Ronald Lindsay

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The Right Honourable
Sir Ronald Lindsay
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-05479, Sir Ronald Lindsay.jpg
Sir Ronald Lindsay in 1928.
Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs
In office
Preceded by Sir William Tyrrell
Succeeded by Sir Robert Vansittart
British Ambassador to the United States
In office
1930 – June 1939
Monarch George V
President Herbert Hoover
Franklin Roosevelt
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Stanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by Sir Esme Howard
Succeeded by The Marquess of Lothian
Personal details
Born 3 May 1877
Died 21 August 1945 (1945-08-22) (aged 68)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) (1) Martha Cameron
(died 1918)
(2) Elizabeth Sherman Hoyt

Sir Ronald Charles Lindsay GCB KCMG CVO PC (3 May 1877 – 21 August 1945) was a British civil servant and diplomat. He was Ambassador to Turkey from 1925 to 1926 and to Germany from 1926 to 1928, Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 1928 to 1930 and Ambassador to the United States from 1930 to 1939.

Background and education[edit]

Lindsay was the fifth son of James Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford, by Emily Florence Bootle-Wilbraham, daughter of Colonel the Honourable Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, second son of Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Baron Skelmersdale. David Lindsay, 27th Earl of Crawford, was his elder brother.[1] He was educated at Winchester.


Lindsay was appointed Third Secretary in the Diplomatic Service in January 1901,[2] and advanced to First Secretary in 1911.[3] From 1913 to 1919 he was Under-Secretary of Finance for Egypt,[1] and was made a Grand Officer of the Order of the Nile by the Sultan of Egypt in 1915.[4] From 1919 to 1920 he was Councillor of the Embassy in Washington D.C.,[5] before being posted as Minister Plenipotentiary to France in September 1920.[6] Following this, in 1921, he was appointed the Assistant Under-Secretary of State for the Foreign Office, a post he held until 1924. In 1925, he was appointed the Ambassador to Turkey[7] and was sworn of the Privy Council later that year.[8] In 1926, he moved to become Ambassador to Germany.[9] He returned to London in 1928 to become the Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the civil service head of the Foreign Office.[1] After two years as Permanent Secretary, Lindsay was named as the Ambassador to the United States in November 1929 and took up the position early the next year.[10][11] He was the first ambassador to move into the brand-new British embassy in 1930,[12] and remained in Washington for almost a decade, retiring in June 1939 to be replaced by Lord Lothian.[5]

Lindsay served an extraordinarily long term of nine years as U.S. ambassador, his tenure being extended because of his effectiveness as a diplomat and the growing importance of American assistance during the years leading up to World War II.[13] His last major official act as ambassador was to host the 1939 Royal Garden Party for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during the first-ever visit to the United States by a reigning British monarch.[14] Their visit was controversial, given the then strong “America First” isolationism prevalent in the country, and the Royal Garden Party at the British Embassy was considered the social event of the year in Washington.[15][16]

Lindsay was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in 1908,[17] a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1922,[18] a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1924,[19] and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1926.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Lindsay was married twice, both times to Americans; in 1909 to Martha Cameron, daughter of J. Donald Cameron and his wife Elizabeth Sherman Cameron; after her death in April 1918, he married Elizabeth Sherman Hoyt, daughter of Colgate Hoyt, in 1924. Both wives were grandnieces of William Tecumseh Sherman. There were no children from either marriage.[1][5] Lindsay died in August 1945, aged 68. Lady Lindsay died in September 1954, aged 68.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d Rt. Hon. Sir Ronald Charles Lindsay
  2. ^ "No. 27300". The London Gazette. 29 March 1901. p. 2194. 
  3. ^ "No. 28563". The London Gazette. 19 December 1911. p. 9562. 
  4. ^ "No. 29368". The London Gazette. 16 November 1915. p. 11320. 
  5. ^ a b c "New Ambassador", in Time, 1 May 1939
  6. ^ "No. 32081". The London Gazette. 12 October 1920. p. 9886. 
  7. ^ "No. 33027". The London Gazette. 6 March 1925. p. 1602. 
  8. ^ "No. 33069". The London Gazette. 24 July 1925. p. 4935. 
  9. ^ "No. 33222". The London Gazette. 19 November 1926. p. 7475. 
  10. ^ "No. 33592". The London Gazette. 28 March 1930. p. 1960. 
  11. ^ "Ambassador Ronald", in Time, 25 November 1929
  12. ^ "A History of the Gardens of the Ambassador's Residence, British Embassy, Washington". Landscape of a Washington Place. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  13. ^ "The End of the Lindsay Era and the Beginning of the War Years in the Embassy’s Gardens.". Landscape of a Washington Place. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  14. ^ "The Royal Garden Party.". Landscape of a Washington Place. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  15. ^ "Film footage: The Royal Visit, British Embassy.". Landscape of a Washington Place. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  16. ^ "The Aftermath of the Royal Garden Party.". Landscape of a Washington Place. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  17. ^ "No. 28131". The London Gazette. 24 April 1908. p. 3077. 
  18. ^ "No. 32716". The London Gazette. 2 June 1922. p. 4322. 
  19. ^ "No. 33007". The London Gazette. 30 December 1924. p. 4. 
  20. ^ "No. 33179". The London Gazette. 2 July 1926. p. 4405. 
  21. ^ "The Education and Career of an Embassy Gardner.". Landscape of a Washington Place. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Horace Rumbold, Bt
British Ambassador to Turkey
Succeeded by
Sir George Clerk
Preceded by
The Lord D'Abernon
British Ambassador to Germany
Succeeded by
Sir Horace Rumbold, Bt
Preceded by
Sir Esme Howard
British Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lothian
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir William Tyrrell
Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Vansittart