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Sir Antony Arthur Acland KG GCMG GCVO (born 12 March 1930) is a former British diplomat and Provost of Eton College.

Sir Antony Acland

Garter robe Sir Antony Acland.jpg
Sir Antony Acland in the robes of a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter
Her Majesty's Ambassador to the United States
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
PresidentRonald Reagan
George Bush
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded bySir Oliver Wright
Succeeded bySir Robin Renwick
Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
Foreign SecretaryLord Carrington
Francis Pym
Sir Geoffrey Howe
Preceded bySir Michael Palliser
Succeeded byThe Lord Wright of Richmond
Her Majesty's Ambassador to Spain
In office
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
Prime MinisterJames Callaghan
Margaret Thatcher
Preceded bySir Charles Wiggin
Succeeded bySir Richard Parsons
Her Majesty's Ambassador to Luxembourg
In office
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
James Callaghan
Preceded byJohn Roper
Succeeded byThe Lord Wright of Richmond
Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary
In office
Foreign SecretarySir Alec Douglas-Home
James Callaghan
Preceded byJohn Graham
Succeeded byStephen Barrett
Personal details
Anthony Arthur Acland

(1930-03-12) March 12, 1930 (age 89)
Spouse(s)Clare Anne Verdon (1956-1984)
Jennifer McGougan (1987)
EducationEton College
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
AwardsKnight of the Order of the Garter (2001)
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (1986)
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (1991)

Early lifeEdit

Antony Acland is the second son of Brigadier Peter Acland. He was educated at Eton College, then in 1948 joined the Royal Artillery with a post-war "emergency commission".[1] After short army service he went up to Christ Church, Oxford, gaining a BA degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1953 (later upgraded to MA). After leaving Oxford in 1953 he went straight into the Foreign Office (FO).[2]


After studying at the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies, Acland was posted to Dubai and then Kuwait, then back to the FO as Assistant Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary (Selwyn Lloyd, then Lord Home) 1959–62. He then served at the UK Mission to the UN, first in New York 1962–66, then at Geneva 1966–68. Back at the FCO he was head of the Arabian department 1970–72.

Acland was Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary (Sir Alec Douglas-Home, then James Callaghan) 1972–75. He was Ambassador to Luxembourg 1975–77[3] and to Spain 1977–79. He was Deputy Under-Secretary at the FCO 1979–82, a post which then entailed chairing the Joint Intelligence Committee. In 1982 he was promoted to Permanent Under-Secretary and head of the Diplomatic Service. Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in April 1982 and Acland came into collision with the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, over the diplomatic response. At one point during a heated discusion he threatened to resign, whereupon Thatcher backed down and said 'All right, no more Foreign Office bashing.'[4]

Acland was Ambassador to the United States at Washington, D.C., 1986–91, then retired from the Diplomatic Service and was Provost of Eton College 1991–2000.[5]

Acland was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford, helping to raise funds for the Institute's building and library.[6]


Acland was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1976 New Year Honours[7] and made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in November of that year after Queen Elizabeth's state visit to Luxembourg,[8] after which he was styled "Sir Anthony Acland". He was given the additional knighthood of Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1982 Birthday Honours[9] and promoted to Knight Grand Cross of that same order in the 1986 Birthday Honours[10] and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1991 Birthday Honours.[11] He was Chancellor of the between 1994 and 2005.[12] In 2001 he was given the rare honour of appointment as a Knight of the Order of the Garter.[13]

Titles and stylesEdit

  • Antony Acland 1930-1976
  • Antony Acland CMG January–November 1976
  • Sir Antony Acland KCVO CMG November 1976 – 1982
  • Sir Antony Acland KCMG KCVO 1982-1986
  • Sir Antony Acland GCMG KCVO 1986-1991
  • Sir Antony Acland GCMG GCVO 1991-2001
  • Sir Antony Acland KG GCMG GCVO 2001–present

Personal lifeEdit

In 1956 Acland married Clare Anne Verdon; they had two sons and a daughter, including Simon Acland. She died in 1984 and in 1987 he married Jennifer McGougan.

Coat of arms of Antony Acland
Knight since 1986
Upon a hand Argent and Sable, a falcon Argent.
Mantling Sable doubled Argent.
Chequy Argent and Sable a fess Gules in chief a mullet of five points Argent.
The Order of the Garter circlet.[14][15][16]
  The banner of Sir Antony Acland's arms used as knight of the Garter depicted at St George's Chapel.




  1. ^ "No. 38520". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 January 1949. p. 442.
  2. ^ BDOHP interview, p.2
  3. ^ "No. 46681". The London Gazette. 11 September 1975. p. 11464.
  4. ^ BDOHP interview, p.33
  5. ^ "No. 52592". The London Gazette. 2 July 1991. p. 10098.
  6. ^ Founding Council Archived 17 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Rothermere American Institute
  7. ^ "No. 46777". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1975. p. 4.
  8. ^ "No. 47074". The London Gazette. 23 November 1976. p. 15755.
  9. ^ "No. 49008". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1982. p. 4.
  10. ^ "No. 50551". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1986. p. 3.
  11. ^ "No. 52557". The London Gazette. 11 June 1991. p. 8957.
  12. ^ "Court Circular". Independent. 10 June 1994.
  13. ^ "No. 56183". The London Gazette. 23 April 2001. p. 4839.
  14. ^ Anthony Acland's banner of arms image, Heraldic Sculptor. Retrieved 20 December 2013
  15. ^ Banner image Archived 31 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. St George-Windsor. Retrieved 20 December 2013
  16. ^ Anthony Acland's crest image. Retrieved 20 December 2013
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Graham
Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
Stephen Barrett
Preceded by
John Roper
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Succeeded by
Patrick Wright
Preceded by
Sir Charles Wiggin
Ambassador to Spain
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Parsons
Preceded by
Sir Michael Palliser
Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Sir Patrick Wright
Preceded by
Sir Oliver Wright
Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Sir Robin Renwick
Academic offices
Preceded by
Lord Charteris of Amisfield
Provost of Eton
Succeeded by
Sir Eric Anderson
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Timothy Colman
as a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter
as a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter
Succeeded by
Sir John Major
as a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter