US Royal Ambassador to London Responds to Netflix Hit ‘The Diplomat’

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On a quiet Friday morning, Jane D. Hartley sat in the garden room of Winfield House, the stately home of the American ambassador in London, listing the many ways he was her life is different from that of Kate Wylerthe fictional ambassador played by Keri Russell in the popular Netflix drama The diplomat.

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“The concept of being able to fly from country to country without ever raising your hand on Capitol Hill,” Hartley said, noting that Ambassador Wyler he never had to undergo Senate confirmation. “I’m sorry, it doesn’t happen.”

“I also don’t have a DCM who brings coat hangers into my office and tells me what to wear,” she said, referring to the deputy head of mission, who serves as the ambassador’s fashion stylist in the series. “I wear my clothes.”

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Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to Great Britain, in front of Winfield House.  Photo: Tom Jamieson/The New York Times

Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to Great Britain, in front of Winfield House. Photo: Tom Jamieson/The New York Times

The most viewed series

Blend of spy thriller and soap operaThe Diplomat debuted last month as the most watched series on Netflixand remains among the 10 most viewed.

It has become a compulsive showman in foreign policy circles, easy to ridicule for its twists and turns. a la Bond and Bournebut also a source of gratification among diplomats, who feel that Hollywood is finally showing them the recognition it has given to CIA operatives for so long (although the series also has one).

“It’s about time we were the heroes,” says Matthew Palmer, deputy head of mission in London.

Suddenly, Hartley finds that his job it is an object of fascination, including at the highest levels of the State Department and the White House. He says Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor, they questioned her on the details of the eight-part series, after watching it.

As Hartley’s meeting with a reporter drew to a close, her husband, Ralph Schlosstein, walked across the hall to up the stairs. Investor on Wall Street, he divides his time between New York and London.

Actress Keri Russell.  Photo: AP

Actress Keri Russell. Photo: AP

But he doesn’t attend Hartley’s meetings with British officials or wrestle with her on the outside lawn of Winfield House during a visit by the US president, as Wyler and her husband Hal did. a zealous high-octane diplomat played by British actor Rufus Sewell.

“I think my safety could do something about it if that happened,” said Hartley, 73. Fundraising for the Democratic Party, in a good mood and with good contacts. She is her second coveted post, having been ambassador to France from 2014 to 2017 (John Adams is the only other U.S. ambassador stationed in both Paris and London).

As a television executive, Hartley includes creative licenses which is usually taken from Hollywood. He will host Russell at Winfield House on Tuesday, who played the memorable role of a Russian spy asleep on the Americansand series creator Debora Cahn, whose credits include Homeland and The West Wing, to discuss how The Diplomat tackles real diplomacy.

“In pop culture, diplomats often support gamers,” Palmer explains. “In the movie, we could be the ones who walk in during the meeting and say, ‘But what about the long-term relationship risks?

Actor Rufus Sewell.  Photo: AP

Actor Rufus Sewell. Photo: AP

Palmer’s fictional counterpart, Stuart Hayford (played by Ato Essandoh) doesn’t just help dress the ambassador. He is her constant companion to her, advising her on the president’s plans to hire her as vice president and helping her plot crazy plansLike when he sneaks into the British Foreign Secretary’s office to meet an Iranian envoy, who dies instantly.

Hayford’s character is also dating the CIA station chief.

None of that

In real life, Palmer does none of these. Instead, he runs the embassy, ​​one of the largest US diplomatic facilities in the world, with 1,100 employees. But in his spare time, Palmer has written four diplomatic thrillers, allowing you to appreciate both fine detail and missteps.

Portraits of Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower in Kate Wyler’s office they are copies of Hartley’s.

Aaron Snipe, an embassy spokesman who tweeted a sort of fact-check about the series, noted that although the producers have rented a stately mansion outside London as a stand-in for Winfield House, digital technology used to add the BT Tower, visible from their rear windows.

The Nonplausible begins with the premise of the series and its emphasis on the delicate function of national security of the ambassador

Keri Russell with Matthew Rhys, in the series The Americans.

Keri Russell with Matthew Rhys, in the series The Americans.

Kate Wyller, career diplomat With a history of risky missions, she is diverted to London from Kabul, Afghanistan after a deadly attack on a British aircraft carrier. She dreads throwing garden parties, but instead she finds herself at the center of American and British foreign policy during a Tom Clancy-style geopolitical crisis.

Diplomats say nonone of this feels like the actual job of a political ambassadorespecially against a close ally like Britain, when top national security officials on both sides have each other’s mobile numbers on their speed dials.

“The reality is that Jake Sullivan will pick up the phone and call his counterpart, and the ambassador will find out later,” said Lewis A. Lukens, who was deputy chief of mission for Hartley’s predecessor, Robert Wood Johnson IV.

That’s not to say that the British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, hasn’t cultivated friendly ties with Hartley. He chatted with her over whiskey at the Ambassador’s Christmas party at Winfield House.

The Foreign Office granted the producers of The Diplomat exceptional access to film inside their large headquarters in Whitehall. Cleverly also plans to record a video for Netflix to do so promote the series.

In real life, Foreign Ministers of the United States Antony Blinken (right) and United Kingdom, James Cleverly.  Photo: Reuters

In real life, US Foreign Ministers Antony Blinken (right) and United Kingdom, James Cleverly. Photo: Reuters

“The series captures the informality of really good meetings in the foreign secretary’s office, minus the people dying,” said Matthew Barzun, who was an ambassador during the Obama administration.

The key to maintaining your sanity, Barzun said, is not worrying about being in every critical meeting. During your tenure, you visited British colleges, where you spoke to students about what they admired — and distrusted — about the United States.

With his business connections, Hartley said he intended to focus on apprenticeship and training programs for British youth, reviving a project he had started in Paris.

The last ambassador whose career remotely resembles Russell’s character is Raymond GH Seitz, sent to London by President George HW Bush in 1991. Seitz, a career diplomat who had already served there twice, learned of his new assignment when he was called from a Brussels bar after attending a NATO meeting. The president was on the phone.

The entrance to Winfield House, Jane Hartley's residence.  Photo: Tom Jamieson/The New York Times

The entrance to Winfield House, Jane Hartley’s residence. Photo: Tom Jamieson/The New York Times

“When I walked in, I knew half the cabinet,” said Seitz, now 82, from his home in New Hampshire. “Because he was from Washington, he also knew what people thought of Europe. Plus, he was charming. Let’s not overlook him.”

Such a winner was Seitz that President Bill Clinton decided to keep him in place after he entered the White House. This meant that Seitz had to deal with the consequences of Clinton’s decision to do so grant a visa to Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, a political party linked to the clandestine Irish Republican Army.

Prime Minister John Major, friend of Seitz, he was so enraged that he refused to speak to Clinton.

Hartley got an idea of ​​the tensions generating Northern Ireland. President Joe Biden recently paid a short visit to Belfast, followed by a more sedate tour of the Republic of Ireland, where he celebrated his Irish roots, a disparity that has attracted scathing coverage in right-wing British newspapers.

Last week, at a Democratic fundraiser in New York, Biden said he came to Belfast to make sure “Brits don’t mess around” with Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading status.

It wasn’t a lethal attack on a British warship, as in The Diplomat, but on Hartley it was a distraction in a “special relationship” that she says is closely aligned with Northern Ireland, as well as the war in Ukraine and other issues.

“I’ve known him for a long time,” she said of the president. “His roots are in Ireland.” He then added diplomatically: “Biden also has English roots.”

Source: Clarin

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