Patricia Rawlings, Baroness Rawlings
Patricia Elizabeth Rawlings, Baroness Rawlings (born 27 January 1939) is a Conservative Party politician and former frontbencher in the House of Lords. She was also a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1989 to 1994. She was Chairman of King's College London Council from 1998 to 2007, and was made a Fellow of King's College (FKC) in 2003. She was President of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations from 2002 to 2007, and President of the British Antique Dealers' Association 2005–2013. She is also a trustee of the Chevening Estate.
The Baroness Rawlings
11 May 2010 – 25 June 2012
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||The Baroness Crawley|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Gardiner of Kimble|
|Member of the European Parliament|
for Essex South West
15 June 1989 – 9 June 1994
|Preceded by||Alexander Sherlock|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
|Member of the House of Lords|
|Assumed office |
5 October 1994
|Born||27 January 1939|
(m. 1962; div. 1967)
|Alma mater||University College London|
Rawlings was educated in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. She trained as a nurse at Westminster Hospital and is an active member of the British Red Cross (she was awarded the British Red Cross national Badge of Honour in 1987). She was a mature student at University College London and studied for a postgraduate diploma in International Relations from the London School of Economics. She was awarded an Hon DLitt from the University of Buckingham in 1998.
Having unsuccessfully fought Sheffield Central in 1983 and Doncaster Central in 1987, Rawlings was elected at the 1989 European election as the MEP for Essex South West. That constituency was abolished for the 1994 European election when she was defeated by Labour's Hugh Kerr in the new Essex West and Hertfordshire East constituency.
She was created a life peer with the title Baroness Rawlings, of Burnham Westgate in the County of Norfolk on 5 October 1994 and entered the House of Lords where she held several frontbench positions. She served as an Opposition Whip (1997–1998), Spokesperson on Culture, Media and Sport (1997–1998), Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1998–2010) and International Development (1998–2010). Following the 2010 general election, she served as the Government Whip with responsibility for Culture, Media and Sport and for Scotland.
In 2002 Baroness Rawlings became involved in a controversy over a 1.8-acre (7,300 m2) piece of land, owned by King's College London, and formerly owned by St Thomas' Hospital. King's had instructed Jones Lang LaSalle to value the site, resulting in a valuation of £10 million. An offer to buy the land for up to £24 million came unexpectedly from the Aga Khan Development Network, causing opposition from St Thomas'. It was rumoured that Baroness Rawlings had engineered the unsolicited offer which she strenuously denied, saying that as Chairman of King's College London Council she knew absolutely nothing about any such bid. Baroness Rawlings insisted that it was a valuable part of the King's College London estate and that it should be sold to the highest bidder on the open market. The College eventually decided to retain the property.
Patricia Rawlings was married in 1962 to businessman David Wolfson, later Baron Wolfson of Sunningdale (1935-2021), but divorced in 1967; both partners held noble titles in their own right. She was the Honorary Secretary of Grillion's dining club, and a member of the Pilgrims Society.
She lives in Burnham Westgate Hall, a Sir John Soane-designed house in Burnham Market, Norfolk, with parkland of over 30 acres, which property was put up for sale in 2019 with a guide price of £3.8M. The house had been previously put up for sale by Baroness Rawlings, in 2011, with a price of £7M; Johnny Depp, the film actor, was said to want to buy the property at that time, but no sale occurred.
Foreign orders and decorations
- In 1991 Patricia Rawlings is the first British woman to be awarded the Order of the Rose (Silver), which was bestowed upon her by President Zhelyu Zhelev of Bulgaria, in recognition of her interest in Bulgaria. Rawlings is permitted to wear the decoration whenever she visits Bulgaria or goes to the Bulgarian embassy.
- For services to Anglo-Brazilian relations, she was awarded the Grand Official, Order of the Southern Cross from the Republic of Brazil in 1998.
- "Baroness Rawlings". UK Parliament. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- "Appointment of a Lord in Waiting (Government Whip) - News stories - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- "Site sale row may cost King's College £14m". 8 August 2002. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Culot, Caroline. "Frugal baroness to auction items from her Norfolk mansion". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 18 September 2019.