John Julius Norwich was born on September 15, 1929. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, Canada as a wartime evacuee, at Eton College, and at the University of Strasbourg. He served in the Royal Navy before receiving a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. After graduation, he joined the H. M. Foreign Service and served in Belgrade, Beirut, and as a member of British delegation to the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. In 1954, he inherited the title of Viscount Norwich. In 1964, he resigned from the Foreign Service to become a writer. He is an English historian, travel writer and television personality. His books include A History of Venice, A Short History of Byzantium, Shakespeare's Kings: the Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy. He was the host of the BBC radio panel game My Word! from 1978 to 1982. He has written and presented more than 30 television documentaries including The Fall of Constantinople, Napoleon's Hundred Days, Cortï¿½s and Montezuma, Maximilian of Mexico, The Knights of Malta, The Treasure Houses of Britain, and The Death of the Prince Imperial in the Zulu War.