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John Grigg, 77; Wrote Biography of Lloyd George

January 03, 2002|From Associated Press

LONDON — John Grigg, a writer who won praise for his biography of former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and stirred controversy with his criticism of Queen Elizabeth II, died Monday. He was 77.

The Guardian newspaper, which published a column by Grigg for many years, confirmed that he had died. No cause of death was given.

Grigg's father was a private secretary to Lloyd George, who was prime minister from 1916 to 1922. The son, a journalist, first took up Lloyd George as a subject in "The Young Lloyd George," published in 1973.

In 1978 and 1985, he published the next two volumes in the work, which is widely considered the definitive biography of the crusading, scandal-plagued premier, who led Britain through much of World War I.

Grigg, born in London and educated at Oxford University, worked for much of his life as a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist.

A piece he wrote in 1957 for the monthly National and English Review provoked outrage and damaged his hopes for a career as a Conservative Party politician.

In it, he criticized the monarchy as complacent and out of touch, said Queen Elizabeth II should broaden her circle of advisors and complained that she came across in public like "a priggish schoolgirl."

In later articles he professed his support for the monarchy, but a 1977 piece on what he saw as the continuing narrowness of the queen's circle--he singled out her court's lack of racial and ethnic diversity--renewed the controversy.

Grigg inherited from his father the title 1st Baron Altrincham but later renounced it.

He wrote a column for the Guardian from 1960 to 1970, and for the Times of London in the 1980s and early '90s.

Grigg is survived by his wife, Patricia, and two sons.

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