Antony Acland was born 12 March 1930, the son of the late Brigadier P. B. E. Acland, OBE, MC, TD and of Bridget Susan Acland; he was educated at Eton and Christ Church College, Oxford (MA 1956). In 1956 he married (first), Clare Anne Verdon (died 1984), having two sons and one daughter; in 1987 he married (second), Jennifer McGougan (née Dyke).
Acland joined the Diplomatic Service in 1953. His career included: Middle Eastern Centre for Arab Studies, 1954; Dubai, 1955; Kuwait, 1956; Foreign Office, 1958-62; Assistant Private Secretary to Secretary of State, 1959-62; UK Mission to UN, 1962-66; Head of Chancery, UK Mission, Geneva [Switzerland], 1966-68; FCO, 1968, Head of Arabian Department, 1970-72; Principal Private Secretary to Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, 1972-75; Ambassador to Luxembourg, 1975-77, to Spain, 1977-79; Deputy Under-Secretary of State, FCO, 1980-82, Permanent Under-Secretary of State, FCO, and Head of Diplomatic Service, 1982-86; Ambassador to Washington [United States], 1986-91.
His honours and awards include: KG, GCMG 1986 (KCMG 1982; CMG 1976); GCVO 1991 (KCVO 1976).