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Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of UK in Holy See

2nd April 2015

Happy Easter


You won’t be surprised to hear that Easter is a busy time of year at the Holy See.  The Pope has a full schedule of engagements that take him through the solemnities of Holy Week to the great festivity of Easter Sunday and the Easter period beyond. Pope Francis will be applying his own particular touches to the week, with his visit to the high security prison at Rebibbia outside Rome on Maunday Thursday, and the solemn and stark messages of the Stations of the Cross procession on Good Friday. No doubt the world’s media will be hanging on his messages at his Easter Vigil homily on Saturday evening, and the Urbi et Orbi (“To the City and the World”) message of Easter Sunday. By contrast, the homily at the Good Friday service in St Peter’s Basilica is entrusted to the Pope’s personal preacher.

As is traditional, diplomats accredited to the Holy See will be present at all these occasions, in the same way that diplomats accredited to the Court of St James’s attend the great national and Royal occasions in the United Kingdom. The spiritual and representative element of such events is, of course, paramount. But it is surprising how much diplomatic business can be transacted in the conversations that go on in the margins. For that reason, many of the non-resident ambassadors to the Holy See – some 80 countries have resident embassies, but a number of accredited ambassadors are based in other European cities and visit occasionally – appear at the Vatican for the great Christian festivals like Easter and Christmas. It is a chance to catch up with them, too.

Wherever you may be over this period, please accept the wishes of all the staff of this Embassy for a very happy Easter.

1 comment on “Happy Easter

  1. A very blessed and Happy Easter to all of you, very especially to Fr Mark Miles, from all of us in Gibraltar!

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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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