Rodric Braithwaite was born in London in 1932, when his father Warwick was a conductor at Sadler’s Wells Opera. Educated at Bedales School, he served as a sergeant in military intelligence in Vienna, and studied French and Russian at Cambridge. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1955 and had postings in Jakarta, Warsaw, Moscow, Rome, Brussels (EU) and Washington. He was on the Sherpa team for the G7 Summits (1984-8), ambassador in Moscow (1988-1992), and Foreign Policy Adviser to Prime Minister Major and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (1992-3). Thereafter he was a Governor of the English National Opera, Chairman of the Royal Academy of Music, and Senior Adviser to Deutsche Bank. He was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford (1972-3) and at the Wilson Center in Washington (2005), and has honorary doctorates from Buckingham and Birmingham universities, and an honorary fellowship at Christ's College Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music.

He has published ”Across the Moscow River” (2002); “Moscow 1941: A City and its People at War” (2006); “Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-1989” (2011); “Coming of Age in Warsaw: A Cold War Story” (published privately in 2014); and "Armageddon and Paranoia: The Nuclear Confrontation" (2017). His “Russia: Myths and Realities” is due to be published in autumn 2022.. He regularly speaks and writes on Russia and other matters. In 1961 he married Jill (Gillian Robinson), an archaeologist and former diplomat, who died in November 2008. They have five children (one deceased).