Charles Powell, Baron Powell of Bayswater

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The Lord Powell of Bayswater

Official portrait of Lord Powell of Bayswater crop 2.jpg
Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister
In office
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded byJohn Coles
Succeeded byStephen Wall
Member of the House of Lords
Assumed office
15 February 2000
Life peerage
Personal details
Born (1941-07-06) 6 July 1941 (age 79)
Political partyCrossbench (in House of Lords)
Carla Bonardi
(m. 1964)
Alma materNew College, Oxford

Charles David Powell, Baron Powell of Bayswater, KCMG (born 6 July 1941) is a British diplomat, politician and businessman. He served as a key foreign policy adviser to the prime minister Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s. His brother, Jonathan Powell, was chief of staff to Tony Blair throughout his period as Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, and his father was Air Vice-Marshal John Frederick Powell.


Powell was educated at the Cathedral Choir School, Canterbury, King's School, Canterbury, and New College, Oxford, graduating BA in 1963 with first class honours in Modern History.

Diplomatic career[edit]

Charles Powell joined Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service in 1963. His first posting was as Third Secretary to Helsinki in 1965, where he was promoted to Second Secretary. In 1968, he returned to London, spending three years at the FCO. He was posted as First Secretary to Washington, D.C. in 1971, as the Ambassador's Private Secretary. Subsequent postings were to Bonn in 1974 and, as Counsellor, to UKREP Brussels in 1980.[1] He was seconded to 10 Downing Street and served as Private Secretary to Margaret Thatcher (1983 to 1990) and then as Private Secretary to John Major (1990 to 1991). During his time working for Mrs Thatcher, he became one of her most trusted foreign policy aides.

Business career[edit]

Since 1992 Powell has served on the boards of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd, LVMH Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Caterpillar Inc., Textron Corporation, Mandarin Oriental International Ltd, Hongkong Land Ltd and Schindler Holding Ltd. He chaired the international advisory board of Rolls-Royce and is a member of the advisory boards of Barrick Gold, Chubb Insurance and Thales, and a strategic adviser to BAE Systems and an adviser to Bowmark Private Equity. He was for ten years chairman of both the China-Britain Business Council and the Singapore British Business Council, as well as chairman of the British Government's Asia Task Force.

House of Lords[edit]

He currently sits as a crossbench life peer in the House of Lords. He is currently a member of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.


He is chairman of the British Museum Trust, chairman of the Trustees of the Said Business School at Oxford University, and trustee of the Said Foundation, the Margaret Thatcher Scholarships at Oxford, the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust at Cambridge, chairman of the Atlantic Partnership and a member of King's College London Campaign Board.

Personal life[edit]

He married Carla Bonardi in 1964. They have two sons, born in 1967 and 1968.

He has three younger brothers, Chris (co-founder of DDB Advertising Agency, and currently chair of NESTA), Roderick (Rod), and Jonathan, the Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair, a member of the Labour Party.

Powell is an Honorary Fellow of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, a Foundation Fellow of Somerville College Oxford, and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, London, a Visiting Professor at St Mary's University and has an honorary DSc from Shiv Nadar University in India.[2]


In the media[edit]

Powell has been interviewed for innumerable documentaries about Margaret Thatcher and about foreign policy.

In popular culture[edit]

Powell was portrayed by Terence Harvey in the 2004 BBC production of The Alan Clark Diaries and by James Fox in 2009's Margaret. His brother Jonathan Powell was played by Adam Godley in the 2010 TV film The Special Relationship.


  1. ^ The Diplomatic Service List 1989 (page 278), HMSO, ISBN 0-11-591707-1.
  2. ^'s-College-London.aspx
  3. ^ "No. 52371". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 December 1990. p. 19582.
  4. ^ "No. 55769". The London Gazette. 21 February 2000. p. 1913.

External links[edit]

Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Birt
Baron Powell of Bayswater
Followed by
The Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay