Dennis Friedman

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 24 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h646
  1. Anna Sayburn, London
  1. annasayburn{at}

Psychiatrist and media commentator who blamed the 2008 economic meltdown on the way in which bankers were parented

Picture credit: Dennis Toff

Psychiatrist Dennis Friedman became a sought after media commentator on the relationships of the British royal family after writing a series of “psychobiographies” of the royals.1 2 3 His real interest, however, was the dynamics of all families—particularly the way early upbringing may affect people’s later lives.

His theories were drawn from his lengthy clinical career, firstly in general practice in the early years of the NHS, then as a psychiatrist. Friedman was still in contact with some of his patients—albeit informally—when he died at the age of 90. His recently updated book Inheritance: A Psychological History of the Royal Family1 considers the effect of the parenting styles of the country’s most prominent family, from Queen Victoria’s distant relations with her firstborn son, to the current Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s more relaxed relationship with the infant Prince George.

Friedman’s wife of 65 “extremely happy” years, the writer Rosemary Friedman, …

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