Robert Wade-Gery was born 22 April 1929, the only son of the late Professor H. T. Wade-Gery; he was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford (1st class Hon. Mods 1949 and Lit. Hum. 1951; Hon. Fellow, 1985. Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford, 1951-73, 1987-89). In 1962 he married Sarah, elder daughter of A. D. Marris, CMG.
Wade-Gery joined the Foreign (now Diplomatic) Service, in 1951, and his career included: Foreign Office (Economic Relations Department), 1951-54; Bonn [Germany] 1954-57; FO (Private Secretary to Permanent Under-Secretary, later Southern Department), 1957-60; Tel Aviv [Israel], 1961-64; FO (Planning Staff), 1964-67; Saigon [Vietnam], 1967-68; Cabinet Office (Secretary to Duncan Committee), 1968-69; Counsellor 1969; on loan to Bank of England, 1969; Head of Financial Policy and Aid Department, FCO, 1969-70; Under-Secretary, Central Policy Review Staff, Cabinet Office, 1971-73; Minister, Madrid [Spain], 1973-77; Minister, Moscow [Soviet Union], 1977-79; Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet, 1979-82; High Commissioner to India, 1982-87.
He was awarded the KCMG in 1983 (CMG 1979); KCVO 1983.