Katy Balls Katy Balls

Five things to know about the new UK ambassador to the US

When diplomatic cables leaked to the Mail on Sunday last year revealing that the UK’s man in Washington Sir Kim Darroch had described the Trump administration as ‘inept’ and ‘incompetent’, the ambassador was forced to resign. Since then there has been much speculation over who would succeed him and work to rebuild UK/US diplomatic relations. While everyone from Nigel Farage to Sir Mark Sedwill had been tipped for the job, today the government announced that Karen Pierce – the ambassador to the UN in New York and Permanent Representative at the UN Security Council – has been appointed to the role.

At the UN, Pierce developed a good working relationship with Boris Johnson while he was Foreign Secretary, and is also known to have impressed President Trump. She has previously served as the UK’s Ambassador to Afghanistan – as well as roles in Tokyo and Geneva. The sense in government is that she is well placed to work on UK/US relations and also carries a wealth of experience from a wide-ranging diplomatic career.

So, what will Pierce bring to her new role? Last year, I sat down and interviewed the diplomat for The Spectator‘s Women with Balls podcast. The full podcast is available here – below are five takeaways from the discussion:

  • Pierce decided she wanted to be a diplomat age 12 after coming across a photograph in a magazine of the diplomat Eleanor Hicks, United States Consulate in Nice:

    ‘There was something very compelling about the photograph, arresting blue sky, dark blue sea, grey aircraft carrier and this fantastic woman was dressed in white so the image was very compelling and then I went and read the story and it explained what she did and I thought that sounds like a fantastic job.’


  • Pierce

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