Britain's former US ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer dies on holiday in France

29 July 2022, 16:07

Sir Christopher Meyer who has died on holiday in France
Sir Christopher Meyer who has died on holiday in France. Picture: Alamy

By Stephen Rigley

Britain's former US ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer has died aged 78 after suffering a stroke in the French Alps.

The former diplomat, who was also press secretary under John Major died while on holiday with his wife Catherine.

Confirming his death on Twitter, the current ambassador Karen Pierce wrote: "Very sad to see former British Ambassador to the US Christopher Meyer has died.

"He was one of my predecessors, but I first met him 30 years ago when we served under Robin Renwick.

"He was a great diplomat and a great character. All our thoughts are with Catherine and his family."

"Saddened to hear of the death of Sir Christopher Meyer. He was a dedicated public servant throughout his career and devoted his life to international diplomacy. My thoughts are with his wife Catherine and his loved ones," he posted on social media.

Former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt added: "So sorry to hear that Sir Christopher Meyer has passed away. A great public servant and friend. I loved his passion for his country, his warmth and humour. Thoughts with his family and all who loved him."

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Sir Christopher served as ambassador to the US for six years from 1997, having previously been press secretary to then Conservative Prime Minister John Major between 1994 and 1996.

His memoirs, DC Confidential, released in 2005, centred on his time in Washington and were heavily critical of Tony Blair over his handling of the period leading up to the Iraq War.

After retiring from the diplomatic service, Sir Christopher served as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission between 2003 and 2009, his time there coinciding with the phone hacking scandal and the jailing in 2007 of the News of the World reporter, Clive Goodman, and the enquiry agent, Glenn Mulcaire.

As the scale of the scandal grew he was criticised for not having brought more those responsible to account, despite lacking the powers to actually do so.