Philip Mansel was born in London in 1951 and has lived in London, Paris, Beirut, and Istanbul. He is a historian of France and the Middle East, focusing on courts, cities, and cosmopolitanism. His books include lives of Louis XVIII (1981) and the Prince de Ligne (2003); Dressed to Rule, a study of the politics of clothes (2005); a history of Paris as capital of 19th-century Europe, Paris between Empires (2001); and The Eagle in Splendour: Inside the Court of Napoleon (reprint 2015). He has also written a history of Constantinople as capital of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople, City of the World’s Desire (1995); a history of Smyrna, Alexandria and Beirut, Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean (2010); and a history of Aleppo since the Ottoman conquest in 1516, Aleppo, the Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City (2016). His books have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Greek, and Arabic. He writes for The Spectator, The Art Newspaper, and the Times Literary Supplement.
Mansel is a founding committee member of the Society for Court Studies and the Levantine Heritage Foundation. Both are linked to similar groups in other countries, and both study international networks, cultures, and identities. The Levantine Heritage Foundation is organizing a conference in Athens on November 2-3 on Levantine identities and diasporas.
In 2012, Mansel received the London Library Life in Literature Award and he is a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in France and the Order of the Crown in Belgium. He is currently writing a book on the life of Louis XIV.