Patricia Rawlings, Baroness Rawlings

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Patricia Elizabeth Rawlings, Baroness Rawlings (born 27 January 1939) is a Conservative Party politician and former frontbencher in the House of Lords. She was also a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1989 to 1994.

Baroness Rawlings was Chairman of King's College London Council 1998–2007, and she was made a Fellow of the university in 2003. She has been President of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations since 2002, and President of the British Antique Dealers' Association 2005-2013. She is also a trustee of the Chevening Estate.


Rawlings was educated in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. She trained as a nurse at Westminster Hospital and is an active member of the British Red Cross (she was awarded the British Red Cross national Badge of Honour in 1987). She was a mature student at University College London and studied for a postgraduate diploma in International Relations from the London School of Economics. She was awarded an Hon DLitt from the University of Buckingham in 1998.

Political career[edit]

Rawlings was elected at the 1989 European election as the MEP for Essex South West. That constituency was abolished for the 1994 European election when she was defeated by Labour's Hugh Kerr in the new Essex West and Hertfordshire East constituency.

She was created a life peer with the title Baroness Rawlings, of Burnham Westgate in the County of Norfolk on 5 October 1994[1] and entered the House of Lords where she has held several frontbench positions. She served as an Opposition Whip (1997–1998), Spokesperson on Culture, Media and Sport (1997–1998), Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1998–2010) and International Development (1998–2010).

Following the 2010 general election, she served as the Government Whip with responsibility for Culture, Media and Sport and for Scotland.[2] She retired from Government on 25 June 2012.[3]


In 2002 Baroness Rawlings became embroiled in controversy over a 1.8-acre piece of land, owned by King's College London, which St Thomas's hospital had been expected to use for a new wing. Because an offer to buy the land for up to £24 million came unexpectedly from the Aga Khan Development Network and caused a public outcry, it was rumoured that Baroness Rawlings (chair of King's College ruling council and long-term friend of the Aga Khan) had engineered the unsolicited offer. A spokesman for King's College said:

"The idea that Patricia Rawlings decided it would be a jolly good idea to ring up her old friend the Aga Khan and offer him a piece of land is utterly bizarre."[1]

Personal life[edit]

Patricia Rawlings was married in 1962 to businessman David Wolfson, now Baron Wolfson of Sunningdale, but divorced in 1967. They are one of the few married couples where both partners held Life Peerages in their own right.

Foreign orders and decorations[edit]

  • In 1991 Patricia Rawlings is the first British woman to be awarded the Order of the Rose (Silver), which was bestowed upon her by President Zhelyu Zhelev of Bulgaria, in recognition of her interest in Bulgaria. Rawlings is permitted to wear the decoration whenever she visits Bulgaria or goes to the Bulgarian embassy.
  • For services to Anglo-Brazilian relations, she was awarded the Grand Official, Order of the Southern Cross from the Republic of Brazil in 1998.


Arms of Patricia Rawlings, Baroness Rawlings
A Coronet of a Baroness
Out of a Ducal Coronet Or a Griffin's Head Azure gorged with a Bar Gemelle Gules between two Wings expanded of the second
Quarterly barry wavy of six Argent and Azure and Argent on a Cross Gules between in the second and third quarters an Escallop Azure a Seax fesswise point to the sinister surmounted by an Ostrich Plume palewise Argent between in chief and in base a Bee Volant proper on a Bordure Azure twelve Mullets Or
Dexter: a Lion rampant Or gorged with a Riband Azure pendant from the knot thereof a Rose Argent barbed and seeded proper; Sinister: an Elephant Ermine gorged with a Chain Or pendant therefrom a Portcullis Sable
Perserverantia, Integritas Et Fidelitas (Perseverance, integrity and loyalty)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 53813. p. 14149. 10 October 1994.
  2. ^ "Baroness Rawlings". Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Press Notice: Appointment of Lord in Waiting (Government Whip)". 25 June 2012. 

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alexander Sherlock
Member of the European Parliament for Essex South West
Constituency abolished
(see Essex West & Hertfordshire East)