Harry J. Mace

PhD Candidate

I am a PhD candidate in Modern European History at Girton College. My research charts the shifting gender order of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in late twentieth-century Britain. For the first time, my study historicises 'diplomatic masculinity', and reconstructs how an androcentric institution (soon forced to change) impacted men’s and women’s working lives. I analyse how institutionally sanctioned gender ideals were interpreted and navigated by serving personnel in the British Diplomatic Service, and explore how men and women performed their gender at home and overseas from 1946 (when women were able to serve as diplomats) until the turn of the millennium (when ‘gender equality’ formed part of the vernacular). Drawing predominantly on my programme of 52 oral history interviews with former staff of all ranks, alongside Foreign Office and Civil Service Commission archives, the study examines the gender identities, sexualities, and subjectivities of British diplomats and home-based staff. It also explores their emotional politics, while charting how different generations (and classes) of men and women responded to the FCO’s changing institutional culture. 

I was awarded the Joyce Biddle and G M Gardiner Scholarships – alongside the Diane Worzala Memorial Fund – three times by Girton College for this research (2018-2021). I have published on women in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (forthcoming, 2020), written on Nazi-occupied France for the Women’s History journal, and on Anglo-French relations during the Cold war in Diplomacy & Statecraft. 

I am also co-editing a special issue, with Dr Carolina Armenteros, tentatively called 'A Queen's Power: Performing Gender and Monarchy in Europe, 1519-2019', as part of the proceedings from the 'Monarchy and Modernity' conference held at the University of Cambridge in January 2019.

I am predominantly interested in how gender shapes diplomacy and statecraft; especially professional dynamics within diplomatic institutions, and the behaviours/identities of civil servants, which brings my scholarship into contact with numerous disciplines. My research to date has focused on British foreign policy, gender and diplomatic history, and European monarchy. My research on diplomats intersects with broader scholarly interests in the histories of gender, feminism, masculinity, oral history methodology, diplomatic theory, alongside the histories of subjectivity, emotions, and selfhood. 

I have an ongoing academic interest in European monarchy, especially the Dutch and Scandinavian monarchies, and the role of crowned heads of state in national statecraft and diplomacy. I was granted special access to archives at the Dutch Nationaal Archief, which are not publicly accessible until 2054, and conducted oral history interviews with a number of European royals. Material from this research will appear in my book, CEO of the Netherlands: The Making of Beatrix, the Last Dutch Queen 1980-2013, which examines the Dutch queen’s ongoing political involvement in the formation of government cabinets until 2012, and royal diplomacy.

I am happy to supervise students for Paper 6: particularly on topics covering post-1945 British politics and foreign policy. 

I also teach college-based seminars on oral history methodology. 

I am a member of the GenDip network, led by Professor Ann Towns at the University of Gothenburg, who meet regularly to converse and write about gender and the diplomatic profession

I am also a member of the New York – Cambridge Training Collaboration (NYCTC); Women’s History Network, British International History Group, and Institute of Historical Research (UK).

Previously, I worked as a researcher/advisor for The National Archives UK on a project – with the Education Department – to extend diplomatic history to schools (2018-19), and served as Book Reviews Editor of the International History Review in 2016.


Tags & Themes


Girton College, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 OJG


Key Publications

H. J. Mace, 'The Eurafrique Initiative, Ernest Bevin and Anglo-French Relations in the Foreign Office, 1945-1950', Diplomacy & Statecraft, Vol. 28:4 (2017), pp. 601-618. 

H. J. Mace, 'French Children Under the Allied Bombs, 1940-1945: An Oral History, by Lindsey Dodd', Women’s History, 9 (Autumn, 2017), p. 12.