Rennell Rodd, 1st Baron Rennell
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Rennell
GCB GCMG GCVO PC
|British Ambassador to Italy|
|Preceded by||Edwin Henry Egerton|
|Succeeded by||George Buchanan|
|Member of Parliament for St Marylebone|
|Preceded by||Douglas McGarel Hogg|
|Succeeded by||Alec Cunningham-Reid|
|Born||James Rennell Rodd
9 November 1858
|Died||26 July 1941|
|Spouse(s)||Lilias Georgina Guthrie|
James Rennell Rodd, 1st Baron Rennell, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, PC (9 November 1858–26 July 1941), known as Sir Rennell Rodd before 1933, was a British diplomat, poet and politician. He served as British Ambassador to Italy during the First World War.
Rodd was the only son of Major James Rennell Rodd (1812–1892) and his wife Elizabeth Anne Thomson, daughter of Anthony Todd Thomson. On his father's side he descended from the geographer James Rennell. Rodd was educated at Haileybury and Balliol College, Oxford, where he was associated with the circle of Oscar Wilde. Wilde later assisted Rodd in securing publication for his first book of verse, Rose Leaf and Apple Leaf, for which Wilde provided an introduction. As Wilde began to court scandal in his public career, their friendship subsequently cooled.
He entered the Diplomatic Service in 1883 and served in minor positions at the British embassies in Berlin, Rome, Athens and Paris. From 1894 to 1902 Rodd worked under the Consul-General of Egypt Lord Cromer. He played an important part in negotiating the Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1897 with Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. In late 1901 he was appointed First Secretary at the embassy in Rome, where he arrived in 1902 and remained for the next two years. In 1904 Rodd was made Minister plenipotentiary to Sweden (and until November 1905, Norway), but did not arrive until 17 January 1905. He played an active and neutral part in the dissolution of the Union between Sweden and Norway, for which he was rewarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star by King Oscar II. After the secession he continued as a Minister in Sweden until 1908.
The latter year he was appointed Ambassador to Italy. He was to remain in this post until 1919, and played a key role in securing Italy's adhesion to the Entente cause. Rodd left the Diplomatic Service in 1919 but nonetheless served on the mission to Egypt in 1920 with Lord Milner and was British delegate to the League of Nations from 1921 to 1923. He also sat as Unionist Member of Parliament for St Marylebone between 1928 and 1932.
Writer and scholar
Apart from his diplomatic services Rodd was also a published poet and scholar of ancient Greece and Rome. He published his memoirs, entitled Social and Diplomatic Memories, in three volumes between 1922 and 1925. His diaries were published in 1981 by Torsten Burgman, and edited by Victor Lal in 2005.
Rodd was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1897, Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1899, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in 1905, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in 1915, and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the 1920 New Year Honours. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1908 and in 1933 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Rennell, of Rodd in the County of Hereford.
Lord Rennell of Rodd married Lilias Georgina Guthrie, daughter of James Alexander Guthrie, in 1894. They had four sons and two daughters. His third son, Peter Rodd, married the author Nancy Mitford, daughter of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale and one of the famous Mitford sisters. His eldest daughter Evelyn Violet Elizabeth Rodd was a Conservative politician and was created a life peer as Baroness Emmet of Amberley in 1965. His second daughter, the Hon. Gloria Rodd, married the painter Simon Elwes, by whom she had a four sons, including the portrait painter Dominick Elwes, who had three sons with Tessa Kennedy, including actor Cary Elwes.
Rennell Rodd, 1st Baron Rennell died in July 1941, aged 82, and was succeeded in the barony by his second but eldest surviving son, Francis, who later served as President of the Royal Geographical Society.
- Social and Diplomatic Memories of James Rennell Rodd
- Sir Walter Raleigh at Internet Archive
- Frederick, Crown Prince and Emperor: a Biographical Sketch Dedicated to his Memory at Internet Archive
- Social and Diplomatic Memories at Internet Archive
- Love, Worship and Death; some renderings from the Greek Anthology at Internet Archive
- Songs in the South at Internet Archive
- Feda: with other poems, chiefly lyrical at Internet Archive
- The Princes of Achaia and the Chronicles of Morea, a study of Greece in the middle ages at Internet Archive
- The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece at Internet Archive
- The Violet Crown at Internet Archive
- Ballads of the Fleet and other Poems at Internet Archive
- Poems in Many Lands at Internet Archive
- The Unknown Madonna, and other Poems at Internet Archive
- Rose Leaf and Apple Leaf with introduction by Oscar Wilde at Internet Archive
- An Englishman in Greece with introduction by Sir Rennell Rodd at Internet Archive
- The British mission to Uganda in 1893 edited and with a memoir by Rennell Rodd at Internet Archive
- Legg, L. G. Wickham, Williams, E. T (editors). The Dictionary of National Biography, 1941-1950. Oxford University Press, 1959.
- Portraits of Lord Rennell at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Rennell Rodd
- Works by Rennell Rodd at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Rennell Rodd at Internet Archive
Sir William Barrington
|Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
to the King of Norway
Sir Arthur Herbert
|Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
to the King of Sweden
Sir Cecil Spring-Rice
Sir Edwin Egerton
|British Ambassador to Italy
Sir George Buchanan
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Douglas McGarel Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham
|Member of Parliament for St Marylebone
1928 – 1932
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation||Baron Rennell
1933 – 1941
Francis Rodd, 2nd Baron Rennell