Walden was educated at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, London, at Jesus College, Cambridge, and post-graduate at Moscow University. During his time in the diplomatic service he studied Chinese at the University of Hong Kong 1965–67, spent a year at the École nationale d'administration (ÉNA, then located in Paris) 1973–74, and a sabbatical year at Harvard 1981–82.
Walden joined the Foreign Office in 1962 and worked there as a researcher until 1965 when he went to Hong Kong to study Chinese. After that he was posted as Second Secretary in the office of the British Chargé d'Affaires in Peking 1967–70 (there was no ambassador at that time). As First Secretary he was at the Soviet Desk in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 1970–73 (during which he was formally appointed an Officer in the Diplomatic Service) and, after his year at ÉNA, at the British Embassy in Paris 1974–78. He was then appointed Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, serving David Owen and Lord Carrington, for which he was decorated CMG in the New Year Honours of 1981. After his sabbatical at Harvard he was head of the planning staff at the FCO 1982–83, and then left the Diplomatic Service to stand for Parliament.
Walden was elected as the MP for Buckingham at the 1983 general election. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the then Secretary of State for Education and Science, Sir Keith Joseph, 1984–85 and Minister for Higher Education 1985–1987. He was re-elected in 1987 and 1992 and retired from parliament at the 1997 general election.
Walden wrote a column for the Evening Standard 1991–2002 and now writes for various papers as a guest columnist.
- The Shoeblack and the Sovereign: Reflections on Ethics and Foreign Policy, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988. ISBN 0312022816
- The Blocked Society, Cambridge: Tory Reform Group, 1990
- Ethics and Foreign Policy, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990. ISBN 978-0-297-82021-5
- We Should Know Better: Solving the Education Crisis, London: Fourth Estate, 1996. ISBN 1857025202
- Lucky George: Memoirs of an Anti-Politician, London: Allen Lane, 1999. ISBN 0713993162
- The New Elites: Making a Career in the Masses, London: Allen Lane, 2000. ISBN 0713993170
- Who's a Dandy?: Dandyism and Beau Brummell (including a translation of Du Dandysme et de Georges Brummel by Jules Barbey), London: Gibson Square, 2002. ISBN 1903933188
- God Won't Save America: Psychosis of a Nation, London: Gibson Square, 2006. ISBN 190393379X
- Time to Emigrate?, London: Gibson Square, 2006. ISBN 1903933935 (new edition 2007, ISBN 1906142009)
- China: A Wolf in the World?, London: Gibson Square, 2011. ISBN 1906142173
In 1970 George Walden married the art historian Sarah Hunt, daughter of Dr Thomas Hunt, physician to Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee and Anthony Eden. Her sister, Marigold, married the historian Paul Johnson. They have two sons and a daughter, the journalist, novelist and critic Celia Walden.
- WALDEN, George Gordon Harvey, Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011, accessed 21 Aug 2012
- The London Gazette, 1 February 1972
- Supplement to the London Gazette, 31 December 1980
- My Mentor: Celia Walden on George Walden The Independent, 4 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 April 2009)
- 'The evil that Stalin did'. An article by George Walden discussing a letter from Nikolai Bukharin to Stalin. Published online by Yale University Press.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by George Walden
|Principal Private Secretary
to the Foreign Secretary
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Buckingham