Vincent Cronin was born in Tredegar, in the Rhondda Valley of Wales, where his father A.J. Cronin was then in private practice as a physician. The family moved to London when Vincent was a toddler, and a few years later his father gave up the practice of medicine to become a full-time writer. Vincent was educated at Ampleforth College before enrolling at Harvard University at age 16. He completed his studies at the Sorbonne and Oxford University, from which he graduated with honors, and served in the British Army during World War II. In 1949, he married Chantal de Rolland, with whom he had five children, and the family divided their time between London, Marbella, and Dragey, in Normandy, France. His first book, The Golden Honeycomb, was published in 1954. Vincent Cronin became best known for his biographies of Louis XIV, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon, as well as for his many books on the Renaissance.