Mary Archer

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Dame Mary Doreen Archer, Lady Archer of Weston-super-Mare, DBE (née Weeden; born 22 December 1944)[1] is a British scientist specialising in solar power conversion.

Early life and education[edit]

Mary Weeden studied chemistry at St Anne's College, Oxford and physical chemistry at Imperial College London before becoming a Cambridge University lecturer.


From 1988 to 2000, she was Chairwoman of the National Energy Foundation, which promotes improving the use of energy in buildings, and is now its president.[2] Mary is also president of the UK Solar Energy Society (UKISES). In 2002 she was appointed Chairwoman of Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, Cambridge. In 2002 she received the Melchett Medal on Realistic opportunities for renewables: innovative technology[3]

Other interests[edit]

In 1994, Lady Archer was a non-executive director of Anglia Television at a time when it was the target of a takeover bid. Following reports from the London Stock Exchange, the Department of Trade and Industry appointed inspectors on 8 February 1994 to investigate possible insider dealing contraventions by certain individuals, including her husband. No charges were brought.[citation needed]

Lady Archer was Chairman of Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for twenty years until 1st November 2012.[4]

Personal life[edit]


Mary Doreen Weeden became Mrs. Mary Archer when she married Jeffrey Archer in 1966. When he was granted a life peerage in 1992, she gained the title Lady Archer of Weston-super-Mare. In 1987 she gave evidence at the High Court in a libel case brought by her husband against the Daily Star newspaper. During his summing up at the end of the trial, Mr Justice Caulfield asked: "Has she elegance? Has she fragrance? Would she have, without the strain of this trial, radiance?"[5][6]

In 2001, when Jeffrey Archer was accused of perjury in the earlier trial, she appeared at the Old Bailey to defend him.[7] Jeffrey Archer was subsequently convicted and imprisoned for perjury. She is reported to have once said, "Jeffrey has a gift for inaccurate precis".[8]

She lives in the Old Vicarage, Grantchester, near Cambridge, the former home immortalised by Rupert Brooke in a poem of that title. She and her husband have two children: William and James. She is a patron of the Rupert Brooke Society and also serves as President of the Guild of Church Musicians. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to the National Health Service as chair of the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.[9][10]


In 2011, she revealed that she had recently undergone major surgery (removal of bladder) for bladder cancer at Addenbrooke's Hospital. Despite her husband's offer to pay for her to have this surgery privately, she opted to be treated as a standard NHS patient on the public wards of her local hospital.[11]