Rodric Braithwaite was born 17 May 1932, the son of Henry Warwick Braithwaite and Lorna Constance Davies; he was educated at Bedales School and Christ's College, Cambridge (1st class Modern Languages; Honorary Fellow, 1989). In 1961 he married Gillian Mary Robinson.
After his Military Service, 1950-52, Braithwaite joined the Foreign (subsequently Diplomatic) Service in 1955. His diplomatic career included: 3rd Secretary, Djakarta [Indonesia], 1957-58; 2nd Secretary, Warsaw [Poland], 1959-61; Foreign Office, 1961-63; 1st Secretary (Commercial), Moscow [Soviet Union], 1963-66; 1st Secretary, Rome [Italy], 1966-69; Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1969-72; (Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford, 1972-73); Head of European Integration Department (External), FCO, 1973-75; Head of Chancery, Office of Permanent Representative to EEC, Brussels [Belgium], 1975-78; Head of Planning Staff, FCO, 1979-80; Assistant Under Secretary of State, FCO, 1981; Minister Commercial, Washington [United States], 1982-84; Deputy Under-Secretary of State, FCO, 1984-88; Ambassador to Russia, 1988-92; Prime Minister's foreign policy adviser, 1992-93.
Braithwaite was awarded the GCMG in 1994 (KCMG 1988; CMG 1981).