When the King and Queen edited Country Life, by the editor who guided them every step of the way

Paula Lester, Country Life's Managing Editor, joins the Country Life podcast.

Paula Lester has been running the features desk at Country Life magazine for over a decade. So when His Majesty The King — Prince Charles, as he was at the time — agreed to guest edit the magazine, she was the obvious choice to guide him and his team through the process.

The result, as Paula tells James Fisher on this week’s Country Life Podcast, could never have been foreseen: after months of work and literally thousands of emails, the magazine became Country Life’s best-selling issue of all time.


A second guest edit came, and couple of years later The Princess Royal took the helm as well.

Then in 2022, it was the turn of Queen Camilla, while still Duchess of Cornwall, to try her hand at it — and she was desperate to outsell her husband.

The King as Guest Editor: Then HRH The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles took the helm in 2018 and is pictured here with Editor Mark Hedges and Managing Editor Paula Lester at Dumfries House. ©Country Life

Paula talks through those extraordinary experiences, and what it was like to work with His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses on putting together an issue of the magazine. Everything from commissioning features to arrange a photo shoot carried out by none other than The Duchess of Cambridge (now Princess of Wales) — who phoned Paula while she was at the hairdresser!

As well as the royal guest edits, Paula explains how the magazine’s features come together each week, looking at where ideas come from, how they’re brought to life, and the amazing team around her who make sure that it happens 52 weeks a year.

Paula Lester with her gundog Nimrod… who you’ll hear making a guest appearance on the Country Life Podcast. Picture: Sarah Farnsworth for Country Life

Episode credits

  • Host: James Fisher
  • Guest: Paula Lester
  • Editor and Producer: Toby Keel
  • Music: JuliusH via Pixabay
  • Special thanks: Adam Wilbourn

The Duchess of Cornwall, as photographed by The Duchess of Cambridge for Country Life

The upcoming 13 July 2022 issue of Country Life is being guest-edited by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall — and