James-Charles Noonan is a historian and author of the bestselling book The Church Visible: The Ceremonial Life and Protocol of the Catholic Church (1996, Viking Penguin), which was commissioned by Pope John Paul II, who was a personal friend. Noonan wrote the expanded second edition in 2011. Noonan is also recognized as an international protocol expert and heraldic designer, having created the insignia of numerous dignitaries worldwide. He spent several years in the Vatican, where he was given access to The Secret Vatican Archives and conducted years of research, often uncovering missives and communications from members of royal families across the world. The true stories Noonan uncovered were the impetus for his most recent work, Alix & Minnie: A Royal Trilogy, which is a three-book epic detailing the lives of sisters Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, Empress of India and all the British Dominions, and Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia.
The historical trilogy comprises Book One: Royal Sisters Preparing for Greatness; Book Two: Adventure, Wealth, Power and Scandal; and Book Three: Widowhood, War, Revolution and Exile. Book One reveals the background of two of Europe’s most important female figures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including family heritage, the girls’ youth, their prestigious marriages, and the situations that affected their lives in Russia and England. Book Two explores the lives of the women’s families and the tragedies that they endure as they rose to power. The final book in the trilogy details Alix and Minnie’s separate struggles and achievements as they continued their reigns in different countries, all the while remaining in weekly contact through an extensive correspondence spanning more than fifty years.
Noonan was raised in the Philadelphia area, attended LaSalle University, and was educated at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. He later attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Vatican City in Rome, and Catholic University in Washington. Noonan recently released A Church of Tradition: What Every Catholic Should Know. He is a trustee of the Field Hospitals of the World, which delivers medical assistance to families across the developing world. He lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.