William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp

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Lord Beauchamp as Governor of New South Wales in 1899

William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp, (February 20, 1872 - November 15, 1938), British politician, succeeded his father as Earl Beauchamp in 1891, and was mayor of Worcester at age 23. A progressive in his ideas, he was surprised to be offered the post of Governor of New South Wales in May 1899. Though good at the job, he was unpopular in the colony, and Beauchamp returned to Britain in 1900, where he joined the Liberal Party.

Beauchamp was Lord Steward of the Household to King Edward VII and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1906. He served in the Liberal Government as Lord President of the Council from June to November 1910, First Commissioner of Works from 1910 to 1914, Lord President again from 1914 to 1915 and was Liberal Leader in the House of Lords from 1924, supporting the failing party with his substantial fortune.

Beauchamp was made Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire in 1911, carried the Sword of State at the coronation of King George V, was made Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1913 and a Knight of the Garter in 1914. He was also Chancellor of London University, a Six Master (Governor of RGS Worcester) and Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms.

In 1931, he was "outed" as a homosexual to the King and Queen by his violently Tory brother-in-law, the Duke of Westminster, who hoped to ruin the Liberal Party through Beauchamp. Homosexuality was a criminal offence at the time, and the King was horrified, saying "I thought men like that shot themselves." There was no public scandal, but Lord Beauchamp resigned all his offices, except the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports, and went into exile on the Continent. He died of cancer in New York, aged 66.

Lord Beauchamp is generally supposed to have been the model for Lord Marchmain in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited.


Preceded by:
The Viscount Hampden
Governor of New South Wales
1899–1901
Succeeded by:
Sir Harry Rawson
Preceded by:
The Lord Belper
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms
1905–1907
Succeeded by:
The Lord Denman
Preceded by:
The Earl of Liverpool
Lord Steward
1907–1910
Succeeded by:
The Earl of Chesterfield
Preceded by:
The Viscount Wolverhampton
Lord President of the Council
1910
Succeeded by:
The Viscount Morley of Blackburn
Preceded by:
The Earl Brassey
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
1913–1934
Succeeded by:
The Marquess of Reading
Preceded by:
The Viscount Morley of Blackburn
Lord President of the Council
1914–1915
Succeeded by:
The Marquess of Crewe

Template:End box


Preceded by:
Frederick Lygon
Earl Beauchamp
Succeeded by:
William Lygon

Template:End box

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