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Penelope, Viscountess Cobham CBE


lady cobham

Lady Cobham became Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in May 2024.

She is Deputy Chairman of the UK–St Helena Trust (formerly the British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust). She has recently co-authored two books related to Napoleon Bonaparte. She is a member of the Rand Europe President’s Impact Forum. Rand Europe is a not-for-profit, non partisan policy research organisation.

Lady Cobham chaired VisitEngland, the national tourist board, until 2016, having previously been Deputy Chairman of VisitBritain. She has worked as a Special Adviser on heritage and tourism to the Culture Secretary and served, inter alia,on the boards of English Heritage, the V&A, Historic Royal Palaces, the Museums and Galleries Commission, the Historic Houses (Association), the Countryside Commission and the London Docklands Development Corporation. She was Chairman of the Museum Prize Trust for 20 years and chaired the Civic Trust.

For two decades Penny opened to the public her Grade I Georgian home, Hagley Hall, and developed a flourishing functions business whilst converting listed estate buildings into workshops, flats and offices. She recently completed work advising on the restoration of a major Grade I London house in Bedford Square.

She was Deputy Chairman of Pagefield Communications and was Chairman of Heart Midlands Radio, sitting also on the board of Heart London. She has worked as Director General of The 5% Club, encouraging employers to develop more apprenticeships.

She has also worked as adviser to Ernst & Young (EY), Farrer & Co and Citi Private Bank.

In 2014 she was awarded the CBE for services to tourism.

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