Veronica Sutherland

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Dame Veronica Evelyn Sutherland, DBE, CMG (born 25 April 1939) is a former British career diplomat who served in government from 1965 until 1999, including a stint as Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. After retiring from HM Diplomatic Service, she was appointed President of the Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge from 2001 until 2008.


Born to Lt Col Maurice Beckett and Constance Cavenagh-Mainwaring, Veronica Evelyn Sutherland was appointed Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General with responsibility for economic and social affairs. She was the first woman to hold this post and to serve the Commonwealth at such a high rank. She took up her Commonwealth post in February 1999, succeeding Sir Humphrey Maud, KCMG, who was retiring. She said at the time:

During the course of my lifetime the Commonwealth has left behind its imperial past and grown into a mature and dynamic, modern organisation of 54 equal and sovereign nations. I am excited by the prospect of making an active contribution to the Commonwealth as an increasing force for good in the world.[citation needed]

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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir David Blatherwick
UK Ambassador to Ireland
Succeeded by
Sir Ivor Roberts
Academic offices
Preceded by
Baroness Pauline Perry
President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Janet Todd