Anne Warburton

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Dame Anne Warburton
Born Anne Marion Warburton
(1927-06-08)8 June 1927
Died 4 June 2015(2015-06-04) (aged 87)
Nationality British
Alma mater Somerville College, Oxford
Occupation British diplomat

Dame Anne Warburton DCVO CMG (8 June 1927 – 4 June 2015) was a British diplomat who was the first female British ambassador. She served as British Ambassador to Denmark from 1976 to 1983, and British Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva from 1983 to 1985. Having retired from her diplomatic career, she was President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge from 1985 to 1994.


Anne Marion Warburton was educated at Barnard College, Columbia University, and Somerville College, Oxford. She worked at the London office of the Economic Cooperation Administration 1949–52, at the NATO Secretariat, then located in Paris, 1952–54, and for Lazard Brothers in London, 1955–57. In 1958 she entered the Diplomatic Service in Branch A (the senior branch)[1] and after two years at the Foreign Office was posted to the UK Mission to the United Nations at New York 1959–62; during this time she was promoted to First Secretary. She served at the British embassy at Bonn 1962–65, then in the newly created Diplomatic Service Administration Office in London 1965–67. She then moved back to the Foreign Office – which became the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1968 – until 1970 when she was posted as Counsellor to the UK's Geneva Mission to the United Nations. After a further period at the FCO as head of the Guidance and Information Policy department, 1975–76, she was appointed British Ambassador to Denmark in April 1976[2] and remained there until 1983.

Warburton was the first female British ambassador.[3] Although Barbara Salt had been appointed ambassador-designate to Israel in 1962, she was unable to proceed to Tel Aviv due to serious illness, so did not take up the post.[4]

After leaving Denmark, Warburton was ambassador and UK permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, 1983–85. She was deputy leader of the UK delegation to the third UN World Conference on Women at Nairobi in July 1985, which closed the United Nations Decade for Women. She retired from the Diplomatic Service and was president of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, 1985–94. Concurrently she was a member of the Equal Opportunities Commission 1986–88, of the Committee on Standards in Public Life 1994–97, and of the Council of the University of East Anglia.[5]

Warburton led a European Community investigative mission into the treatment of Muslim women in the former Yugoslavia, which reported in January 1993.[6]

She died on 4 June 2015.[7]


  • Paying for NATO : how common finance can help the defence of the West (with John B. Wood), Friends of Atlantic Union, London, 1956
  • Signposts to Denmark, Hernov, 1992. ISBN 8759022086


Anne Warburton was appointed CVO in 1965[8] and CMG in 1977.[9] She was made Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1979.[10]

She was an Honorary Fellow of her alma mater, Somerville College, Oxford, and of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.[5] Columbia University awarded her a Barnard Medal of Distinction.[11] The West German government awarded her the Verdienstkreuz (Merit Cross), 1st Class, in 1965 for her service at Bonn. She also held the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog (Denmark) and the Lazo de Dama (Dame's Ribbon) of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spain).[12]


  1. ^ "No. 42001". The London Gazette. 5 April 1960. p. 2467. 
  2. ^ "No. 46943". The London Gazette. 24 June 1976. p. 8773. 
  3. ^ Britain’s first female diplomats, Financial Times, London, 6 November 2009
  4. ^ "Women's history timeline" (1962), BBC Radio 4 archive; accessed 16 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b Anne Warburton Archived 15 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Somerville College, Oxford
  6. ^ Report on rape in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the EC foreign ministers by the EC Investigative Mission into the Treatment of Muslim Women in the Former Yugoslavia (28 January 1993), The Balkan Odyssey Digital Archive, University of Liverpool
  7. ^ Dame Anne Warburton, The Times, London, 9 June 2015
  8. ^ "No. 43691". The London Gazette. 22 June 1965. p. 5981. 
  9. ^ "No. 47234". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 June 1977. p. 7083. 
  10. ^ "No. 47862". The London Gazette. 8 June 1979. p. 7283. 
  11. ^ Commencement '96, Columbia University Record, 24 May 1996
  12. ^ WARBURTON, Dame Anne (Marion), Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Andrew Stark
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Denmark
Succeeded by
Sir James Mellon
Preceded by
Sir Peter Marshall
Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva
Succeeded by
John Sankey
Academic offices
Preceded by
Phyllis Hetzel
President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
1985 to 1994
Succeeded by
Pauline Perry, Baroness Perry of Southwark