Claud Russell

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Claud Frederick William Russell
Born (1871-12-08)8 December 1871
Died 9 December 1959(1959-12-09) (aged 88)
Nationality British
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Occupation Diplomat
Athenais Atchley (m. 1920)
Children Lord Arthur Russell

Sir Claud Frederick William Russell KCMG FRGS FZS (8 December 1871 – 9 December 1959) was a British diplomat who was minister to Ethiopia and to Switzerland and ambassador to Portugal.


Russell was the second son of Lord Arthur Russell. He was educated privately and at Balliol College, Oxford. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1897[1] and served in British embassies or legations in Turkey, Egypt, China, France, Russia, Morocco, Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, Greece, and in the Foreign Office. At the outbreak of the First World War he was released from the Foreign Office to serve in the Bedfordshire Yeomanry, rising to the rank of major. After the war, in 1919 he was appointed British delegate to, and president of, the international financial commission which had been established in Athens following the Greco-Turkish War (1897) to oversee the public finances of Greece, and also to the Inter-Allied Financial Commission that oversaw loans to help the Greek government recover from the war. Russell was then appointed Minister to Ethiopia 1920–25;[2] Minister to Switzerland 1928–31;[3] and Ambassador to Portugal 1931–35.[4]

Claud Russell was knighted KCMG in the King's Birthday Honours of 1930.[5] The Portuguese government awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of Christ. During the Second World War, at the age of 69, Sir Claud enlisted in the Home Guard. He rented Trematon Castle 1939–59[6] and died there on his 88th birthday.

As Ambassador to Lisbon he was one of very few senior diplomats to write favourably on whether women should be admitted to the Diplomatic Service. In his contribution to the Shuster Committee review in 1934 he said, "I have an instinctive prejudice in favour of change, which I associate with improvement and reform ... I do not see why a woman should not cohabit at her post with her husband [particularly if he were] a man of letters or a craftsman of any sort ... We live in a changing world, and no-one can say how mankind will regard anything in 1959. Who would have foreseen in 1894 that in twenty-five years women would be made eligible for the House of Commons?"[7]

Personal life[edit]

Russell married Athenais Atchley, daughter of Shirley Clifford Atchley in 1920.[8]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Wilfred Thesiger
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Ethiopia
Succeeded by
Charles Bentinck
Preceded by
Rowland Sperling
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Confederation
Succeeded by
Sir Howard Kennard
Preceded by
Sir Francis Lindley
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Portuguese Repuplic
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Wingfield


  1. ^ "No. 26819". The London Gazette. 2 February 1897. p. 630.
  2. ^ "No. 32455". The London Gazette. 13 September 1921. p. 7222.
  3. ^ "No. 33353". The London Gazette. 3 February 1928. p. 757.
  4. ^ "No. 33740". The London Gazette. 31 July 1931. p. 5022.
  5. ^ "No. 33611". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1930. p. 347730.
  6. ^ Trematon Castle
  7. ^ Women in Diplomacy, The FCO 1782-1999, Historians, Records and Historical Services
  8. ^ van de Pas, Leo. "Descendants of Mary Tudor, Princess of England: XII-331 (XI-157-3): 3 Sir Claud Frederick William Russell". Ingeborg Brigitte Gastel. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  • RUSSELL, Sir Claud Frederick William, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007, accessed 25 May 2012
  • Obituary: Sir Claud Russell, The Times, London, 10 December 1959, page 17