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Obituary: Lord Peter Carrington

Lord Peter Carrington

Lord Peter Carrington (centre)

Professor Brian Palmer (Emeritus) shares his memories of Lord Peter Carrington.

The University of Reading has an impressive list of former Chancellors, but none so distinguished as Lord Peter Carrington. 

His CV speaks for itself – a lifetime of service at the highest level. But not only did he have a military career of distinction, he went on tirelessly to fill senior offices of state. He acted always with the highest moral and ethical standards. The most memorable example is probably his resignation from the post of Foreign Secretary at Margaret Thatcher’s decision to unleash the Falklands war against Argentina.

Peter was never a doctrinaire politician dominated by sectarian party politics - he followed his own convictions about what was desirable to enhance people’s lives. He was a born cross-bencher, accepting good ideas and innovations, without any narrow party prejudice. 

Lord Carrington never sat behind his own status, titles and nobility and always met people at the level which put them at their ease. 

When I was introduced to him the first time, as the Dean who would be presenting a candidate for an Honorary DLitt, he said simply: “I’m really pleased to meet you Brian. Do call me Peter.” I met him frequently over the four years of my Deanship and occasionally thereafter, and always benefited from his rare and wonderful gift of a memory which allowed him to continue where we had last left off. He, with his equally charming wife, also opened his incredible family home annually to Members of the University Women’s Club and spouses. He spoke of his good fortune in living in such wonderful surroundings and was genuinely pleased to share it all with his visitors.

The University has lost an exceptional former Chancellor; the world has lost a truly great man.

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