Joe Biden to appoint America’s first female ambassador to Britain in 45 years.
Jane Hartley, a former ambassador to France, is due to arrive at the Court of St James’s in a few weeks.
As a cheerleader for the Democratic president, she raised millions of dollars for his White House campaign.
While some backers abandoned Mr Biden after a faltering start to his election bid last year, Miss Hartley remained loyal and proved a great ‘bundler’, organizing and soliciting donations that usually came in the form of bundles of checks.
The ambassadorship, one of the most prestigious diplomatic posts in the President’s gift, is her reward.
She will move with her husband, banker Ralph Schlosstein, to Winfield House, a beautiful mansion in Regent’s Park with 12 and a half acres of garden – the second largest private garden in London after Buckingham Palace.
Miss Hartley, mother of two grown children and a twin brother, is a celebrated hostess. Invitations to her parties at Winfield House will be in high demand.
Jane Hartley arrives at the Court of St James’s in weeks to become the first female US ambassador to the UK in 45 years
Hartley was a former ambassador to France. Pictured: Hartley with former US President Barack Obama and French officials in Paris in 2015
Mr Schlosstein, the chairman of Evercore investment bank, is estimated to be worth £125m and the pair are a power couple in the financial world.
The appointment of Miss Hartley, 71, which has been confirmed by Washington sources, comes after a long delay in finding the right person for the job.
The first choice, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, reportedly turned down the offer. Colin Powell, George Bush’s first secretary of state, also excluded himself.
Anne Armstrong was the first female US ambassador to the UK. She was appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1976 and served 16 months.
A veteran Democratic supporter, Miss Hartley worked in the White House from 1978 to 1980 when Jimmy Carter was president. She entered the private sector as a TV manager, followed by 20 years at an economic consultancy, the Observatory Group.
After raising around £2 million for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, he appointed her ambassador to France for three years in 2014.
She swore her oath of office at a ceremony with the then vice president, Mr. Biden. She was ambassador when three coordinated teams of Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers carried out a wave of attacks across Paris, killing 130 people in November 2015.
As ambassador, she asked American artist Jeff Koons to create an appropriate work in tribute to the victims of the attacks.
It was partly inspired by the Statue of Liberty, but where Lady Liberty’s hand is holding a torch, Koons’ sculpture of a huge white hand grips a bouquet of multicolored balloon tulips.
Hartley helped raise millions for US President Joe Biden’s White House campaign
When the work, called Bouquet of Tulips, was unveiled in 2019 in a park behind the Petit Palais just off the Champs-Elysees, there was a deafening chorus of criticism. The creation soon became known as the ‘Tulips of Discord’.
There will be a number of pressing issues on Miss Hartley’s in-tray, including climate change. Biden will attend the COP26 environmental summit in Glasgow in November and Boris Johnson, who will host the summit, will fly to the US later this month in hopes of talks with his counterpart.
Biden has made no secret of his distaste for Brexit and his concern that friction over border controls in Northern Ireland could affect the peace process that Tony Blair and President Bill Clinton negotiated in the 1990s.
Relations between Downing Street and the White House have also been strained recently due to the speed of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
But the president and prime minister often speak on the phone.
The White House will also have noted that on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, the Coldstream Guards played the US national anthem at Windsor Castle, following a request from the Queen.
Contrary to the delay over Miss Hartley’s nomination, former US President Donald Trump announced billionaire businessman and sports team owner Robert “Woody” Johnson as the UK ambassador before he was even elected.
As with all ambassadorial posts, Miss Hartley will have to undergo confirmation in the US Senate before officially taking the helm.
Last year, Dame Karen Pierce was appointed British Ambassador to the US, becoming the first woman to hold the post.