Theatre News

Matrimonial Writer Royce Ryton Dies, Aged 84

Playwright Royce Ryton, whose works included acclaimed Royal drama Crown Matrimonial, died this week (14 April 2009) aged 84.

Born in 1924, Ryton served in the Royal Navy during World War II. After the war, he  trained as an actor at Webber Douglas and subsequently worked in regional rep before  turning his attention increasingly to writing.

He initially found success with comedies such as The Painted Face and Penguins Can’t, but in the early 70s began a series of historical dramas, primarily on the subject of monarchy. His best-known work, Crown Matrimonial, about the 1936 abdication crisis, was first produced in 1972 starring Wendy Hiller, enjoying a long West End run before transferring to Broadway.

Crown Matrimonial was most recently revived last year, in a national touring production starring Patricia Routledge as Queen Mary.

Ryton’s other works include Hotel in Spala, The Royal Baccarat Scandal, The Anastasia File, Suez, Her Royal Highness? (with Ray Cooney), Catherine the Queen, The Other Side of the Swamp, The Unvarnished Truth and Motherdear.

He is survived by his wife Morar and daughter Charlotte.

– by Theo Bosanquet