Nicholas Henderson bigraphy, stories - British diplomat

Nicholas Henderson : biography

1 April 1919 - 16 March 2009

Sir (John) Nicholas Henderson, (1 April 191916 March 2009) was a distinguished British career diplomat and writer, who served as British Ambassador to the United States from 1979 to 1982.

Life and career

Educated at Stowe School and Hertford College, Oxford, he joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1946 and rose to become Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary in 1963. Subsequently he served as British Ambassador to Poland, Germany and France. He retired in 1979 but, on the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in May of that year, she invited him to return to service as Ambassador to Washington, where he served until 1982. It is now known that Mrs Thatcher had first asked Edward Heath to take up the post, but he had refused the offer.

Upon retiring (as he thought) from the foreign service in 1979 when relinquishing his post in Paris, he wrote a final dispatch titled "Britain's decline; its causes and consequences". The Economist magazine obtained a copy and printed it in the same year stating "The despatch does not, needless to say, reach us from him and was presumably written for very limited circulation. But it is so unusually forthright and timely, particularly in its middle and concluding passages on British policy in Europe, under governments of every stripe, as to merit publication virtually in full." The Economist Jun 2nd 1979

Henderson was enormously popular in Washington, and he and his wife Mary formed a close personal friendship with President Ronald Reagan at a crucial time in the latter's presidency, oiling the special friendship which developed between Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

In retirement, Henderson wrote several books on history, and an account of his career as a diplomat, Mandarin. He held directorships of several major British companies, including the Channel Tunnel Group, Sotheby's, and Hambros. He also had close ties with the Prince of Wales, serving as Lord Warden of the Stannaries and Chairman of the Prince's Council (the body which oversees the Duchy of Cornwall) after retiring from the Diplomatic Service. He was appointed KCVO for this service to the Crown. He gave the Romanes Lecture in Oxford in 1986.

His father was Sir Hubert Henderson, a prominent political economist and holder of the Drummond Professor of Political Economy seat at Oxford University. His mother was Faith Marion Jane Bagenal.

In 1951, Henderson married Mary Barber (née Cawadias), a Greek-born former war correspondent for Time-Life., Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2009, accessed 6 March 2012, The Telegraph, London, 17 February 2004 She died in 2004. Their only child, Alexandra Nicolette, married the photographer Derry Moore, now the 12th Earl of Drogheda. As Alexandra Henderson, she has followed a career as a television and radio producer specialising in current affairs.

He was generally known as "Nicko (sp. "Nico" in Lady Thatcher's memoirs) Henderson" in private life.

Diplomatic Posts and Offices

In popular culture

Henderson was portrayed by Jeremy Clyde in the 2002 BBC production of Ian Curteis's controversial The Falklands Play.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine