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Cecil Harmsworth King: Wikis


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Cecil Harmsworth King (20 February 1901 – 17 April 1987) was owner of Mirror Group Newspapers, and later a Director at the Bank of England (1965-68).

He came on his father's side from a Protestant Irish family, and was brought up in Ireland. His father was Sir Lucas White King, Professor of Oriental Languages at Trinity College, Dublin and his mother was, Geraldine née Harmsworth, daughter of Alfred Harmsworth, a barrister, and sister of the mass-circulation newspaper proprietors Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe and Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere. Cecil was therefore brought up in an environment of wealth, privilege and effortless social connections. He was educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford. According to friend Colin Hannaford: "He believed he was born to rule, an image of himself which never departed."

In 1937 Cecil was an advertising director of one of his uncle's papers when he formed a partnership with journalist Hugh Cudlipp. When Cecil was made a senior director, he chose Cudlipp as his new editor.

At the age of 23 Cudlipp became the youngest chief editor in Fleet Street. Between them, King and Cudlipp turned The Daily Mirror into the world's largest selling daily newspaper. In 1967, the Daily Mirror's circulation reached a world record of 5,282,137 copies. By 1963 King was chairman of the International Publishing Corporation (IPC), then the biggest publishing empire in the world, which included the Daily Mirror and some two hundred other papers and magazines (1963-1968).

King was married to Dame Ruth Railton (1915–2001), the founder of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Political activities

King's influence in British public life was enormous. He himself believed that criticism of Winston Churchill's government by the Mirror, had caused that government's collapse after the war.

He was involved in, and probably instigated, a bizarre 1968 meeting with Lord Mountbatten, among others, in which he proposed that Harold Wilson's government be overthrown and replaced with a temporary administration headed by Mountbatten.




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