The two TV heavyweights interviewing Harry over his new book: ITV’s Tom Bradby was a guest at Duke’s wedding while CBS’ Anderson Cooper is son of one of America’s most storied dynasties with an unlikely royal connection
One is a public school-educated son of a Royal Navy officer and friend of the royals who’d like Jerusalem to be played at his funeral. The other – a member of America’s storied Vanderbilt family who has an unexpectedly racy family connection to the House of Windsor.
ITV News anchor Tom Bradby and his American counterpart Anderson Cooper, who hosts CBS News’ 60 Minutes, have been selected by Prince Harry for two sit-down interviews to promote his memoir, Spare, which is out next Tuesday.
The scale of media attention around the fallout from Megxit means the Duke of Sussex would have enjoyed his pick of the world’s most high-profile broadcast journalists, making his choice a particularly revealing one.
The pair are both TV heavyweights with decades of experience. Bradby, an ITV veteran, previously served as the network’s royal correspondent and, as a firm friend of Prince Harry, was invited to his wedding. He’s also served ITV in a series of other major roles, and in 1999 was shot while covering riots in Jakarta.
Cooper, who lives in a converted NYC firestation he bought for $4.2million (£3.5m) in 2010, is one of the biggest names in American journalism who has interviewed many of the world’s leading politicians, including Barack Obama and Emmanuel Macron.
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More surprisingly, his great aunt, Thelma Furness, had an affair with the future Edward VIII in the 1920s and 30s and even introduced him to Wallis Simpson – a relationship that would lead to his abdication.
So what else do you need to know about the two men handpicked to interview Harry for his new book? Below, we detail their careers so far and some extraordinary personal stories.
BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Bradby, who like Cooper is 55, was born in Malta where his father served in the Royal Navy.
After a short time on the island his family moved back to Britain, and he was privately educated at £20,000-a-year Westbourne House School near Chichester before attending Sherborne School in Dorset.
The famous public school charges £42,000 a year for boarders.
It was founded in 1550 but traces its history back more than 1,300 years, with alumni including actor Hugh Bonneville and WWII codebreaker Alan Turing.
Bradby boasts some impressive family connections, with his great-grandmother winning an Olympic gold for tennis in 1908, while his godfather, Matt Bradby, won two caps with the England rugby team in the early 1920s.
Tom Bradby with his wife Claudia at Meghan and Harry’s wedding at Windsor Castle in 2018
In a 2017 interview with the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine, Bradby paid tribute to his family including his mother, Sally, who was a tennis coach.
‘My father Dan was in the Navy and was an honourable man who strove to do the right thing,’ he said.
‘My mum, Sally, was a selfless force of nature. She died of cancer in 2012 aged 72 and my father was 83 when he died from a heart attack last year.’
Cooper was born in Manhattan and attended Dalton School, a prestigious $57,970-a-year (£48,000) day school in Manhattan.
Bradby went to Sherborne School in Dorset. The famous public school charges £42,000 a year for boarders
He is the son of railway heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, making him a member of one of America’s most storied dynasties.
The Vanderbilts were once one of the most powerful dynasties in the U.S. after having risen to prominence and wealth during the Gilded Age.
Cooper’s great-great-great-grandfather Cornelius Vanderbilt amassed a fortune through his shipping and railroad empires.
Cornelius was the richest man in America when he died in 1877. He left behind an estimated $100 million, which was equivalent to $2.5 billion in today’s currency, but it was later squandered by his heirs.
Cooper’s great-great-great-grandfather Cornelius Vanderbilt (pictured) amassed a fortune through his shipping and railroad empires during the Gilded Age
The family gained unimaginable wealth during America’s ‘Gilded Age’, with its patriarch, Cornelius Vanderbilt, worth an estimated $100million by the time he died in 1877. This could amount to over $200billion (£166bn) today.
The Vanderbilts have suffered a number of tragedies over the years. In 1988, Cooper’s 23-year-old brother Carter jumped to his death from their family’s 14th-floor penthouse apartment in front of their mother as she pleaded with him to get down from the ledge.
The broadcaster has spoken about how the tragedy affected his mother, telling CNN in 2022 that she ‘replayed it in her head every single day of her life for the rest of her life’.
In 1988, Cooper’s 23-year-old brother Carter jumped to his death from their family’s 14th-floor penthouse apartment in front of their mother Gloria, who he is pictured with
As host of ITV’s News at 10, Bradby is one of the UK’s most recognisable journalists. He joined ITN as an editorial trainee in 1980 and has served in a series of roles, including Ireland correspondent and Asia correspondent.
As royal correspondent, he presented coverage of the Golden Jubilee and the funerals of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother.
He has hosted the News at 10 since 2015 and anchored major events including the Brexit referendum in 2016, the US election in 2020 and Queen Elizabeth’s funeral earlier this year.
Bradby speaking with Prince Harry in a trailer of a longer interview that will air later this week
Bradby also has a career as a fiction writer – publishing nine thrillers including Shadow Dancer, which in 2012 was made into a film starring Andrea Riseborough and Clive Owen.
Despite his high profile in the UK, Bradby is less well known in America, and has joked about being mistaken on Twitter for the American football legend Tom Brady.
Cooper, meanwhile, is a CNN anchor and host of CBS’s 60 Minutes. As well as co-host the 2016 presidential debates he’s carried out sit-down interviews with some of the world’s most prominent politicians, from Joe Biden to Emmanuel Macron.
He began his reporting career covering conflicts in Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda. After a spell at ABC, he moved to CNN in 2001.
Bradby has been married to his jewellery designer wife Claudia since 1994 and they have three children, Jack, Louisa and Sam.
In a newspaper profile, he said his favourite drink is a Talisker whisky with ice, and he would choose Jerusalem and I Vow To Thee My Country as the hymns to be played at his funeral.
The journalist was signed off work for three months in 2018 after developing insomnia and what he describes as an addiction to the sleeping pill zopiclone.
Bradby, who has worked for ITV News producer ITN for 30 years, told how Claudia had warned him he was close to a ‘very dangerous cliff-edge’ and urged him to see a psychiatrist. At his lowest he believed he would lose his family and job.
Speaking to former Downing Street director of communications Craig Oliver, for his podcast Desperately Seeking Wisdom, Bradby said: ‘One of the really nice things about [being open] is people feel able to come and talk to me about when they’re not feeling well.
‘And it just makes you realise, God, how many people out there are suffering and need help?’
Cooper had two children by a surrogate, including Sebastian (who he is pictured with)
Cooper also actively campaigns on mental health issues and has spoken openly about his brother Carter’s death.
Despite his late mother having an estimated net worth of $200million (£165m), Cooper only inherited around $1.5million (£1.3m) from his late mother’s estate after she deliberately spent most of her fortune while she was alive.
He’s previously vowed to take a similar approach with his son, Wyatt, due to a belief that it is wrong to pass on large amounts of money.
Cooper is gay and he and his ex partner, Benjamin Maisani, welcomed two sons, Wyatt and Sebastian, via surrogates in 2020 and 2022. They’ve since split up and now share parenting duties between them.
Cooper lives in a converted NYC firestation he bought for $4.2million (£3.5m) in 2010
Bradby is a friend of the Sussexes and previously interviewed them for a documentary about their 2019 Africa tour.
He famously asked Meghan about her mental health, with the duchess thanking him and saying ‘not many people have asked if I’m ok’.
In their recent Netflix series, Meghan said the interview marked a turning point. She said: ‘There is only so much you can take on your own, so you end up saying, ”Something has to change”. It was a huge turning point.
‘It was when we started having harder conversations about what needs to happen for us to be able to continue to make this work.’
The Duke of Cambridge was once so close with Tom Bradby that he was chosen to conduct the November 2010 engagement exclusive interview with him and Kate Middleton
Bradby first got to know Harry when he worked with him on a documentary about Lesotho when the prince was on his gap year after leaving Eton.
The journalist went on to attend his 2018 wedding to Meghan. He also went to William and Kate’s wedding, but has since admitted his relationship with the Prince of Wales has suffered amid the fallout from Megxit.
Bradby has said mental breakdown made him treat Meghan and Harry more sympathetically
Bradby’s ITV documentary in South Africa in 2019 also saw Meghan Markle tell him: ‘Not many people have asked if I’m okay’
While his great aunt’s affair with the future King Edward VIII may be his most striking royal connection, Cooper has covered numerous events over the years, including Princess Diana’s funeral.
Meanwhile, he joked about getting a wave from Harry during his wedding to Meghan in May 2018. He told viewers: ‘I was at the Royal Wedding, covering it for CNN.
‘Our correspondent Max Foster said, ‘You should wave at Harry because Harry is going to look up at the bright lights and I bet he’ll wave at you.’ The carriage makes a turn. I start waving. Harry looks up at the tower, we make eye contact and he waves. I almost died.’
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