Edmonde Charles-Roux was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1920. She trained as a nurse and volunteered to serve in an ambulance corps of the French Foreign Legion in World War II. At Verdun, she was wounded during an aerial bombardment of the field hospital where she was working but stayed at her post. After serving with the Resistance in Provence, she was wounded again as the First French Army advanced into Austria. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Légion d'Honneur. After the war, she began a career as a journalist writing for Elle and Paris Match. For twelve years, she was Editor-in-Chief of the French edition of Vogue, greatly expanding the magazine's coverage of literature and culture, and championing writers such as Alain Robbe-Grillet and Violette Leduc. She was abruptly sacked in 1966 when she commissioned a photograph of the black model Donyale Luna for the magazine's front cover. In addition to her celebrated biography of Coco Chanel, written for the most part without the couturière’s co-operation, she wrote another biography, Don Juan of Austria, and two novels, Elle, Adrienne and To Forget Palermo, which won the Prix Goncourt in 1966. Charles-Roux was a member of the Académie Goncourt from 1983 and its President from 2002-14. She died in 2016.