Born in 1953 and educated at home until the age of 12, then at Malvern Girls’ College, Lady Cowper-Coles went on to do bilingual secretarial course at Cambridge Tech and then to study Arabic at SOAS.
Having worked for MEED (Middle East Economic Digest) in their photo archive, she went to live in Cairo with her sister where, in 1981, she met and married Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, a diplomat at the Cairo Embassy. They have five children.
During a posting in Kabul Lady Cowper- Coles became obsessed with the need for us to help the people of Afghanistan – especially women and children. “Education has to be my highest priority for helping them to help themselves out of their economic misery.”