Baroness Falkender CBE (Lady Falkender) Biography


Born 10 March 1932 in Long Buckby, Northamptonshire and a graduate of Queen Mary College London, Marcia Field, later Marcia Williams and finally Lady Marcia Falkender was the political secretary to Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the head of his political office in Downing Street during the periods of his premiership 1964-1970 and 1974-76. The American equivalent would have been White House Chief of Staff.

Prior to Lady Falkender there was no Political Office that reported directly to the Prime Minster made up of his own personal and political appointees? Prime Ministers were rather dependent on the Civil Service for their advice. This represented an important constitutional change in the Office of the Prime Minister and a slap in the face for the vaunted impartiality of the Civil Service which hitherto had had a stainless reputation.

1964-1970 – Personal and Political Secretary to the Prime Minister

1970-1974 – Personal and Political Secretary to the leader of HM Opposition

1974-1976 – Personal and Political Secretary to the Prime Minister

1976-1995 – Personal and Political Secretary to Lord Wilson of Riveaulx

Columnist for the Mail on Sunday

Lady Falkender had a weekly column on the Mail on Sunday  1983-88.

House of Lords

Lady Falkender is currently the longest Labour member of the House of Lords. Although she has not made a speech in the Lords, she did attend and vote.

Books

She has been the author of two books about her time in Downing Street: Inside Number 10 and Downing Street in Perspective.

 The Silver Trust

Founder member of the Silver Trust a charity set up to supply Downing Street with its own silver service. Prior to the Silver Trust, Downing Street had to request silver from other governmental departments for state dinners.

Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister

She was an unpaid consultant for the BBC TV series Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. She appeared as the fictional character Dorothy who was brought in to give the Prime Minister personal and political advice separate from the Civil Service. This is the most accurate depiction of her in the British media.

Like Harold Wilson, she had a running battle with the British media, which more sophisticated sources attributed to a smear campaign.