On 14th February we celebrate Valentine’s Day and all things romantic. Many Who’s Who biographees have made a living out of romance in one way or another, from Richard Curtis, writer and director of some of Britain’s best-loved romantic comedies such as Love Actually and Bridget Jones’s Diary, to Jilly Cooper, author of Riders and winner of the 2018 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award. Elsewhere in literature, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, was the editor of the 1992 poetry anthology I Wouldn’t Thank You for a Valentine. Did you know that Great British Bake Off presenter Sandi Toksvig is also a published author of four novels including Valentine Grey?
Dame Judi Dench once directed an open-air production of the most famous depiction of a doomed love affair, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in London’s Regent’s Park. Biographees who have portrayed the ‘star-crossed lovers’ in film and theatre include Damian Lewis, Lesley Manville and Sally Hawkins.
Famous couples who both have an entry in Who’s Who include Bill and Hillary Clinton, TV presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, and writers Jeanette Winterson and Susie Orbach. Romantic surnames can be found amongst Who’s Who biographees, including Baroness Valentine and Prof. Philip Love, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool.
Who’s Who entrants listing love and romance amongst their recreations include Creative Director at Firecracker Films, Emma Morgan, who enjoys ‘kitchen discos with husband’. National Autistic Society Chief Executive Mark Lever favours ‘drinking wine with my wife’, and Her Honour Judge Katharine Marshall likes ‘living a life I love with those I love’. Meanwhile, others spend their time ‘cherishing a temperamental husband’ (Janet Bowen, Lord-Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh) and ‘trying to keep my wife happy’ (Mark Thomson, human rights defender).