St Andrews couple reach their 60-year milestone

Professor Reginald Christian and his wife, Rosalind
Professor Reginald Christian and his wife, Rosalind

Emeritus Professor of Russian at St Andrews University, Professor Reginald Christian, and his wife, Rosalind, yesterday(Thursday) celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

The couple first met in Liverpool in 1951. Professor Christian was a newly-appointed lecturer in Russian at Liverpool University, and his wife-to-be was a Cambridge University graduate undertaking social work, having resigned her teaching post in Winchester.

They met at a lecture being given by Professor Christian about his experiences as a diplomat in the Soviet Union and were married the following spring at the Quaker Meeting House in Jordans, Buckinghamshire, where Mrs Christian had been a member.

Professor Chistian was born in Liverpool in 1924 and educated at Queen’s College, Oxford, where his classical studies were interrupted by wartime flying service in the Royal Air Force.

On resuming his university studies, he took up Russian - graduating with First Class honours in 1949.

Following a spell as an attache at the British Embassy in Moscow, he left the Foreign Office for an academic career, first at Liverpool and later as professor of Russian at Birmingham University.

He was appointed to the Chair of Russian at St Andrews in 1966 where he remained until his retiral in 1992.

Professor Christian held visiting professorships at McGill University, Montreal, and the prestigious Insitute of Foreign Languages in Moscow.

A former president of the British Universities Association of Slavists, he has lectured at the United Nations and served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts at St Andrews University.

Professor Christian’s particular interests are in 19th century Russian literature and his publications include Tolstoy’s War and Peace, A Study, Tolstoy, a Critical Introduction and comprehensive editions of Tolstoy’s letters and diaries.

He is also joint author of Russian Syntax and, more recently, has published a biography of a Russian political emigre befriended by Sir David Russell.

Since his retirement, he and his wife have divided their time between St Andrews and their house in Pitlochry.

The couple’s son, Giles, is a member of the university staff at St Andrews, while their daughter, Jessica, is the joint author with her husband of a book inspired by many happy family holidays on the island, entitled Iona Portrayed.