School of Politics and International Relations

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Rory Cormac

Professor of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences



Rory Cormac is a Professor of International Relations specialising in Secret Intelligence and Covert Action.

Rory has written five books, most recently, The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown from Victoria to Diana (Atlantic, 2021)

Alongside Richard J. Aldrich, he has researched and fronted three documentaries for Channel 4: Spying on the Royals (2017), D-Day: The King who Fooled Hitler (2019) and The Queen and the Coup (2020).

He has appeared at the Hay, Cheltenham and Edinburgh Literary Festivals, and regularly features in national and international media outlets, including most UK newspapers, BBC Breakfast, BBC 5Live, BBC Radio 4, BBC History Magazine, and, in America, NBC and National Geographic.

Rory has spoken at the UK Cabinet Office, Home Office, Number 10 and Ministry of Defence, as well as the US State Department and Pentagon.

In 2018, he held a Leverhulme International Academic Fellowship based at Johns Hopkins University. Between 2015 and 2017, he held an AHRC Fellowship examining British approaches to covert action, 1945-1968.

Rory is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Before joining Nottingham, Rory worked at the University of Warwick and King's College London.

Expertise Summary

  • Covert Action
  • Secret Intelligence
  • Prime Ministers and Intelligence / The Royal Family and Intelligence

Teaching Summary

Rory currently teaches:

  • Secret Intelligence and International Security (BA3)
  • Covert Action and Unacknowledged Interventionism (MA)

He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research Summary

Rory is currently researching:

  • Covert Action and Unacknowledged Interventions
  • Subversion
  • Secrecy
  • Propaganda and Influence Operations

Recent Publications

  • RORY CORMAC, GENEVIEVE LESTER, MAGDA LONG, MARK STOUT and DAMIEN VAN PUYVELDE, eds., 2024. Covert Action: Different National Approaches to Practicing Unacknowledged Intervention Georgetown University Press. (In Press.)
  • RORY CORMAC and RICHARD J. ALDRICH, 2023. On The Implausibility of Covert Action Denial. In: Intelligence: The Secret World of Spies 6. Oxford University Press.
  • RORY CORMAC, 2022. The Currency of Covert Action: British Special Political Action in Latin America, 1961-64 Journal of Strategic Studies. 45(6-7), 893-917
  • RORY CORMAC, 2022. How to Stage a Coup: and 10 other Lessons from the World of Secret Statecraft Statecraft Atlantic.

PhD Supervision

I am interested in supervising students who want to work in the following areas:

  • Intelligence
  • Covert operations (propaganda, political influence, sabotage, subversion etc)

Past Research

  • Secret Intelligence and the Royal Family
  • Secret Intelligence and Prime Ministers

School of Politics and International Relations

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University of Nottingham
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