Frances D'Souza, Baroness D'Souza

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The Right Honourable
The Baroness D'Souza
Baroness D’Souza of Wychwood (cropped).jpg
Lord Speaker
Assumed office
1 September 2011
Preceded by Baroness Hayman
Convener of the Crossbench Peers
In office
6 November 2007 – 31 August 2011
Preceded by The Lord Williamson of Horton
Succeeded by The Lord Laming
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
1 July 2004
Nominated by Tony Blair
Monarch Elizabeth II
Personal details
Born Frances Gertrude Claire Russell
(1944-04-18) 18 April 1944 (age 78)
Sussex, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party non-affiliated (Speaker)
Other political
Crossbench (until 2011)
Spouse(s) Stanislaus Joseph D'Souza
(1959–1974 & 2003–present)
Martin John Griffiths (1985–94)
Committees Procedure Committee (2005–present)
House (2007–present)
Selection; Privileges; Liaison; Administration and Works (2007–2011)[1]

Frances Gertrude Claire D'Souza, Baroness D'Souza, CMG, PC (born 18 April 1944) is a British scientist and life peer in the House of Lords. She is currently Lord Speaker, having taken office on 1 September 2011.

Early life, education and early career

Frances Gertrude Claire Russell, the daughter of Robert Anthony Gilbert and Pauline (née Parmet) Russell, was educated at St Mary's School, Princethorpe and went to University College London to read Anthropology, graduating BSc in 1970. She subsequently undertook further study at Lady Margaret Hall, obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) in 1976 from the University of Oxford. She worked for the Nuffield Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition from 1973–77, Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University) from 1977–80, and was an independent research consultant for the United Nations from 1985-88.


In 1959 she married Dr Stanislaus D'Souza; they had two children, but divorced in 1974. From 1985–1994 she was married to Martin Griffiths. In 2003 she and Stanislaus remarried. Their elder daughter is the journalist Christa D'Souza.[2][3]


D'Souza was invested as a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1999.[4]

House of Lords

D'Souza was created a life peer as Baroness D'Souza, of Wychwood in the County of Oxfordshire on 1 July 2004.[1] She sat as a Crossbencher in the House of Lords, where she was the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers from 2007 to 2011 with attendance "well above average".[2][5]

On 13 July 2011, D'Souza was elected Lord Speaker of the House of Lords and began her new role on September 2011.[6] D'Souza now formally sits as a non-affiliated member of the House of Lords.

In December 2015 the results of a Freedom of Information request [7] revealed that D'Souza spent £230 to keep a chauffered car waiting while she watched a performance of Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana with the chairman of the Federation Council of Russia. The journey was just a mile from the Houses of Parliament. She spent £270 holding a car for four and a half hours while she had lunch with the Japanese ambassador in central London, and £738 keeping a luxury Mercedes parked for up to 10 hours during an event at Windsor Castle. It was also revealed that a 10-day official trip to Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan in the autumn of last year cost nearly £26,000.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Baroness D'Souza". UK Parliament. Retrieved 6 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Convenors of the Crossbench Peers". The office of the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers. Retrieved 25 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "My parents' love affair comes full circle". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Index to British Orders". Retrieved 9 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Baroness D'Souza". They Work For You. Retrieved 6 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Baroness D'Souza elected new Lords Speaker". BBC News. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Lord Speaker's expenses reveal £230 bill for chauffeur to wait outside opera". The Guardian. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Williamson of Horton
Convenor of the Crossbench Peers
Succeeded by
The Lord Laming
Preceded by
The Baroness Hayman
Lord Speaker
Order of precedence in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland
Preceded by
Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy
Lord Speaker
Succeeded by
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
to the United Kingdom
Order of precedence in Scotland
Preceded by
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
to the United Kingdom
Lord Speaker
Succeeded by
Tricia Marwick MSP
(Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament)