Today I represented the UK at the commemoration of the Battle of the Marne, which raged for 5 days from 5 September 1914 and was one of the turning points of WW1. From the start of the War in early August, the German Armies advanced relentlessly across Belgium and into France. The French forces, and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) that had come to join them, fell back under the … The Battle of the Marne
Rummaging in my library, I found the following blog-post left by my predecessor, with remarkable prescience, to be posted exactly 100 years later! It recounts a dramatic meeting that really did take place in the Residence on 1 September 1914 directly related to the conduct of the War, and in which my predecessor took a courageous stand. As he recounts… What a day it has been! I am leaving … Guest blog: Sir Francis Bertie meets Sir John French and Lord Kitchener in Paris
Now we’re in the summer season, millions of British people, literally, come to France every year, and almost everyone has a wonderful holiday. That’s obviously what we want in the Embassy as well.
I think one of the most important parts of my job as ambassador is to make sure that the links between Britain and France are continuing into the next generation.
We’ve just had an extraordinary few days here with the State Visit of Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh – but of course there’s a lot else happening in the world as well. I talked before about my foreign minister William Hague’s initiative on preventing sexual violence in conflict. Well, the big summit in London is now underway. Four days focused on this crucial issue.
We’re three days away from the State Visit of Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Excitement is rising in the Embassy as we approach it. Why is this visit going to be so special? First of all, because the Queen stands for so much in the relationship between Britain and France.
Next week, we will be commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy, and, for the UK, we have the honour of Her Majesty The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in Normandy for 6 June, joined by HRH The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and briefly His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, and the Duchess of Cambridge. They will be going to … Commemorating D-Day: the past and the future
For far too long, rape and sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war, particularly against women. It makes conflict worse, it prolongs the effects of conflict, and it makes reconciliation far more difficult. Two years ago my Foreign Secretary William Hague, working with Angelina Jolie, who is the UN Special Envoy on these issues, decided to mobilise world opinion against this terrible practice.
On May 6th we are organising an event here in the Embassy on the theme of applying innovation and excellence to raise achievement. We’re calling it ‘Aiming Higher’ and our star guest will be Sir Dave Brailsford
This week I reflected for a French-speaking audience on the strong British economic recovery. The Chancellor, George Osborne, gave an interview to the French newspaper Les Echos on this subject, which was published today. Next Monday, I’ll be previewing a talk we’re organising here with Sir David Brailsford, head of Team Sky. Feel free to come back then!