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The Seventh Earl Beauchamp

A Victim of His Times

Peter Raina

The 7 th Earl Beauchamp was a prominent figure in English public life in the years 1900–30, but his career ended in scandal. He was barred from English soil, his reputation was destroyed and his papers were withheld from public view. In this book, Peter Raina uses previously unreleased documents to reassess Beauchamp’s life and legacy.
Born into the aristocracy, Beauchamp was driven by a sense of noblesse oblige and devoted his life to public service. Though some of this was ceremonial, Beauchamp was keen to involve himself in practical politics, where he showed his independence of mind. He joined the Liberals as they pushed through change against obstruction from his own landowning class. He championed Irish Home Rule. In 1914 he opposed entry into the war and lost any chance of promotion. However, he remained deeply loyal to his party even after its split and decline, and worked tirelessly in its cause.
His life touched on great events such as the formation of Australia and, in Britain, the great reforms of 1906–9, the 1911 Parliament Act, the crisis of 1914, the creation of the Irish Free State, the Liberal collapse, the first Labour government and the economic slump. Through all these, he busied himself in party affairs, but one aspect of his private life worked against him and, in a Sophoclean twist, he fell from grace.
This book documents the Earl’s involvement in politics, explores his personality and looks carefully at the issues that brought him down. In the light of this analysis, it is hoped that historians will recognize his significant contribution to the events of his day.


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Chapter 23. The Earl’s Death


Chapter 23 The Earl’s Death On 15 November 1938, Earl Beauchamp died of cancer in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. His two daughters and his young- est son were at the deathbed, and the eldest son, Elmley, just managed to arrive in time. Beauchamp’s last words were: ‘Must we dine with the Elmleys tonight?’1 Again it was poor Elmley who had the misfortune to receive the let- ters of condolence:2 1 From the Chairman of the Malvern Urban District Council To the right Hon. Viscount Elmley Madresfield, Malvern 16 November 1938 My Lord, On behalf of the Malvern Urban District Council, may I render to you and the other members of the family our sincere condolence on the death of your father, Earl Beauchamp. I, personally, knew your father for many years and remember what a great loss he was to public life when he gave up his public appointments a few years ago. I am aware of the great interest he took in matters affecting Malvern and dis- trict, as well as in public affairs generally, and can well understand the great loss that you have sustained. I beg, therefore, to tender the sincere sympathy of the Urban District Council and myself. Yours faithfully, 1 Quoted in Jane Mulvagh, Madresfield, op. cit., p. 405. 2 Source: Beauchamp Papers, op. cit. 466 Chapter 23 Chairman [Signature illegible] 2 42 Brynston Square London, W.1 29 December 1938 Dear Lord Beauchamp, Please accept my sincere...

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