London, 5 June 2018. The Delegation of Great Britain and Ireland of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George and the Royal Order of Francis I with much regret notes the passing on Saturday 2 June 2018 in London of the Rt Hon Sir Desmond de Silva QC, aged 78.
Sir Desmond was a prominent member and supporter of the Order’s Delegation in Britain and Ireland. He was invested as a Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Francis I (KCFO) at a ceremony held at Westminster Cathedral on 7 November 2001 presided over by then Grand Prefect HRH Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, now Duke of Castro and Grand Master.
Sir Desmond was one of Britain’s most prominent barristers having been called to the Bar in the Middle Temple in London in 1964, and appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1984. He was one of the most high-profile criminal Queen’s Counsel in England. He was a member of the Criminal Bar Association and the International Association of Prosecutors.
In 2002, the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him Deputy Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, at the level of an Assistant Secretary-General.
Annan later promoted him to the post of Chief Prosecutor at the higher level of Under Secretary-General in 2005. He brought about the arrest of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, who was convicted of war crimes at The Hague in 2011.
Sir Desmond was knighted by HM The Queen in the 2007 New Years Honours List as a Knight Bachelor and in 2011 was appointed to the Privy Counsel. He was a leading member of St John’s Ambulance in London for over 25 years and held the rank of Knight of the Most Venerable Order of St John (KStJ).
Additionally Sir Desmond held the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of St Maurice and St Lazarus (Royal House of Savoy) and in 2016 was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the White Eagle (Royal House of Serbia).
He was married for many years to HRH Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia, a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I and is survived by his daughter Victoria.
Sir Desmond will be greatly missed.
Rest in peace. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam. Requiescat in pace.