Ambassador Kim Darroch and his wife reflect on their first years in the British Embassy's Residence.
Settling in: Kim and Vanessa Darroch brought with them to DC a few tokens of their travels, including a silver jug (shown here behind the couple) that was gifted to Kim in Armenia 20 years ago. “It looks much better now,” he laughs, “because the staff here polished it.”
The life of British Ambassador Kim Darroch and his wife, Lady Vanessa Darroch, is a nonstop procession of meetings and events at their Massachusetts Avenue home. In a recent 36-hour stretch, Kim joined the UK’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, in New York with Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner; in the couple’s residence with foreign-policy correspondents; and on the Hill with Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Bob Corker, and Ben Cardin.
Last year, with all the working breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and cocktail parties, the residence held nearly 700 events. “If you’re not careful, you end up eating far too much—and drinking far too much!” says Kim.
The list of items that the couple brought with them from London is short but eclectic: banknotes with portraits of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi (“I have met in my time Arafat, Milošević, and Hussein,” says Kim in disbelief); family photos; and a picture of the couple’s cottage in Cornwall from the turn of the century.
The garden—with its perpetual parade of new orchids from a nearby greenhouse—is the couple’s favorite part of the house. “Everyone seems to have cherry trees or magnolias or dogwoods, so there’s a procession of these beautiful tree blossoms from the spring and summer,” says Kim. “The colors are amazing,” adds Vanessa. “We bought two dogwoods to plant in our garden at home in London so we can remember Washington.”