Pilgrims Society

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The Pilgrims Society, founded on 16 July 1902, is a British-American society established, in the words of American diplomat Joseph Choate, 'to promote good-will, good-fellowship, and everlasting peace between the United States and Great Britain'.


Over the years it has boasted an elite membership of politicians, diplomats, businessmen, and writers who have included Henry Kissinger, Margaret Thatcher, Caspar Weinberger, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Henry Luce, Lord Carrington, Alexander Haig, Paul Volcker, Tom Kean[disambiguation needed] and Walter Cronkite to mention a very few. Members of the immediate Royal Family, United States secretaries of state and United States ambassadors to the Court of St. James are customarily admitted to membership in the Society.


The Society is notable for holding dinners to welcome into office each successive U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. The patron of the society is Queen Elizabeth II.


The first informal meeting of the Pilgrims of Great Britain included General Joseph Wheeler, Colonel (later General Sir) Bryan Mahon, the Hon Charles Rolls and Harry Brittain.

The first meeting of the Pilgrims of the United States was at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on 13 January 1903.

The Pilgrims of Great Britain and the Pilgrims of the United States have reciprocal membership.

Executive Committee members, as of 2015, are:

  • Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL (President)
  • Ronald M Freeman (Chairman)
  • Sir Michael Craig-Cooper CBE TD DL (Honorary Secretary)
  • Ian E Barlow DL FCA (Honorary Treasurer)
  • Robert Alston CMG
  • Sir Peter Bottomley MP
  • The Right Hon the Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony
  • Ambassador John J Danilovich
  • W Kenneth Gardener
  • The Right Hon the Lord Janvrin GCB KCVO
  • Deborah Owen
  • David Skidmore OBE FRCS
  • Mark V Eban
  • Sir John Holmes GCVO KBE CMG
  • Lady Judge CBE
  • Alastair Macpherson of Pitmain
  • Marshal of the Royal Air Force the Lord Stirrup KG GCB AFC
  • Diane Simpson
  • Sir Stephen Wright KCMG
  • Elizabeth Dibble, American Minister

Noteworthy members[edit]


  • "The Pilgrims". Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  • Baker, Anne Pimlott (2002). The Pilgrims of Great Britain: A Centennial History. London: Profile Books. ISBN 1-86197-290-3. 
  • Baker, Anne Pimlott (2003). The Pilgrims of the United States: A Centennial History. London: Profile Books. ISBN 1-86197-726-3.