- Biography & Memoir
Daphne Park was one of Britain’s most extraordinary women: from living in a shack outside Dar es Salaam to becoming a Baroness, she led a remarkable life driven by a lifelong love-affair with the world of Britain’s secret services. After studying modern languages at Oxford, in 1943 she signed up as a nursing auxiliary with FANY, but quickly found herself briefi ng Special Forces troops. After the war she joined MI6, and was soon appointed to the highest operational rank – an astounding achievement for a woman working in this male-dominated and most secretive of organisations.
In Queen of Spies, Hayes recounts Park’s dramatic life and the fascinating evolution of MI6 through the eyes of one of its most outstanding and unusual operatives. Using fi rst-hand knowledge to expose the personalities of the Secret Intelligence Service – from the Second World War to the Cold War, and beyond – he explores how the organisation went about its business.
Based in part on conversations with Park’s former MI6 colleagues, friends, academics and diplomats, as well as Park herself, Queen of Spies is an intimate and impeccably researched tale that sheds light on an incredible woman and her even more incredible achievements.
‘Richly entertaining biography... Queen of Spies fills a big gap.’ Guardian
‘In the secret services, Park stood out as a forceful personality and a woman in a man's world… Paddy Hayes has done a very good job.’ The Telegraph
‘The intelligence historian Paddy Hayes traces Dame Daphne’s mind-boggling career… Dame Daphne’s charisma (she once described herself as a ‘cheerful fat missionary’) is plain throughout’ Spectator