The Royal Commonwealth Society is incorporated by Royal Charter. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is our Patron and is supported by our inaugural Vice-Patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall in her role as Vice-Patron of the Society. The Society is governed by the Council which consists of the Chair, Treasurer and Trustees, as well as the President. 

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall GCVO

Mario Testino ©

Council Members 

Dr Linda Yueh

Executive Chair 

Dr Linda Yueh is an economist at Oxford University, London Business School and LSE IDEAS. She is also a widely published author. 

Bryan Cassidy


Bryan spent over 30 years in the financial services industry in a variety of senior operation roles. His last position prior to retirement was Chief Operating Officer at C Hoare & Co.

Samantha Cohen CVO

Samantha is Co-Chair of Cool Earth and Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council. She has served as Private Secretary to TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Assistant Private Secretary to The Queen for eight years and Head of Royal Communications at Buckingham Palace, having joined the Royal Household in 2001. Prior to this, Samantha worked as an adviser to the Australian government in the areas of Indigenous Affairs, and Mining and Resources, and in the private sector in the UK.

Sarah Haidry 

Sarah was previously the Company Secretary and Royal Liaison for The Prince’s Trust Group, a founding Trustee of Prince’s Trust International and member of the Council of the National Trust.

Renée Horton-Coker

Renée has over 25 years’ experience as a systems integration consultant specialising in Programme and Project Management.  In 1999  Renée  co-founded SLWT a UK based charity promoting education, health and self-sufficiency of children and youth in Sierra Leone. Most recently she co-founded a foundation called LEADA - providing leadership coaching and skills in Sierra Leone and Liberia. 

Pinky Lilani CBE DL
Pinky is an entrepeneur who combines her love for food with her passion for leadership. She is the Founder and Chairman of the Women of the Future Programmes, an associate fellow of the Said Business School, University of Oxford and an Ambassador of the Tiffany Circle of the Red Cross. 

Katherine Mathieson 

Katherine is Chief Executive at the British Science Association. Before this she held a number of roles at a range of science organisations including the Forensic Science Service, Science Line and the pharmaceutical company Merk. Katherine is a volunteer for Girlguiding UK and a Trustee of the Enthuse Trust.

David Stead

David is Executive Director of Philanthropy and Development at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). Before joining CAF David held CEO/Director roles with major legal firms, KPMG, Accenture, UBS and RBS. David is also on the Board of Wave Trust and IESE Foundation.

Douglas Tweddle CBE

Doug Tweddle was the Director of HMRC responsible for customs and international relationships. Since his retirement, he has been an advisor to Governments on customs issues in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Americas. 


The Rt. Hon. the Lord Howell of Guildford PC

Lord Howell has served the UK for over 50 years both as an MP and as a Member of the House of Lords. He served in the administrations of Heath, Thatcher and Cameron and most recently as Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2010-2012) with special responsibilities for the Commonwealth. 


His Highness The Aga Khan IV

The Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC

Commonwealth Secretary-General

Advisory Group

Their Excellencies the Commonwealth High Commissioners to the United Kingdom 

Sir Shirdath Ramphal GCMG QC, Second Commonwealth Secretary-General (1975-1990)

Chief Emeka Anyaoku GCVO CFR, Third Commonwealth Secretary-General (1990-2000)

The Rt Hon Don McKinnon ONZ GCVO, Fourth Commonwealth Secretary-General (2000-2008)

Kamalesh Sharma GCVO, Fifth Commonwealth Secretary-General (2008-2016)