Accessibility navigation

Obituary: Andrew Palmer

Andrew Palmer

The University community was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Andrew Palmer on 13 November.

A member of the illustrious Palmer family, benefactors of the University who have been an integral part of the institution’s history for well over a century, Andrew was born in 1937 and was educated at Winchester College before going on to study at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

His national service - much of it spent in what is present-day Malaysia - was a precursor to 35 distinguished years in Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service.

Andrew had a diverse range of assignments during his long career: he represented our country in places as varied as La Paz, Ottawa and Paris. His ‘home’ postings in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office saw him handle sensitive and complex issues, such as NATO and the Americas in the aftermath of the Falklands conflict.

After serving as the British Ambassador to Cuba while Fidel Castro was in power, Andrew became the Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, who held Andrew in high regard for many years.

Andrew’s final overseas posting was as Ambassador to the Vatican, engaging with Pope John Paul II and earning plaudits from both the diplomatic and religious communities for his work.

With a career of such distinction, it was unsurprising that Andrew was honoured twice; first with the Royal Victorian Order in 1981 and then becoming a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1987.

Andrew took a keen interest in the affairs of the University, and upon retiring from the Diplomatic Service, served on the University Council from 1998 to 2008. In this role he contributed to a range of areas including fundraising, student accommodation and professional promotions.

Andrew was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Museum of English Rural Life, playing a highly influential role in establishing the museum at London Road, and took part in the fundraising effort to extend and refurbish the museum in 2016.

As a Visiting Fellow in the School of Politics, Economics and International Relations, Andrew also collaborated with colleagues to run a weekly seminar in the MA module, Diplomacy from 1945 to the Present. This ran for more than a decade.

In 2016, the University’s 90th anniversary year, Andrew stepped down from his position as Chairman of The Friends of the University after 11 years, a role he took great pride in fulfilling. In the same year Andrew was presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.

Andrew Palmer was a true friend of the University over many years, and he will be sorely missed by a great many among our community.

Page navigation

Search Form

Main navigation