Kenneth Rose was one of the most astute observers of the establishment for over seventy years. The wry and amusing journals of the royal biographer and historian made objective observation a sculpted craft. His impeccable social placement located him within the beating heart of the national elite for decades. He was capable of writing substantial history, such as his priceless material on the abdication crisis from conversations with both the Duke of Windsor and the Queen Mother. Yet he maintained sufficient distance to achieve impartial documentation while working among political, clerical, military, literary and aristocratic circles. Relentless observation and a self-confessed difficulty ‘to let a good story pass me by’ made Rose a legendary social commentator, while his impressive breadth of interests was underpinned by tremendous respect for the subjects of his enquiry.