Barbro Noel-Baker at Achmetaga (Prokopi), 2000.
Barbro Noel-Baker was born in Norkoeping, Sweden, and studied English literature and Chinese at the University of Stockholm. In 1949 she joined the Swedish Foreign Office and served in Stockholm and at the Swedish embassies in Buenos Aires and Peking. She married Francis Noel-Baker, a British Labour Member of Parliament and son of the Labour MP and Nobel Peace prize winner Philip Noel-Baker, in 1957, the year after he had inherited the Achmetaga estate from his mother, Irene. Francis was the fourth generation of Noels to run the estate since it had been purchased from the Ottomans in 1832.
Barbro Noel-Baker was a gifted linguist, and knew several languages; she had a wide knowledge of literature and the fine arts, and had a particular interest in the iconography of the Orthodox Church of which she became a member.