10, with Guy Lodge; The Great War and Public Schools, with David Walsh; and The Architecture of Diplomacy: The British Ambassador's Residence in Washington, written with Daniel Collings. In March 2015 his new books, Beyond Happiness and The Coalition Effect 2010-2015, co-authored with Dr Mike Finn, were published. His latest political history, the authorised study Cameron at 10 with Peter Snowdon, was published in September 2015. The book is the inside story of the Cameron premiership, based on over 400 in-depth interviews with senior figures in 10 Downing Street, including the Prime Minister himself. He has also been historical consultant on the memoirs of several former Prime Ministers and Foreign Secretaries.

Sir Anthony is regarded as one of the country's most authoritative high profile commentators on contemporary history and on education and appears regularly on television and radio and in the press, and writes for several national newspapers. His views have regularly been sought by the government and political parties.

He is married to Joanna, who also teaches and writes, and they have three children, Jessica, Susannah and Adam. According to 'Who's Who, his interests are sport, directing plays, family and old English sports cars.


I had never heard of Happy by Pharrell Williams when Wellington students asked me to sing the version below which they screened before my final speech day at Wellington in May 2015. For the last few years they had asked me to be involved e.g. in physical theatre and a James Bond video. I agreed of course: speech day was the highlight of the year. Student presented and the antidote to traditional school speech days, with 5,000 present listening to a riot of song, dance and fun. A celebration of school life for three hours.

I haven't sung since I was at school, let alone falsetto, though I was happier standing on my head, which I do every morning with yoga ...