Avatar photo

Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of UK in Holy See

9th September 2011

My first blog as Ambassador to the Holy See

This is my first blog entry as HM Ambassador to the Holy See – indeed, the first time a British Ambassador to the Holy See has had a blog. At a time when the Holy See is itself hosting meetings of bloggers from all over the world, and the Pope is tweeting, I think it is right that this Embassy should also be engaging properly through the new media in an interactive way with what is, I know, a wide and interested audience out there.

I presented my credentials today to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo, when I was also able to give an introductory speech on the bilateral relationship. Our conversation touched on many aspects of our relationship, including the importance of values in international affairs.

There is a very broad mutual agenda, flowing from the visit of the Pope to the United Kingdom last September, and the excellent work of this Embassy under my predecessor. We need to talk to and engage with each other above all because Her Majesty’s Government and the Holy See both have global concerns and interests, from disarmament to development, climate change to conflict resolution. As with any diplomatic relationship, we will not always agree. But there are many areas where we can work closely together, and it should be mutually beneficial to do so.

I hope that this blog will provide a window on what this embassy, and this Ambassador, does and why we do it. I will do my best to respond to ideas and queries, and would be delighted to receive thoughts on how to make this more useful and more interesting to readers. It is a privilege for me to be representing Her Majesty’s Government at the Holy See. I look forward to playing a role instrengthening our relationship, and having an impact for good, while I am here.

About Nigel Baker

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as…

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2003-6) and then as British Ambassador in La Paz, Bolivia (2007-11). In July 2016, Nigel finished his posting, and is currently back in London.

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provided a regular window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The blogs covered a wide range of issues, from Royal and Ministerial visits to Diplomacy and Faith, freedom of religion, human trafficking and climate change.

More on Nigel’s career

Nigel was based in London between 1998 and 2003. He spent two years on European Union issues (for the UK 1998 EU Presidency and on European Security and Defence questions), before crossing St James’s Park to work for three years as The Assistant Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At St James’s Palace, Nigel worked on international issues, including the management of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits and tours, on the Commonwealth, interfaith issues, the arts and international development.

Nigel spent much of the early part of his FCO career in Central Europe, after an initial stint as Desk Officer for the Maghreb countries in the Near East and North Africa department (1990-91). Between 1992 and 1996, Nigel served in the British embassies in Prague and Bratislava, the latter being created in 1993 after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics.

Nigel joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in September 1989. Between 1996 and 1998 he took a two year academic sabbatical to research and write about themes in 18th century European history, being based in Verona but also researching in Cambridge, Paris and Naples. The research followed from Nigel’s time as a student at Cambridge (1985-88) where he read history and was awarded a First Class Honours degree, followed by his MA in 1992.

Before joining the Foreign Office, Nigel worked briefly for the Conservative Research Department in London at the time of the 1989 European election campaign.

Nigel married Alexandra (Sasha) in 1997. They have one son, Benjamin, born in Bolivia in September 2008.

Follow Nigel