Baroness Royall of Blaisdon


Jan Royall is Somerville’s Principal.

She has had a distinguished career in politics, notably serving as Chief Whip in the House of Lords and then as Leader of the House from 2008-2010. She also served as Shadow Leader of the House of Lords from 2010-2015.

Prior to her parliamentary career, she was a senior adviser in the European Commission before heading its office in Wales. In 2004 she was appointed to the Lords as Baroness Royall of Blaisdon and in 2005 became a Government Spokesperson for Health, International Development, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Following a degree in Spanish and French at the University of London, Jan’s first job was importing flowers into Europe from Colombia but she soon started working in the world of politics. She spent six years working as General Secretary of the British Labour Group in the European Parliament, then went to work for then-Leader of the Opposition, Neil Kinnock.

Jan stepped down from frontbench politics in May 2015 in order to engage in her other interests, including youth policy, higher education, women, diversity and inclusion, democratic engagement, health, the EU, and foreign affairs, and she continues to speak out on these issues in the House of Lords from the backbenches. Jan is a trustee, patron and active supporter of many charities and organizations including Full Fact, the Centre for Opposition Studies, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and the ASHA Centre. She is co-chair of the Oxford inclusive Economy Partnership.  She was formerly chair of the People’s History Museum, Pro Chancellor of the University of Bath and Vice President of the Party of European Socialists. 

Jan works with governments, political parties and NGOs in many countries on democracy building, leadership, nurturing civil society and women’s empowerment.

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