The royal family’s role in British diplomacy

The involvement of Britain’s royal family in diplomacy “gives us extra ability to make a difference in certain areas,” Sir Peter Westmacott, the British ambassador to Washington, says on this week’s episode of “Conversations with Nicholas Kralev.”

Westmacott, a former deputy private secretary to Prince Charles during his marriage to Princess Diana, recalls the princess’ role in changing attitudes toward HIV/AIDS patients and raising awareness about the danger of land mines. He says the main focus of British diplomacy today is the “prosperity agenda” aimed at producing economic growth and jobs at home through trade and investment.

A Foreign Service officer since 1972 and a former ambassador to France and Turkey, Westmacott also talks about the “very modest amount of politicization” in the Foreign Office in London, where the number of political appointees has increased slightly in recent years, though Britain still relies on its career diplomats much more heavily than the United States does.

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