TODAY (May 28, 2023), we commemorate the anniversary of the historic Mount Everest climb, a momentous achievement that forever changed mountaineering history.
On this occasion, we also reflect on the remarkable life of Jan Morris, one of the most captivating individuals of the 20th century.
Jan Morris, formerly known as James Morris, resided in the challenging-to-find town of Llandustumny, near Snowdon.
Before becoming a renowned author, James led a life of adventure as a soldier, spy, and journalist. He witnessed significant historical events, including the ascent of Mount Everest, the Suez crisis, the Eichmann Trial, and the Cuban Revolution. James also crossed paths with notable figures like Harry Truman, JFK, and Che Guevara, leaving an indelible mark on history.
Seventy years ago, The Times reported the triumphant conquest of Mount Everest by a British expedition, with James serving as the expedition’s official correspondent. To keep the news secret from rival media outlets, he devised a clever code to convey the success.
The coded message reached London just in time for the Coronation celebrations, bringing jubilation to a nation still recovering from rationing.
James’s first book, “Coronation Everest,” immortalised this incredible adventure and marked the beginning of a prolific writing career. With numerous critically acclaimed works, he became recognized as one of the top European writers of the post-war era.
However, James’s most transformative journey was yet to come. He had long felt a profound sense of being born in the wrong body. After years of hormone therapy, Jan underwent gender confirmation surgery, marking a significant milestone in personal identity.
Jan’s transition had legal implications, leading to a divorce from Elizabeth, Jan’s lifelong companion. However, the couple continued to live together in Snowdonia, maintaining separate bedrooms and bathrooms while sharing common areas.
As a trailblazer in the Elizabethan era, Jan faced media scrutiny but defended authenticity with pride. Notable interviews with Robin Day and Alan Whicker left lasting impressions on the interviewers themselves. Jan’s encounter with Queen Elizabeth II at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party also made an impression, with the Queen requesting an equerry’s presence after learning of Jan’s extraordinary feat.
In 2008, Jan and Elizabeth celebrated their enduring love story by remarrying in a Civil Partnership ceremony. They symbolised their commitment to each other and their deep connection.
Jan’s values of kindness and acceptance were paramount. Jan believed in forming relationships regardless of gender or sexual orientation, emphasising the significance of kindness. Jan lent support to causes such as the restoration of Brighton’s historic Madeira Terrace, championing acceptance and magnificence.
Today, we remember Jan Morris as a fearless trailblazer, esteemed writer, and advocate of authenticity and kindness. Jan’s memory lives on, inspiring generations to embrace their true selves and approach life’s challenges with unwavering authenticity and kindness.