Lady Penelope Holmes

Penny Holmes was born in York, of Welsh parents. She studied Journalism and French after leaving school in Wales. She subsequently worked in advertising and marketing, banking and higher education. From 1976, she accompanied her husband, a British diplomat, on postings to Moscow, Paris and Delhi. During spells in London in between, she worked in publishing and finally set up her own catering business. In 1999, her husband was posted as Ambassador to Lisbon, moving in 2001 to Paris. While engaged in helping to manage the Residences, she also co-authored two cookery books in French, with a percentage of the royalties going to Marie Curie Cancer Care in France and in the UK. This led to a number of media appearances to promote modern British food in France. In 2007, when her husband went to the UN in New York as Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, she helped to establish UWAN (United Women of all Nations), which strove to keep the plight of women in conflict high on the agenda of the UN.  She joined the Leadership Circle of Women for Women International in New York and she is currently a Trustee of Women for Women UK and a member of the Policy Committee.  She is also on a fund-raising Committee for Marie-Curie Cancer Care UK. Lady Holmes now lives in Oxfordshire where her husband is Director of the Ditchley Foundation.