Barbara Woodward

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Dame Barbara Woodward

Barbara Woodward.jpg
Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China
Assumed office
19 February 2015
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded bySir Sebastian Wood
Personal details
Barbara Janet Woodward

(1961-05-29) 29 May 1961 (age 58)
Gipping, Suffolk, England
ResidenceBeijing, China
Alma materUniversity of St Andrews
Yale University
Barbara Woodward
Traditional Chinese吳百納
Simplified Chinese吴百纳

Dame Barbara Janet Woodward DCMG OBE (Chinese: 吴百纳, born 29 May 1961) is a British diplomat and China expert.[1] She has served as the British Ambassador to China since February 2015, and is the first woman to hold this position.

Woodward undertook her undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews, Scotland before going on to study International Relations at Yale University.

Dame Barbara joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1994. She has worked in China, Russia, the EU, and at the UN. From 2003 to 2009 she worked in Beijing, first as a Political Counsellor, then across the whole UK-China relationship as Deputy Head of Mission, including during the Olympics. Prior to her current posting, Woodward was Director General for Economic & Consular Affairs.[2]

Early years[edit]

Barbara Janet Woodward was born to Arthur Claude Woodward (1921–1992) and Rosemary Monica Gabrielle Fenton[3][4] in Gipping, Suffolk, United Kingdom on 29 May 1961.[5][6] Woodwards's father served in World War II as an officer of the Suffolk Regiment, and won the Military Cross for gallantry.[7] He was later elected Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS) after the war.[3] She was educated at St Felix School, a co-eduational, boarding independent school in Southwold, Suffolk.[1]

Woodward was then admitted to St Andrew's University in Scotland in 1979 and read history. She graduated in 1983 with a Master of Arts (MA Hons) degree.[3][8] Woodward taught English, first at Nankai University, and then at Hubei University, in Wuhan, China between 1986 and 1988.[1] She later learned and mastered Chinese. Her teacher in London, gave her the Chinese name Wu Baina (吴百纳 Wú Bǎinà).[1] In 1988, she went on to Yale University in the United States to further her studies on international relations, and obtained a second MA degree.[8]

Diplomatic career[edit]

In 2015, in a conversation with Lucy D'Orsi, HM Queen Elizabeth II said that Chinese officials "were very rude to the ambassador" (referring to Woodward), during an event at Lancaster House, London.[9][10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Her hobbies include sports, particularly competitive swimming and tennis. She is a member of the Otter Swimming Club in London and has previously served as its Honorary Secretary.[3]



  1. ^ a b c "英國首位女性駐華大使履新,29年前在中國教英語" (19 March 2015)
  2. ^ Barbara Woodward Profile, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 21 February 2015
  3. ^ a b c d "WOODWARD, Barbara Janet" (2012)
  4. ^ "Descendants of John Roper-269323" (13 April 2005)
  5. ^ The Diplomatic Service List (2003), p.325.
  6. ^ "England & Wales births 1837-2006" (retrieved on 24 March 2015)
  7. ^ "Issue 36850", London Gazette, 19 December 1944, p.5856.
  8. ^ a b "Barbara Woodward" (retrieved on 24 March 2015)
  9. ^ Phillips, Tom (11 May 2016). "Queen caught on camera saying Chinese officials were 'very rude'". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  10. ^ Linder, Alex (11 May 2016). "Queen Elizabeth caught on camera saying Chinese officials were 'very rude' during Xi Jinping's visit". Shanghaiist. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Queen filmed calling Chinese officials 'very rude'". BBC News. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Supplement to Issue 55354", London Gazette, 31 December 1998, p.24.
  13. ^ "Supplement to Issue 59808", London Gazette, 11 June 2011, p.13.
  14. ^ "Birthday Honours 2016: Diplomatic Service and Overseas List" (PDF). UK Government. Retrieved 10 June 2016.




External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Sebastian Wood
British Ambassador to China
February 2015–present