Joe Biden is to appoint America’s first woman ambassador to Britain in 45 years.
Jane Hartley, a former ambassador to France, will arrive at the Court of St James’s within weeks.
A cheerleader for the Democratic President, she raised millions of dollars for his White House campaign.
While some donors deserted Mr Biden after a faltering start to his election bid last year, Miss Hartley stayed loyal and proved a major ‘bundler’, organising and soliciting donations that usually arrived in the form of bundles of cheques.
The ambassadorship, one of the most prestigious diplomatic postings in the gift of the President, is her reward.
She will move with her banker husband Ralph Schlosstein into Winfield House, a magnificent mansion in Regent’s Park with 12 and a half acres of garden – the second largest private garden in London after Buckingham Palace.
A mother of two grown-up children who has a twin brother, Miss Hartley is a celebrated hostess. Invitations to her parties at Winfield House will be much sought after.
Jane Hartley will arrive at the Court of St James’s within weeks, becoming 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 officals in Paris in 2015
Mr Schlosstein, the chairman of Evercore investment bank, is worth an estimated £125million and the pair make up a power couple in the world of finance.
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 mayor Michael Bloomberg, reportedly turned down the offer. Colin Powell, who was George Bush’s first Secretary of State, also ruled himself out.
Anne Armstrong was the first woman US ambassador to the UK. She was appointed in 1976 by President Gerald Ford and was in the post for 16 months.
Miss Hartley, a veteran Democratic supporter, worked in the White House between 1978 and 1980 when Jimmy Carter was President. She went into the private sector as a TV executive, followed by 20 years at an economic consulting firm, the Observatory Group.
Having raised around £2million for Barack Obama’s presidential re-election campaign in 2012, he appointed her ambassador to France for three years in 2014.
She swore her oath of office in 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 that killed 130 people in November 2015.
As ambassador, she asked the American artist Jeff Koons to create an appropriate work in homage to the victims of the attacks.
It was partly inspired by the Statue of Liberty, but where the hand of Lady Liberty holds a torch, Koons’s sculpture of a huge white hand grips a bouquet of multi-coloured balloon tulips.
Hartley helped to raise millions for US President Joe Biden’s White House campaign
When the work, called Bouquet of Tulips, was unveiled in a park behind the Petit Palais just off the Champs-Elysees in 2019 there was a deafening chorus of criticism. The creation rapidly became known as the ‘tulips of discord’.
There will be a number of pressing issues in Miss Hartley’s in-tray including climate change. Mr Biden is to 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 hoping for talks with his opposite number.
Mr 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 negotiated by Tony Blair and President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Relations between Downing Street and the White House have also recently been strained over the speed of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
But the President and the Prime Minister often speak on the telephone.
The White House will also have noted that the Coldstream Guards played the American national anthem at Windsor Castle on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, after a request from the Queen.
In contrast to the delay over Miss Hartley’s appointment, the previous 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 ambassador postings, Miss Hartley will have to undergo a confirmation in the US Senate before officially taking over.
Last year Dame Karen Pierce was made British ambassador to the US, becoming the first woman to hold the post.