December 19, 2012
Lord Jay was, until his retirement, the Permanent Under-Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service. Following his retirement, Lord Jay was recommended for a life peerage, and this was gazetted as Baron Jay of Ewelme, of Ewelme in the County of Oxfordshire, on 18 September 2006. His wife, Sylvia, becomes Lady Jay (Sylvia) CBE.
He was born in Hampshire in June 1946 and educated at Winchester College, Magdalen College Oxford, of which he is an honorary fellow, and London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
After voluntary service as a teacher in Zambia, he joined the Ministry of Overseas Development in 1969, serving in London, Washington (at the World Bank) and in the British High Commission in New Delhi. In 1981 he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He served in the European Secretariat of the Cabinet Office from 1985-87, as Counsellor in the Paris Embassy from 1987-90, and in the Foreign Office as Director for European Affairs, then Director General for European and Economic Affairs from 1990-96. In 1996 he was a Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College Oxford. From July 1996 to September 2001 he was British Ambassador in Paris. In July 2001 he was appointed Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service, a post he took up on 14 January 2002 and retired from in July 2006.
In 2005 Lord Jay was, in addition, appointed the Prime Minister’s Personal Representative (Sherpa) to prepare the G8 Summit at Gleneagles.
As family friends of the Kirk Family, Lord Jay and Lady Sylvia met Helen on a number of occasions and were very supportive when she died. They were most willing to help the Foundation by becoming Patrons.
Lord Jay married Sylvia Mylroie in 1975. She has been Vice Chairman of L’Oreal UK since September 2005, Chairman of Food From Britain since January 2006, and is an independent Non-Executive Director of St-Gobain. She also chairs the Pilgrim Trust and is a Trustee of the Entente Cordiale Scholarship Scheme. Useful links for further information on those latter organisations are: