Joan Reeder (1921-1997), journalist and Royal correspondent

Scope and Content

Elizabeth Joan Armstrong was apprenticed aged 17 to the Western Morning News in Plymouth in 1938. When war broke out, she wrote about the experience of the blitz in Plymouth. She did not have her own by-line, but her stories were often sold to London papers and syndicated under the by-lines of well-known journalists. She married in 1941, becoming Joan Reeder. After the war, she worked for the Daily Mirror, soon becoming the first Royal correspondent for a national newspaper. In 1952 she was one of the first journalists to hear of the death of King George VI, reported on the Coronation of Elizabeth II the following year, as well as the Royal Tour, and was among those who broke the news about the love affair between Princess Margaret and Group Captain Townsend. In the early 1950s, she left the Mirror to take up a features editorship with Odhams Magazines. She specialised in ghost-writing for celebrities including Gracie Fields, Vanessa Redgrave, Margot Fonteyn, Sophia Loren, Ginger Rogers, Julia Andrews and Roger Moore. Some became books, while others were serialised in 'Woman' magazine and in the Ladies Home Journal in the United States. Her archive contains published articles, drafts, notes for her books on various celebrities, ephemera and correspondence relating to her role as Royal Correspondent, tapes of interviews, and legacy equipment for playback. Three portable typewriters are also included.

Access Information

Access is available by prior appointment, during 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

Custodial History

Presented to the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies by her daughter, Lady Suzanne Warner, Sept 2010, and subsequently transferred to Special Collections and Archives.