Nigel Baker

Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

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1st August 2016 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

Time of transition

Nigel Baker presents credentials to Benedict XVI (2011)

“There can be only one” – not only the tag-line from the “Highlander” movies, but also the rules about Ambassadors accredited to each State. There can only be one official Ambassador in a country at a time.  So there is always a gap between one leaving and the next arriving – which is another opportunity […]

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7th July 2016 Holy See

Simona Prete

Head of Communications, British Embassy to the Holy See

Ask our Ambassador in the Holy See

Twitter Q&A HMA Holy See

On Thursday 14 July at 10:30-11:30 am (UK time), our Ambassador Nigel Baker will be online to bid farewell to the numerous followers of @UKinHolySee Twitter handle, after five exciting years as British Ambassador to the Holy See. You can tweet your questions in advance to #AskHMA about the depth and importance of the modern […]

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28th June 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Completing the mission

HMA Holy See Nigel Baker bids farewell to thePope at the end of his ambassadorial mandate

On 23 June I was given the honour, along with my family, of a farewell audience with Pope Francis. It was not the moment to discuss political or global developments, but to make reference to the depth and importance of the modern relationship between Britain and the Holy See. Characteristically, His Holiness chose to encapsulate […]

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16th June 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Disruptive dialogue

50th anniversary of Anglican Centre at Westminster Abbey

An important event I attended this week was a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome. The Dean was joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a range of ecumenical guests from Rome and the Catholic Church, from Orthodox and Methodist churches, and including the Pope’s Secretary […]

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8th June 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Celebrating The Queen at the Holy See

Ninety balloons for #Queenat90

Like other embassies and high commissions around the world, the British Embassy to the Holy See took the opportunity this week to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. In traditional British fashion, our garden party was accompanied by a downpour of rain, but it didn’t appear to dampen the spirits of the many guests […]

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26th May 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Catholic religious on the front line

Baroness Anelay and Catholic religious

Baroness Anelay, Foreign Office Minister and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, paid a brief visit to Rome last week. The main focus of her trip was to meet religious men and women from Catholic congregations working in Africa and elsewhere to help the victims of sexual violence in conflict. The […]

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18th May 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Pontifical Diplomacy

HMA Holy See Nigel Baker and Pope Francis

The international activism and high profile of Pope Francis has generated renewed interest in the nature and practice of the Holy See’s diplomacy. Just in the last week, the Pope visited the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy – the papal diplomatic college – to meet the young priests preparing there to take up their role as a […]

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11th May 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Honouring Msgr O’Flaherty: a man who saved lives

Msgr O'Flaherty plaque at Vatican

In November 2014, I posted a blog about Msgr Hugh O’Flaherty, an extraordinary man who, during WWII, took risks for the Church, and saved lives. The next chapter in his story was written earlier this week, when family members, relatives of those he had saved and those who had worked with him, and others keen to […]

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6th May 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Pope Francis wins UK Green Ribbon award

COP21 conference, Le Bourget, France

The Green Ribbon awards are amongst Britain’s most prestigious environmental awards. They are awarded by The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), the leading independent Chartered professional body for water and environment professionals, which promotes excellence within the sector. They have been presented since 1993, and aim to celebrate the greatest environmental achievements […]

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29th April 2016 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

Britain and Human Rights

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report was published on 21 April.  This report is aimed at increasing awareness of the UK’s role in promoting human rights work overseas, and to encourage countries to uphold and maintain their international human rights record. The Report lists 30 human rights priority countries: these […]

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About Nigel Baker

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2003-6) and then as British Ambassador in La Paz, Bolivia (2007-11). In July 2016, Nigel finished his posting, and is currently back in London.

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provided a regular window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The blogs covered a wide range of issues, from Royal and Ministerial visits to Diplomacy and Faith, freedom of religion, human trafficking and climate change.

More on Nigel’s career

Nigel was based in London between 1998 and 2003. He spent two years on European Union issues (for the UK 1998 EU Presidency and on European Security and Defence questions), before crossing St James’s Park to work for three years as The Assistant Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At St James’s Palace, Nigel worked on international issues, including the management of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits and tours, on the Commonwealth, interfaith issues, the arts and international development.

Nigel spent much of the early part of his FCO career in Central Europe, after an initial stint as Desk Officer for the Maghreb countries in the Near East and North Africa department (1990-91). Between 1992 and 1996, Nigel served in the British embassies in Prague and Bratislava, the latter being created in 1993 after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics.

Nigel joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in September 1989. Between 1996 and 1998 he took a two year academic sabbatical to research and write about themes in 18th century European history, being based in Verona but also researching in Cambridge, Paris and Naples. The research followed from Nigel’s time as a student at Cambridge (1985-88) where he read history and was awarded a First Class Honours degree, followed by his MA in 1992.

Before joining the Foreign Office, Nigel worked briefly for the Conservative Research Department in London at the time of the 1989 European election campaign.

Nigel married Alexandra (Sasha) in 1997. They have one son, Benjamin, born in Bolivia in September 2008.

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