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Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of UK in Holy See

14th March 2013

We welcome Pope Francis

His Holiness Pope Francis. Photo: Intermirifica.net©

It is the dream of every Ambassador to the Holy See to be in post for a Conclave. No one with a sense of history or occasion can possibly be disappointed by the event. There can be no election in the world that is held under conditions of such intense media scrutiny, and yet also in great secrecy amongst such a particular electorate.

The news of the first ever Pope from the Americas has delighted the world. It sends a strong message about the universality of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Holy See. The Prime Minister has welcomed the election on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government.

Pope Francis is known for his personal concern for social justice. His choice of name, recalling St Francis of Assisi, points to this being at the top of his preoccupations, as does his record as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Ensuring the right conditions to improve the lives of the poor, the marginalised and the outcast is one of international development priorities for the British government, and for our G8 Presidency underway.

Congratulations Your Holiness, from the British Embassy to the Holy See! The United Kingdom looks forward to working closely with Pope Francis and the global HolySee network in the months and years ahead.

5 comments on “We welcome Pope Francis

  1. I hope His Holiness (as an Argentinian) will be able to pour some oil on the troubled waters between the UK and Argentina regarding the Falklands!

  2. For the Pope istallation,so many people,kings,leaders and presidents are cominy to Rome that for security reasons the italian police closed all the area around the Vatican!

  3. Dear Ambassador,

    yes…… it is very special feeling play as direct witness of such historical event, as we met before in a Caribbean island ( as colleague) I know you had the great opportunity of experiencing a unique moment of diplomatic carrier.
    We hope a path of light and hope for H.H. Pope Francis.

    my best regards

    1. We understand from the Holy See that St Francis of Assisi was first in mind. But of course you are right; as a good Jesuit, the Pope will also have been thinking of St Francis Xavier. Indeed the combination of inspiration – the friar of social justice with the evangelising missionary to the wider world – is extremely potent

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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.

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