Anna Keay

Anna Keay OBE (born 1974 or 1975,[2] in the West Highlands of Scotland)[1] is a British architectural historian, author, and television personality, and since 2012, Director of The Landmark Trust.

Anna Keay
Born1974 or 1975
ResidenceClifton House, King's Lynn, Norfolk;[2][3] and London[1]
EducationDoctor of Philosophy[2]
Alma materOxford University[1][2]
University of London[2]
OccupationArchitectural historian, author, TV personality
Years active1996–present
EmployerThe Landmark Trust, (Director 2012–present)[2][4]
Spouse(s)Simon Thurley (m. 2008–present)[1][3]
RelativesHumphrey Atkins (grandfather)[2]

Early life and education

Keay is the daughter of author John Keay[1] and granddaughter of Conservative politician and former Chief Whip, Humphrey Atkins.[2] Her mother Julia Keay[1] was also a writer.

She was educated at Oban High School in Argyll, and Bedales School. She then read History at Magdalen College in Oxford.[1][2]

She has a Ph.D. from the University of London; her thesis was on court ceremonial in the reign of Charles II.[1][5]


She worked for English Heritage 2002-2012, including seven years as Curator of the Tower of London;[2] and as its Director of Properties Presentation, was involved in the restoration of the Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle which featured in a 2009 BBC television series about English Heritage.[6]

Since 2012 she has served as Director of The Landmark Trust.[4][2]

Keay was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to heritage.[7]

Television and media

In October 2014, Keay appeared on BBC Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity: her hypothetical donation to this fictional museum was the St Edward's Crown, part of the British Crown Jewels.[8]

Selected publications

  • The Earl of Essex: The Life and Death of a Tudor Traitor (2001, Historic Royal Palaces, ISBN 978-1873993156)
  • The Magnificent Monarch: Charles II and the Ceremonies of Power (2008, Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1847252258)[9]
  • The Crown Jewels: The Official Illustrated History (2012, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 978-0500289822)
  • The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle (2013, English Heritage, ISBN 9781848020344)

Private life

Keay married fellow historian Simon Thurley in 2008, and the couple have boy-girl twins.[2][3]


  1. "Biography". Anna Keay. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  2. Lister-Kaye, Hermione (13 June 2014). "Anna Keay on India, motherhood and the Duke of Monmouth". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  3. "Simon Thurley - about me". Simon Thurley. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  4. "The Landmark Trust > Staff > Dr Anna Keay, Director". The Landmark Trust. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  5. Golfar, Fiona. "Closet Harmony: Hard Working Clothes". Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  6. Jardine, Cassandra (18 April 2009). "Heritage TV or a restoration comedy?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  7. "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B12.
  8. "Gallery 7: Room 4". The Museum of Curiosity, Quite Interesting Limited. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  9. Massie, Allan (2 August 2008). "The kingly touch of Charles II". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 November 2014. Review
  • — official website
  • Clifton House — private home of Dr Anna Keay and Dr Simon Thurley, occasionally open to the public
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