Friday, September 10, 2021

Sir Antony Acland, KG, GCMG, GCVO 1930-2021

 Sir Antony Acland, KG, GCMG, GCVO, died 8 September, 2021. He was 91. 

Sir Antony was a diplomat and former Provost of Eton College, and a Knight of the Garter.

He was born Antony Arthur Acland, 12 March, 1930, scion of the Acland baronets, son of Brigadier Peter Bevil Edward Acland [1902-93], sometime High Sheriff of Devon and vice-Lord Lieutenant of the county, by his wife the former Bridget Susan Barnett [died 1996].

After studying at the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies, Acland was posted to Dubai and then Kuwait, then back to the Foreign Office as Assistant Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary (Selwyn Lloyd, then the Earl of Home) 1959–62. He then served at the UK Mission to the UN, first in New York 1962–66, then at Geneva 1966–68. Back at the FCO he was head of the Arabian department 1970–72.

Acland was Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary (Sir Alec Douglas-Home, then James Callaghan) 1972–75. He was Ambassador to Luxembourg 1975–77 and to Spain 1977–79. He was Deputy Under-Secretary at the FCO 1979–82, a post which then entailed chairing the Joint Intelligence Committee. In 1982 he was promoted to Permanent Under-Secretary and head of the Diplomatic Service. Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in April 1982 and Acland came into collision with the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, over the diplomatic response. 

Acland was Ambassador to the United States at Washington, D.C., 1986–91, then retired from the Diplomatic Service and was Provost of Eton College 1991–2000.

Acland was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford, helping to raise funds for the Institute's building and library.

He married firstly, 6 Nov, 1956, Clare Anne Verdon [who died 1984], daughter of Francis Reynolds Verdon, of Sidbury, Devon; married 2ndly, in 1987, Mrs Jennifer McGougan, daughter of Colonel Richard Charles Dyke.

He was appointed CMG in 1976, advanced to KCMG in 1982, and and further advanced to GCMG in 1986. He was appointed KCVO in 1976, and advanced to GCVO in 1991. Sir Antony was appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter in 2001.

Sir Antony's death leaves four vacancies among the Knights Companion of the Order of the Garter, following the deaths of Lord Carrington, Field Marshal Lord Bramall, and Lord Ashburton.

Sir Antony leaves two sons, Simon and Nicholas, and a daughter, Katherine, from his first marriage.


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