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Francis Leveson Bertie, 1st Viscount Bertie of Thame (pronounced /ˈbɑrtɪ ɘv ˈteɪm/, "barty of tame"[1]) GCB GCMG GCVO PC (17 August 1844 – 26 September 1919) was a British diplomat.

The second son of Montagu Bertie, 6th Earl of Abingdon, Bertie was educated at Eton College and entered the Foreign Office in 1863. From 1874 to 1880 he served as Private Secretary to Robert Bourke, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, and in 1878 attended the Congress of Berlin. He served as acting senior clerk in the Eastern department from 1882 to 1885, and then later as senior clerk and assistant under-secretary in that department. In 1902 he was rewarded for his services by being made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

In 1903, Bertie was appointed Privy Councillor and made Ambassador to Italy, and then in 1905 became Ambassador to France, a post previously held by his father-in-law, Henry Wellesley, 1st Earl Cowley. Bertie would hold the Paris embassy for the next thirteen years. Bertie, having spent most of his career in the Foreign Office, initially had some trouble adjusting to the role of ambassador, where he had far less control over the development of policy. But in his time at Paris Bertie was able to play a substantial role in strengthening the Entente Cordiale between France and Britain into a genuine alliance, encouraging strong British backing for France during the Moroccan Crises of 1905 and 1911. During these years, he was also showered with honors, being made GCVO in 1903, GCMG in 1904, and GCB in 1908, as well as receiving the French Legion of Honor.

Bertie was still ambassador in Paris when the First World War broke out in 1914. Although he was raised to the peerage as Baron Bertie of Thame in 1915, during the war he was frequently bypassed by special missions directly from the British government, particularly the military mission of Lord Esher, with whom he also came into personal conflict. When Bertie fell ill in April 1918, he was replaced by the Secretary of State for War, Lord Derby, and returned to England. On his retirement, Bertie was raised to a viscountcy. Bertie never fully recovered from his illness, dying in London on 26 September 1919.

Francis Leveson Bertie married in 1874 Lady Feodorowna Cecilia Wellesley (1838-1920), daughter of Henry Wellesley and grandniece of the Duke of Wellington. This marriage produced the only child Vere Frederick Bertie (1878-1954).



  1. ^ G.M. Miller, BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (Oxford UP, 1971), p. 14.

Primary sources

  • Francis Bertie, The Diary of Lord Bertie of Thame, 1914-1918, edited by Lady Algernon Gordon Lennox, D.B.E., with a foreword by Viscount Grey of Fallodon, New York, George H. Doran company [1924].

Secondary sources

  • Keith Hamilton, Bertie of Thame: Edwardian Ambassador, Woodbridge, Suffolk [England]: Royal Historical Society; Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 1990. ISBN 086193217X
  • "Bertie, Francis Leveson, first Viscount Bertie of Thame," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004-2007).
  • Zara S. Steiner, The Foreign Office and Foreign Policy 1898-1914 (Cambridge, 1969)

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
The Lord Currie
British Ambassador to Italy
Succeeded by
Edwin Egerton
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Monson
British Ambassador to France
Succeeded by
The Earl of Derby
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Viscount Bertie of Thame Succeeded by
Vere Frederick Bertie


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