Sunday, 25 October 2020

The battle of the brothers by biographer and historian Robert Lacey // VIDEO: The battle of the brothers: how deep is the alleged rift between Princes William and Harry?

From bestselling author and historical consultant to the award-winning Netflix series The Crown, an unparalleled insider account of tumult, secrecy and schism in the Royal family.


The world has watched Prince William and Prince Harry since they were born. Raised by Princess Diana to be the closest of brothers, how have the boy princes grown into very different, now distanced men?


From royal insider, biographer and historian Robert Lacey, this book reveals the untold details of William and Harry’s closeness and estrangement, asking what happens when two sons are raised for vastly different futures – one burdened with the responsibility of one day becoming king, the other with the knowledge that he will always remain spare. How have William and Harry both agreed and diverged in their views of what a modern royal owes to their country? Were the seeds of damage sowed by Prince Charles and Princess Diana as their marriage unraveled for all the world to see? In the previous generation, how have Prince Charles and Prince Andrew’s own relations strained under the Crown? What role has Queen Elizabeth II played in marshalling her feuding heirs? What parts have Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle played in helping their husbands to choose their differing paths? And what is the real, unvarnished story behind Harry and Meghan’s dramatic departure?


In the most intimate vision yet of life behind closed doors, with its highs, lows and discretions all laid out, this is a journey into royal life as never offered before.


9 Royal Tabloid Controversies Explained in Robert Lacey’s Battle of Brothers


In the new book about the rift between Prince Harry and Prince William, the British press might just be the third most important character.



OCTOBER 21, 2020


In his new book, Battle of the Brothers: William and Harry—The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, Robert Lacey, royal expert and historical consultant to the The Crown, tells the story of the recent schism separating Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from the rest of the royal family from the very beginning: when Prince Charles and Princess Diana first met. According to Lacey, the roots of Harry’s eventual disillusionment are seen pretty clearly in the cold and difficult relationship between his parents and the ways his mother pushed back against royal strictures.


The story of Charles and Diana has been told before, and so has the story of Meghan and Harry. But in his version, Lacey takes a closer look at the way the press itself shaped the lives of the people they were writing about as everything unfolded. He examines how the family participated with the press, reporting that Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall, had a weekly telephone appointment with a journalist from the Sun throughout the 80s, where she would share tidbits she gleaned from her phone conversations with Charles. He also discusses the way explosive press battles between Charles and Diana had an impact on William and Harry’s upbringing. In one poignant moment, Lacey writes that William’s boarding school had subscriptions to national newspapers, but on a day his parents’ arguments led the news, they were not distributed to the students to avoid causing him distress.


Treating the press as a significant force—and some of the leading royal correspondents as characters—means that Lacey brings a new eye to some of the biggest tabloid controversies and mysteries of the last quarter century. Here are some of the most fascinating ones.


William welcomed Camilla into the family—but she was surprised by his temper. Camilla remained friendly with Charles throughout his marriage to Diana, and though there is some debate about when their affair began, Lacey reports that William and Harry never met their future stepmother until after Diana’s death. They did know about her, and William finally met her in 1998 when he made a surprise visit to Charles and Camilla at home. Though he was friendly, the meeting stressed Camilla out. “I need a gin and tonic,” she told a friend she said afterward, before pouring herself a double. After his parents split, William was angry at Charles and the tension seemingly lingered for decades. Camilla later told friends that she was alarmed by William’s screaming and fiery temper when he got into it with Charles.


William and Harry were both wild partiers in high school. In the early 2000s, Harry had a reputation for being an out-of-control partier, a period Lacey returns to when trying to figure out when William and Harry first began to fight. William was responsible for turning the basement at Highgrove House into what Lacey calls a “disco rumpus room” called Club H, pouring Harry his first shots, and introducing him to marijuana at Eton, though Harry did continue to party after William graduated. Insiders who spoke to Lacey said that Harry resented that William never got the type of negative headlines he did, and was even convinced that Charles’s press officer was feeding the stories to newspapers to make him look bad.


There’s a chance Kate only decided to go to St. Andrews after she heard William was going. A long-forgotten tabloid controversy centers on the exact timeline of Kate’s application to the university where she eventually met William. In August 2000, William’s decision to attend St. Andrew’s to study the history of art was made public. At first, Kate had applied and had committed to Edinburgh University, where some of her friends were planning to go. Sometime in late August or September, according to Lacey, Kate changed her mind and decided to defer for a year and apply to St. Andrew’s, and her high school made her write a formal letter to Edinburgh to apologize. Lacey isn’t sure exactly what her motivations were, but he points out that applications for female students jumped 44% after William announced his choice. Even if Kate did apply because she harbored a slight crush on the prince who was already a global star, she certainly wasn’t alone. Who among us, Lacey concludes, wouldn’t do the same?


The tiara fight before Meghan’s wedding to Harry really happened—but it was way more complicated than previously reported. In November 2018, rumors that Meghan was denied her choice in tiara first erupted, adding to the narrative that the palace referred to her as “Duchess Difficult.” Subsequent versions of the story have cast doubt on the fact that Meghan was even there at all, and the authors of Finding Freedom, another bombshell biography, claim the fight was between Harry and the Queen Elizabeth’s dresser Angela Kelly about using the tiara for a hair trial. According to Lacey, the queen did say no to a first suggestion made by Meghan because it might have been acquired sketchily after the Russian Revolution and is thus rarely put on display. If Harry questioned his grandmother after that, Lacey thinks it might have only been because he didn’t understand the significance of the tiara.


The Buckingham Palace staff, specifically the queen’s private secretary and his allies, were not fans of Meghan’s. According to Lacey, Meghan joined the family right as a staff shakeup at Buckingham Palace had become contentious. The queen’s longtime right-hand man, Christopher Geidt, had been pushed out of his role, and his replacement, Edward Young, was not as beloved or competent a manager. As a result, unflattering leaks from palace insiders went up considerably starting in late 2017, meaning that some of the venom aimed at Meghan might have been a coincidence. Lacey also believes that Young particularly disliked Meghan and thus saddled her with a light, boring schedule that didn’t allow her to get involved. Her two signature projects from her years at the palace, the cookbook she worked on with Grenfell Tower fire survivors and the issue of British Vogue she guest-edited, were both developed without the help of the palace office, and made some insiders angry.


The Mail on Sunday sent a reporter out to Meghan’s dad once they read about Meghan’s letter to her father in the pages of People. Currently, Meghan is in the middle of a lawsuit with Associated Newspapers, the parent company of the Mail, over their February 2019 decision to publish excerpts of a private letter she wrote to her father. In defense documents, the company has claimed that the fact that an anonymous friend of Meghan mentioned the letter in a People interview means that they had the right to publish it. According to Lacey, they did send a reporter to Thomas Markle’s house in Mexico, trying to track the letter down after reading about it in People. It does give some credence to the argument made by Meghan’s legal team that reporters interfered in her family life in a troubling way.


Harry and Meghan gave the palace no warning before filing their lawsuits against the press—and this was a breaking point for the rest of the family. When Meghan and Harry announced the Associated Newspaper suit and Harry’s decision to sue two organizations over phone hacking, they did it on a website that didn’t belong to the palace. Lacey reports that the palace had no advanced warning about the decision, despite the fact that tradition dictates that a royal family member should ask the queen permission before moving forward on a legal matter. Lacey adds that William, who was already angry at his brother for disregarding tradition when it came to Archie’s birth announcement and Meghan’s British Vogue issue, and the rest of the family saw this as a line in the sand.


Harry did give the palace 10 minutes notice before announcing their royal exit, leading to acrimony and meltdown in the palace. According to Lacey, emotions ran high inside the summit where Harry would negotiate his future with William, Charles, the queen, and a few aides. William was so angry that he refused to join for lunch beforehand, and told friends that he didn’t want to be around to hash out the details. However, a palace insider told Lacey that the decision to strip Harry of all his palace-bestowed honors, like honorary military appointments, was not inevitable and may have been the result of vindictiveness on behalf of Young, the queen’s palace secretary. It also wasn’t inevitable that they be stripped of their ability to use their HRH titles or royal status in order to seek financial independence, but Lacey believes that their impulsive behavior over the last year had made the queen less forgiving than she might have been when she made her decision.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Kaufmann Desert House // Modernist architectural marvel made famous by Slim Aarons for sale for $25m




Modernist architectural marvel made famous by Slim Aarons for sale for $25m


The Kaufmann Desert House, designed by Richard Neutra, paved the way for the west coast concept of ‘indoor outdoor’ living


Vivian Ho in San Francisco

Wed 21 Oct 2020 21.05 BSTLast modified on Thu 22 Oct 2020 00.10 BST


The exterior of the Kaufmann Desert House, built in 1946 to the designs of Richard Neutra. Photograph: Arcaid Images/Alamy


The Kaufmann Desert House, an architectural marvel that helped define the modernist aesthetic of the resort city of Palm Springs, is up for sale at $25m.


Built in 1946 to the designs of Richard Neutra, the house first became famous in Julius Shulman’s twilight black-and-white frame, the misty San Jacinto Mountains in the background, and then again in 1970 when the society photographer Slim Aarons used the house and its pool for the setting of his legendary snapshot, Poolside Gossip.


The Los Angeles Times and its panel of experts named it one of the best houses of all time in southern California in 2008. Neutra’s sleek glass, steel and Utah stone design was considered radical at the time, paving the way for the west coast concept of “indoor outdoor” living. At the time of construction, the focus of the house was the vast desert terrain outside – in the years since, southern California’s suburban sprawl has caught up to the property. The home consists of glass walls that slide open to a number of terraces or pool, garden and desert views. A covered rooftop living room with a view of the mountains is protected on the sides by adjustable louvres.


In 2008, the Los Angeles Times and its panel of experts named the Kaufmann Desert House one of the best houses of all times in southern California.


With five bedrooms and six full baths at 3,162 sq ft, the house sits on more than two acres and includes a large wood deck, tennis court and lush lawn surrounding the famous pool. The house has had at least two celebrity owners, the singer Barry Manilow and the former NFL Chargers owner Gene Klein.


The house underwent “an award-winning restoration” by Marmol Radziner in the 1990s that included the installation of air conditioning. Neutra had died by then, but the restoration team consulted photographer Shulman, who snapped the first famous photo of the home the year after it was built, and looked through letters between Neutra and the original owner, Edgar Kaufmann, a department store owner who would go on before his death to commission Fallingwater from Frank Lloyd Wright.


“Its place in history as a home – a pristine, modern sculpture in the raw desert – is incredible,” Radziner told home design magazine Dwell. “As you walk around and experience it, it’s incredibly dynamic. The significance of this home in the fundamental sense is that it’s moving to people.”


A bedroom in the Kaufmann Desert House. The current owner of the home is Brent Harris, who bought the home with his ex-wife in 1993 for $1.5m.

FacebookTwitterPinterest A bedroom in the Kaufmann Desert House. The current owner of the home is Brent Harris, who bought the home with his ex-wife in 1993 for $1.5m. Photograph: Alamy

The house last went on sale in 2008, with Christie’s auctioning the house as a work of art for $25m. The housing market took a significant downturn that year. The house sold for $19.1m, but the sale fell through, according to Palm Springs Life. The house was then listed for $13m in 2009.


The current owner of the home is Brent Harris, who bought the home with his ex-wife in 1993 for $1.5m. The couple oversaw the restoration, and put the house on the market when they divorced.


“The home has an unusual resonance when you see it,” Harris told Dwell last year. “It has a volumetric, spatial beauty that changes throughout the day, particularly at twilight. There are a lot of great Neutra houses, but this has different feel entirely. It’s very photogenic.”


Kaufmann Desert House

The Kaufmann House (or Kaufmann Desert House) is a house located in Palm Springs, California, that was designed by architect Richard Neutra in 1946.


It was one of the last large-commission domestic projects designed by Richard Neutra, but it is also arguably one of his most architecturally noteworthy and famous homes.


It is "one of the most important examples of International style architecture in the United States and the only one still in private hands", and in 2008 was offered for sale.


This five-bedroom, five-bathroom vacation house in Palm Springs, was designed to emphasize connection to the desert landscape while offering shelter from harsh climatic conditions. Large sliding-glass walls open the living spaces and master bedroom to adjacent patios. Major outdoor rooms are enclosed by a row of movable vertical fins that offer flexible protection against sandstorms and intense heat.


A combined living and dining space, roughly square, lies at the center of the house. While the house favors an east-west axis, four long, perpendicular wings extend in each cardinal direction from the living areas. Thoughtful placement of larger rooms at the end of each wing helps define adjacent outdoor rooms, with circulation occurring both indoors and out.


The south wing connects to the public realm and includes a carport and two long, covered walkways. These walkways are separated by a massive stone wall and lead to public and service entries, respectively. The east wing of the house is connected to the living space by a north-facing internal gallery and houses a master bedroom suite. To the west, a kitchen, service spaces, and staff quarters are reached by a covered breezeway. In the northern wing, another open walkway passes along an exterior patio, leading to two guest rooms.



The home was commissioned by Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., a Pittsburgh department store tycoon as a desert retreat from harsh winters, and was built in 1946. It was made famous by the 1947 photos by Julius Shulman. A decade earlier, Kaufmann commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.


After Kaufmann died in 1955, the house stood vacant for several years. It then had a series of owners, including singer Barry Manilow and San Diego Chargers owner Eugene V. Klein,[3] and had several renovations. These renovations enclosed a patio, added floral wallpaper to the bedrooms and removed a wall for the addition of a media room; additionally, the roof lines were altered with the addition of air conditioning units. In 1992, the home was rediscovered and purchased by a married couple: Brent Harris, an investment manager, and Beth Edwards Harris, an architectural historian; at the time it had been for sale on the market three and a half years.


The Harrises purchased the home for US$1.5 million, then sought to restore the home to its original design. Neutra died in 1970 and the original plans were not available, so the couple brought in Los Angeles architects Leo Marmol and Ron Radziner to restore the design. For clues to the original design, the Harrises looked through the extensive Neutra archives at UCLA, found additional documents through Columbia University and were able to work with Shulman to access some of his never-printed photos of the home's interior. They were able to obtain pieces from the original suppliers of paint and fixtures; they purchased a metal-crimping machine to reproduce the sheet-metal fascia that lined the roof.


Additionally, the Harrises were able to have a long-closed section of a Utah quarry reopened to mine matching stone to replace what had been removed or damaged. To help restore the desert buffer Neutra had envisioned for the house, the Harrises also bought several adjoining plots to more than double the land around the 3,200-square-foot (300 m2) house.


They rebuilt a pool house that serves as a viewing pavilion for the main house, and kept a tennis court that was built on a parcel added to the original Kaufmann property.


After the Harrises divorced, the home was sold on May 13, 2008, for US$15 million at auction by Christie's as a part of a high-profile sale of contemporary art. The house had a presale estimate of US$15 million to US$25 million. The sale later fell through, as the bidder breached terms of the purchase agreement.


In October 2008, the house was listed for sale at US$12.95 million[6], though the listing was later removed.


As of October, 2020, the house is listed for sale at US$25 million.


The restoration by Marmol Radziner + Associates was critically lauded. Today, many critics place the Kaufmann House among the most important houses of the 20th century in the United States, with the likes of Fallingwater, Robie House, Gropius House, and the Gamble House.


The Kaufmann house was included in a list of all-time top 10 houses in Los Angeles, despite its location in Palm Springs, in a Los Angeles Times survey of experts in December 2008.

Remembering the Documentary about the Decline Of British Dukedom | The Last Dukes




Modern Times: The Last Dukes review – a human zoo with proper toffs


Dukes exist for the same purpose as the rest of the English aristocracy – to amuse everyone else on television


Sam Wollaston


Tue 27 Oct 2015 07.30 GMTLast modified on Tue 19 Jun 2018 12.25 BST


Dukedoms are created by the monarch – because someone played well in a war, maybe, or just because someone was the king’s bastard son. There hasn’t been a new one since Queen Victoria’s reign (neither the Thin White Duke nor the the Dukes of Hazzard were proper, official dukes). Now there are just 24 left and, although some still have a lot of land, they are not that important any more. They really exist for the same purpose as the rest of the English aristocracy – to amuse everyone else, on television. Which is what they are doing, rather well, in Modern Times: The Last Dukes (BBC2).


Oh, this is a lady: Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill. But she is the daughter of a previous duke of Marlborough, and auntie of the current one, Jamie Spencer-Churchill, who used to be called the Marquess of Blandford and was at one time best known for putting thin white lines up his nose. Lady Rosemary is showing us around the family house, Blenheim Palace. That’s where the P&O used to be, which she played as a child, she says. What, a ferry? There is certainly room for one, it just seems a strange toy for a little girl … Oh, I see, a piano! Piano doesn’t rhyme with Joanna at Blenheim.


Another duke’s daughter, Camilla, lives in a new-build close in London, poor dear; she’s rather sad and unfulfilled. Her father’s dukedom is extinct. No male heirs, that was the problem; women don’t really count for all that much in this world.


And north of the border, the dukedom of Atholl is still going, but it might as well be extinct: the current duke is a South African (white, of course, and also quite thin, as it happens) called Bruce. He runs a small sign-making business back home; now he also has a small private army in the Scottish highlands. Tossers, of cabers.


The Duke and Duchess of St Albans have all the right robes and coronets, and produce all the right vowel sounds, but they have no land. The heir isn’t sure even whether he will call himself duke or not; he used to be an earl, but he dropped it, now he’s just a Mr. He is more interested in the family’s history of mental illness. By acknowledging and taking an interest in it, he will avoid it, he says; the demon will be purged for future generations. Really? I’m not sure that is how mental illnesses operate, is it? Oh, and the family pile is now a Best Western hotel, three-and-a-half stars average on TripAdvisor.


It is a lovely programme by Michael Waldman, though – nicely non-judgmental, that is left entirely to you. I think the aristocracy – not just posh people, but proper top toffs – make excellent television, because they are so very different from anyone you come across in the real world, even the ones who do their damnedest to be normal. A human zoo, basically, but you don’t have to feel too guilty about laughing.


And a special shout-out to the camera operator(s) for spotting the “One’s Palace” cushion and the painting of a packet of Marlboro in the Duke of Marlborough’s private quarters at Blenheim. And for lingering on the Duchess of St Albans’ coronet, which she has to hold on her head throughout the interview after talking about how brilliantly and securely the system of hatpins works. Ha.


Scream Queens (E4) could well be my new Glee – ie a sad, middle-aged Englishman’s attempt to stay in touch with what young people are getting up to and saying on the other side of the Atlantic. It is actually created by the same people as Glee, and it shows, but this has the added bonus of blood. Kinda Glee (with Jamie Lee Curtis, the college dean, in the Sue Sylvester role) meets Mean Girls meets Carrie.


The university sorority, led by blond despot Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts), is thrown into turmoil when ordered by JLC’s dean to open its doors to everyone, including non-blondes, “ethnics”, ugly people etc. There is also someone dressed as the devil killing people on campus, but to be honest, that worries them less.


It is outrageous, fabulous and hilarious, with the sort of confident, polished writing that you only really get in the US. I may not be its core target audience, but I know a good line when I hear one, and here they come in salvos. “I do sort of love you, but I’d love you a lot more if other people loved you too.” And: “You’re so confident without being mean, what antidepressants are you on?” And, I think my favourite of all: “Everyone is encouraged to wear/be white.” And thin, too, of course.


BBC documentary reveals Britain's dukes last of a dying breed


THERE was a time when dukes lived like, well, kings. They occupied castles with hundreds of rooms, employed dozens of servants and hosted lavish balls.



PUBLISHED: 10:10, Sat, Oct 24, 2015 | UPDATED: 10:35, Sat, Oct 24, 2015


In the political sphere they enjoyed power by virtue of their seats in the Lords. And one duke – by a special dispensation from Queen Victoria – even maintained the only private army in Europe.


However their fortunes are on the wane. Income from investments and farming are no longer enough to maintain their stately piles despite the fact they still collectively own more than a million acres of Britain.


All but three of them have lost the right to vote in the Lords following former prime minister Tony Blair’s purge of hereditary peers. And a shortage of male heirs has also taken its toll.


Unlike the British throne the title of duke can only pass down the male line and of the 28 non-royal dukes who attended the Queen’s coronation in 1953 only 24 remain.


As no new dukedoms have been created since Queen Victoria made the Earl of Fife the Duke of Fife in 1889 that total can only dwindle further with the passage of time.


The story of their “magnificent struggle” to survive in the modern world is told in The Last Dukes, a BBC Two documentary to be shown on Monday.


Through intimate interviews with a number of dukes and duchesses it reveals a wide disparity in the lifestyles of the poshest aristocrats and their very different approaches to keeping going.



The Duke of Rutland had the good sense to marry a sensible girl and it is the duchess who has run the 16,000-acre Belvoir Castle estate for the past 15 years.


Emma Watkins was a farmer’s daughter when she met her future husband, then the Marquis of Granby, at a dinner party. They married a couple of years later and went on to have three daughters before producing son and heir Charles, followed by a spare – Hugo.


The marriage ran into difficulties three years ago and the couple now live apart. But with 300 rooms at their disposal they continue to co-habit: the duke in one tower and the duchess in another.


Under the duchess dozens of staff were made redundant and the number of days the castle was opened to the public was reduced to 30 a year in order to accommodate high-income shooting parties and wedding parties.


Blenheim Palace was the birthplace of Winston Churchill



The dukedom of St Albans was created for the illegitimate son of King Charles II and actress Nell Gwyn and for many years the family seat was Bestwood Lodge in Nottinghamshire.


That is now a hotel and the present duke and his duchess live in a terraced house in central London.


Up until a few years ago one used to get a quarter of a deer twice a year from Richmond Park but that was stopped by Tony Blair


Murray St Albans makes his living as an accountant but his hallway boasts a portrait of himself in his ducal robes accompanied by a stuffed bird to denote his role as the Hereditary Grand Falconer.


He says: “Up until a few years ago one used to get a quarter of a deer twice a year from Richmond Park but that was stopped by Tony Blair. I thought it was a pretty poor show.”



Lady Camilla Osborne is a good example of how the mighty are fallen. The daughter of the 11th Duke of Leeds, whose family seat was Hornby Castle in Yorkshire, now lives in a new-build close in south-west London.


Lady Camilla’s father John inherited a substantial sum but despite this he sold Hornby three years later and moved to the French Riviera.


He proved to be unlucky in love, however. First he married a Serbian ballet dancer who ran off with an American millionaire.


Then he married a much younger woman, Camilla’s mother, and moved to tax-haven Jersey only to lose her to a young Guards officer.


He married for a third time before dying without any male issue.


The title went to distant cousin Sir D’Arcy Osborne, a former British ambassador to the Vatican who was in his 70s but he died months later and in the absence of a male heir the title died with him.


Camilla, who is the ex-wife of the late gossip columnist Nigel Dempster, believes her father was unfulfilled because, “He had absolutely no purpose in life except getting through the day by going to the cinema or going to the tailor or having the third Pernod”.


Jamie Blandford, Duke of Marlborough and family attend a service of thanksgivingGETTY


Jamie Blandford, Duke of Marlborough and family attend a service of thanksgiving



In 2012 Bruce Murray was running a small sign-making shop in an obscure provincial town in South Africa when he and his second wife Charmaine found themselves the Duke and Duchess of Atholl with 12 subsidiary titles following the death of his father John.


John was himself a very distant relative of his predecessor the 11th duke and had no desire to leave South Africa.


“He actually made enquiries as to how he could get out of it,” recalls Bruce.


“The person he consulted at the Court of the Lord Lyon [the heraldry office for Scotland] said, ‘You can either commit a schedule-one offence [an offence against a child] or felony and go to jail for the rest of your life, or die.’ You can’t abdicate being a duke.”


John’s unwillingness to take on the dukedom led the 11th duke to put the ancestral seat Blair Castle in the hands of a trust and the current duke’s role is limited to a short annual visit to perform ceremonial duties, such as overseeing parades by the Atholl Army, the unique private army mentioned above.



The finances of Blenheim Palace were so parlous at the end of the 19th century that the 9th Duke of Marlborough was virtually ordered to marry an American heiress.


Consuelo Vanderbilt, the daughter of a railroad millionaire, came with a substantial dowry and while money can’t buy you love the couple did produce an heir and a spare.


Standards were certainly high – literally and metaphorically – in the next generation.


The wife of the 10th duke insisted that all their footmen were at least 6ft tall, a demanding requirement in an era when the average working-class man stood at 5ft 3ins.


Blenheim, the grandest of all the ducal family seats, pays its way today by welcoming 700,000 visitors a year through its imposing doors and hosting events such as the Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance, a car show.


The present duke James Blandford was something of a black sheep in his youth.


As the documentary’s narrator, producer and director Michael Waldman says: “He had a sticky time during his early life. A well-publicised drug addiction and a passion for fast cars hardly prepared him for the now professional business of running such a vast estate.”


As a result Blenheim is managed by a trust and its day-to-day running is in the hands of John Hoy.


He neatly sums up the appeal of family-run stately houses: “I think it’s part of our DNA. We’re the envy of the world because of places like Blenheim. The heritage and the private historic houses are utterly unique.”


The Last Dukes can be seen on October 26 at 9pm on BBC Two.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Kedleston Hall // VIDEO: National Trust - Kedleston Hall Tour

Kedleston Hall is the family seat to the House of Curzon located in Kedleston, Derbyshire. The Curzon family is an English aristocratic family tracing back to 1066s. Members of the family have held 14 hereditary titles such as: Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, Earl Howe,Earl Curzon of Kedleston,Viscount Curzon,Viscount Scarsdale, Viscounts Howe, Curzon of Kedleston, Baron Scarsdale, Baron Ravensdale, Manor of Curzon, Baron Howe,Baron Curzon, Baronet Mosley, and Baronet Kedleston Hall.


House of Curzon

The commissioning of the house was done in 1759 by Nathaniel Curzon followed by Robert Adam’s designing. George Nathaniel Curzon is Kedleston’s first Marquess Curzon, the first son of the fourth Baron Scarsdale. The second Baroness Ravensdale was Irene Mary Curzon (1896–1966).[citation needed] The third Baron Ravensdale (b. 1923), was Sir Nicholas Mosley, born to George Curzon’s daughter, Cynthia Blanche Mosley (1898-1933). The first Earl Howe included Curzon-Howe Richard William (1796–1870)[3]; Curzon-Howe George Frederick (1821–76). The third Earl Howe going forward included the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh Earl Howe as Curzon-Howe Richard William (1822–1900), Curzon Richard George (1861–1929), Curzon Francis Penn (1884–1964), Curzon Richard Assheton (1908–84), and Curzon Frederick Richard (b. 1951), in that order.


Among the estates held by the Curzon family include the Kedleston Hall which is an estate situated in Derbyshire’s Kedlestone, roughly 6 kilometres northwest of Derby. This estate functions as the seat to the family of Curzon. Upon the death of the second Viscount Scarsdale, Richard Curzon, Kedleston Hall remained quite expensive thus compelling his cousin (Francis Curzon), to forward the property to the state in place of death duties.


Places and facilities named after the Curzon family name include Curzon Street believed to have been named after the third Viscount Howe, Mr. George Howe, and later transferred to another member of the family whose last name was Curzon. Curzon Avenue is a street in England’s North West expanse, specifically Northwich, in the Weaver Vale constituency. In the world of athletics, Curzon Ashton F.C. is a soccer club situated in Ashton-Under-Lyne, which traces its history to the family’s name owing to a few members of the family who participated in football. The key parks bearing the Curzon family name include Roker Curzon Park (Sunderland), Curzon Park (in Chester), and Curzon Park Abbey (a monastery of nuns).


Henry Francis Roper from House of Roper, joined houses in honour of his cousin John Barnewall Curzon in 1788. Today, his descendants still go by both names Roper-Curzon. Notable members include John Roper-Curzon, David Roper-Curzon, and Harry Roper-Curzon.




Kedleston Hall was Brettingham's opportunity to prove himself capable of designing a house to rival Holkham Hall. The opportunity was taken from him by Robert Adam who completed the North front (above) much as Brettingham designed it, but with a more dramatic portico.

The design of the three-floored house is of three blocks linked by two segmentally curved corridors. The ground floor is rusticated, while the upper floors are of smooth-dressed stone. The central, corps de logis, the largest block, contains the state rooms and was intended only for formal entertaining. The East block was a self-contained country house in its own right, containing all the rooms for the family's private use, and the identical West block contained the kitchens and all other domestic rooms and staff accommodation.


Plans for two more pavilions (as the two smaller blocks are known), of identical size and similar appearance, were never executed. These further wings were intended to contain, in the south-east a music room, and in the southwest a conservatory and chapel. Externally these latter pavilions would have differed from their northern counterparts by large glazed Serlian windows on the piano nobile of their southern facades. Here the blocks were to appear as of two floors only; a mezzanine was to have been disguised in the north of the music room block. The linking galleries here were also to contain larger windows, than on the north, and niches containing classical statuary.


The north front, approximately 107 metres in length, is Palladian in character, dominated by a massive, six-columned Corinthian portico; however, the south front (illustrated right) is pure neoclassical Robert Adam. This garden facade is divided into three distinct sets of bays; the central section is a four-columned, blind triumphal arch (based on the Arch of Constantine in Rome) containing one large, pedimented glass door reached from the rusticated ground floor by an external, curved double staircase. Above the door, at second-floor height, are stone garlands and medallions in relief.


The four Corinthian columns are topped by classical statues. This whole centre section of the facade is crowned by a low dome visible only from a distance. Flanking the central section are two identical wings on three floors, each three windows wide, the windows of the first-floor piano nobile being the tallest. Adam's design for this facade contains huge "movement" and has a delicate almost fragile quality.



 The neoclassical interior of the house was designed by Adam to be no less impressive than the exterior. Entering the house through the great north portico on the piano nobile, one is confronted by the marble hall designed to suggest the open courtyard or atrium of a Roman villa.


Marble Hall 1763, decoration completed in 1776-7

Twenty fluted alabaster columns with Corinthian capitals support the heavily decorated, high-coved cornice. Niches in the walls contain classical statuary; above the niches are grisaille panels. The floor is of inlaid Italian marble. Matthew Paine's original designs for this room intended for it to be lit by conventional windows at the northern end, but Adam, warming to the Roman theme, did away with the distracting windows and lit the whole from the roof through innovative glass skylight.


At Kedleston, the hall symbolises the atrium of the Roman villa and the adjoining saloon the vestibulum. The saloon, contained behind the triumphal arch of the south front, like the marble hall rises the full height of the house, 62 feet to the top of the dome, where it too is sky-lit through a glass oculus. Designed as a sculpture gallery, this circular room was completed in 1763. The decorative theme is based on the temples of the Roman Forum with more modern inventions: in the four massive, apse-like recesses are stoves disguised as pedestals for classical urns. The four sets of double doors giving entry to the room have heavy pediments supported by scagliola columns, and at second-floor height, grisaille panels depict classical themes.


From the saloon, the atmosphere of the 18th-century Grand Tour is continued throughout the remainder of the principal reception rooms of the piano nobile, though on a slightly more modest scale. The "principal apartment", or State bedroom suite, contains fine furniture and paintings as does the drawing room with its huge Venetian window; the dining room, with its gigantic apse, has a ceiling that Adam based on the Palace of Augustus in the Farnese Gardens.


The theme carries on through the library, music room, down the grand staircase (not completed until 1922) onto the ground floor and into the so-called "Caesar's hall". On the departure of guests, it must sometimes have been a relief to vacate this temple of culture and retreat to the relatively simple comforts of the family pavilion.


Below the Rotunda is the Tetrastyle Hall, which was converted into a museum in 1927. The kitchen is an oblong shape with a balustraded gallery at one end. This links the room to other household offices on each side.


Also displayed in the house are many curiosities pertaining to George, Lord Curzon of Kedleston, who succeeded to the house in 1916 and who had earlier served as Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905. Lord Curzon had amassed a large collection of subcontinental and Far Eastern artefacts. Also shown is Lady Curzon's Delhi Durbar Coronation dress of 1903. Designed by Worth of Paris, it was known as the peacock dress for the many precious and semi-precious stones sewn into its fabric. These have now been replaced by imitation stones; however, the effect is no less dazzling.


In addition to that described above, this great country house contains collections of art, furniture and statuary. Kedleston Hall's alternative name, The Temple of the Arts, is truly justified.


Gardens and grounds

The gardens and grounds, as they appear today, are largely the concept of Robert Adam. Adam was asked by Nathaniel Curzon in 1758 to "take in hand the deer park and pleasure grounds". The landscape gardener William Emes had begun work at Kedleston in 1756, and he continued in Curzon's employ until 1760; however, it was Adam who was the guiding influence. It was during this period that the former gardens designed by Charles Bridgeman were swept away in favour of a more natural-looking landscape. Bridgeman's canals and geometric ponds were metamorphosed into serpentine lakes.


Adam designed numerous temples and follies, many of which were never built. Those that were include the North lodge (which takes the form of a triumphal arch), the entrance lodges in the village, a bridge, cascade and the Fishing Room. The Fishing Room is one of the most noticeable of the park's buildings. In the neoclassical style it is sited on the edge of the upper lake and contains a plunge pool and boat house below. Some of Adam's unexecuted design for follies in the park rivalled in grandeur the house itself.


A "View Tower" designed in 1760 – 84 feet high and 50 feet wide on five floors, surmounted by a saucer dome flanked by the smaller domes of flanking towers — would have been a small neoclassical palace itself. Adam planned to transform even mundane utilitarian buildings into architectural wonders. A design for a pheasant house (a platform to provide a vantage point for the game shooting) became a domed temple, the roofs of its classical porticos providing the necessary platforms; this plan too was never completed. Among the statuary in the grounds is a Medici lion sculpture carved by Joseph Wilton on a pedestal designed by Samuel Wyatt, from around 1760–1770.


In the 1770s, George Richardson designed the hexagonal summerhouse, and in 1800 the orangery. The Long Walk was laid out in 1760 and planted with flowering shrubs and ornamental trees. In 1763, it was reported that Lord Scarsdale had given his gardener a seed from rare and scarce Italian shrub, the "Rodo Dendrone" (sic).


The gardens and grounds today, over two hundred years later, remain mostly unaltered. Parts of the park are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, primarily because of the "rich and diverse deadwood invertebrate fauna" inhabiting its ancient trees.


Later history

The Curzon family, whose name originates in Notre-Dame-de-Courson in Normandy, have been in Kedleston since at least 1297, and have lived in a succession of manor houses near to or on the site of the present Kedleston Hall. The present house was commissioned by Sir Nathaniel Curzon (later 1st Baron Scarsdale) in 1759. The house was designed by the Palladian architects James Paine and Matthew Brettingham and was loosely based on an original plan by Andrea Palladio for the never-built Villa Mocenigo.


At the time a relatively unknown architect, Robert Adam, was designing some garden temples to enhance the landscape of the park; Curzon was so impressed with his designs that Adam was quickly put in charge of the construction of the new mansion.


Second World War

In 1939, Kedleston Hall was offered by Richard Curzon, 2nd Viscount Scarsdale, for use by the War Office. The Hall was used in various ways during the War, including as a mustering point and army training camp.


It also formed one of the Y-stations used to gather signals intelligence by collecting radio transmissions which, if encrypted, were subsequently passed to Bletchley Park for decryption.


National Trust

By the 1970s Kedleston Hall had become too expensive for the Curzon family to maintain. When Richard Nathaniel Curzon, 2nd Viscount Scarsdale, died, his cousin Francis Curzon, 3rd Viscount Scarsdale, offered the house, park and gardens to the nation in lieu of death duties. A deal was agreed with the National Trust that it should take over Kedleston, along with an endowment, while still allowing the family to live rent-free in the 23-room Family Wing, which contained an adjoining garden and two rent-free flats for servants or other family members. The Hon Richard Curzon and his family currently reside there.


In 2020, the Trust was working on a plan to include coverage about the owners of its properties who had links to colonialism and slavery. That will including Kedelston Hall; although Lord George Nathaniel Curzon had no links to slavery, he was president of The National League for Opposing Women's Suffrage and worked to prevent giving women the right to vote. Visitors to the Hall will find a display in the Billiard Room[35] exploring his role in the Anti-Suffrage movement.

George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston // VIDEO: Delhi Durbar The State Entry into Delhi of Lord Curzon, The Viceroy, Ac...

George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston

George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, KG, GCSI, GCIE, PC, FBA (11 January 1859 – 20 March 1925), who was styled as Lord Curzon of Kedleston between 1898 and 1911, and as Earl Curzon of Kedleston between 1911 and 1921, and was known commonly as Lord Curzon, was a British Conservative statesman who served as Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, during which time he created the territory of Eastern Bengal and Assam, and fought with the British military commander Lord Kitchener. During the First World War he served in the small War Cabinet of Prime Minister David Lloyd George as Leader of the House of Lords (from December 1916), as well as the War Policy Committee. He served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1919 to 1924.


Despite his successes as both Viceroy and Foreign Secretary, in 1923 Curzon was denied the office of prime minister. Bonar Law and other Conservative Party leaders preferred to have Stanley Baldwin rather than Curzon as prime minister and these views were made known to King George V. Sir David Gilmour, in his biography Curzon: Imperial Statesman (1994), contends that Curzon deserved the top position.


Early life

Curzon was educated at All Souls College, Oxford, of which he was a Prize Fellow

Curzon was the eldest son and the second of the eleven children of Alfred Curzon, 4th Baron Scarsdale (1831–1916), who was the Rector of Kedleston in Derbyshire. George Curzon's mother was Blanche (1837–1875), the daughter of Joseph Pocklington Senhouse of Netherhall in Cumberland. He was born at Kedleston Hall, built on the site where his family, who were of Norman ancestry, had lived since the 12th century. His mother, exhausted by childbirth, died when George was 16; her husband survived her by 41 years. Neither parent exerted a major influence on Curzon's life. Scarsdale was an austere and unindulgent father who believed in the long-held family tradition that landowners should stay on their land and not go "roaming about all over the world". He thus had little sympathy for those journeys across Asia between 1887 and 1895 which made his son one of the most travelled men who ever sat in a British cabinet. A more decisive presence in Curzon's childhood was that of his brutal, sadistic governess, Ellen Mary Paraman, whose tyranny in the nursery stimulated his combative qualities and encouraged the obsessional side of his nature. Paraman used to beat him and periodically forced him to parade through the village wearing a conical hat bearing the words liar, sneak, and coward. Curzon later noted, "No children well born and well-placed ever cried so much and so justly."


Curzon at Eton, 1870s

He was educated at Wixenford School, Eton College, and Balliol College, Oxford. At Eton, he was a favourite of Oscar Browning, an over-intimate relationship that led to his tutor's dismissal. A spinal injury incurred whilst riding during his adolescence left Curzon in lifelong pain, which often caused insomnia, and which required him to wear a metal corset for the duration of his life.


At Oxford, Curzon was President of the Union[4] and Secretary of the Oxford Canning Club (a Tory political club named for George Canning): as a consequence of the extent of his time-expenditure on political and social societies, he failed to achieve a first class degree in Greats, although he subsequently won both the Lothian and Arnold Prizes, the latter for an essay on Sir Thomas More, about whom he confessed to having known almost nothing before commencing study). In 1883, Curzon received the most prestigious fellowship at the university, a Prize Fellowship at All Souls College. Whilst at Eton and at Oxford, Curzon was a contemporary and close friend of Cecil Spring Rice and Edward Grey.However, Spring Rice contributed, alongside John William Mackail, to the composition of a famous sardonic doggerel about Curzon that was published as part of The Balliol Masque, about which Curzon wrote in later life "never has more harm been done to one single individual than that accursed doggerel has done to me.” It ran:


My name is George Nathaniel Curzon,

I am a most superior person.

My cheek is pink, my hair is sleek,

I dine at Blenheim once a week.


When Spring-Rice was British Ambassador to the United States, he was suspected by Curzon of trying to prevent Curzon's engagement to the American Mary Leiter, whom Curzon nevertheless married. However, Spring Rice assumed for a certainty, like many of Curzon's other friends, that Curzon would inevitably become Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: he wrote to Curzon in 1891, 'When you are Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs I hope you will restore the vanished glory of England, lead the European concert, decide the fate of nations, and give me three month's leave instead of two'.


Early political career

Curzon became Assistant Private Secretary to Salisbury in 1885, and in 1886 entered Parliament as Member for Southport in south-west Lancashire. His maiden speech, which was chiefly an attack on home rule and Irish nationalism, was regarded in much the same way as his oratory at the Oxford Union: brilliant and eloquent but also presumptuous and rather too self-assured. Subsequent performances in the Commons, often dealing with Ireland or reform of the House of Lords (which he supported), received similar verdicts. He was Under-Secretary of State for India in 1891–92 and Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1895–98.


Asian travels and writings

In the meantime he had travelled around the world: Russia and Central Asia (1888–89), a long tour of Persia (September 1889 – January 1890), Siam, French Indochina and Korea (1892), and a daring foray into Afghanistan and the Pamirs (1894). He published several books describing central and eastern Asia and related policy issues. A bold and compulsive traveler, fascinated by oriental life and geography, he was awarded the Patron's Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his exploration of the source of the Amu Darya (Oxus). His journeys allowed him to study the problems of Asia and their implications for British India, whilst reinforcing his pride in his nation and her imperial mission.


Curzon believed Russia to be the most likely threat to India, Britain's most valuable colony, from the 19th century through the early 20th century. In 1879 Russia had begun construction of the Transcaspian Railroad along the Silk Road, officially solely to enforce local control. The line starts from the city of Kzyzl Su (Krasnovodsk) (nowadays Turkmenbashi) (on the Caspian Sea), travels southeast along the Karakum Desert, through Ashgabat, continues along the Kopet Dagh Mountains until it reaches Tejen. Curzon dedicated an entire chapter in his book Russia in Central Asia to discussing the perceived threat to British control of India. This railroad connected Russia with the most wealthy and influential cities in Central Asia at the time, including the Persian province of Khorasan, and would allow the rapid deployment of Russian supplies and troops into the area. Curzon also believed that the resulting greater economic interdependence between Russia and Central Asia would be damaging to British interests.


Persia and the Persian Question, written in 1892, has been considered Curzon's magnum opus and can be seen as a sequel to Russia in Central Asia. Curzon was commissioned by The Times to write several articles on the Persian political environment, but while there he decided to write a book on the country as whole. This two-volume work covers Persia's history and governmental structure, as well as graphics, maps and pictures (some taken by Curzon himself). Curzon was aided by General Albert Houtum-Schindler and the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), both of which helped him gain access to material to which as a foreigner he would not have been entitled to have access. General Schindler provided Curzon with information regarding Persia's geography and resources, as well as serving as an unofficial editor.


Curzon was appalled by his government's apathy towards Persia as a valuable defensive buffer to India from Russian encroachment. Years later Curzon would lament that "Persia has alternatively advanced and receded in the estimation of British statesmen, occupying now a position of extravagant prominence, anon one of unmerited obscurity."

 First marriage (1895–1906)

In 1895 he married Mary Victoria Leiter, the daughter of Levi Ziegler Leiter, an American millionaire[4] of German Mennonite origin and co-founder of the Chicago department store Field & Leiter (later Marshall Field). Initially, he had just married her for her money so he could save his estate but ended up nursing feelings for her. Mary had a long and nearly fatal illness near the end of summer 1904, from which she never really recovered. Falling ill again in July 1906, she died on the 18th of that month in her husband's arms, at the age of 36. It was the greatest personal loss of his life.


She was buried in the church at Kedleston, where Curzon designed his memorial for her, a Gothic chapel added to the north side of the nave. Although he was neither a devout nor a conventional churchman, Curzon retained a simple religious faith; in later years he sometimes said that he was not afraid of death because it would enable him to join Mary in heaven.


They had three daughters during a firm and happy marriage: Mary Irene, who inherited her father's Barony of Ravensdale and was created a life peer in her own right; Cynthia, who became the first wife of the fascist politician Sir Oswald Mosley; and Alexandra Naldera ("Baba"), who married Edward "Fruity" Metcalfe, the best friend, best man and equerry of Edward VIII. Mosley exercised a strange fascination for the Curzon women: Irene had a brief romance with him before either were married; Baba became his mistress; and Curzon's second wife, Grace, had a long affair with him.


Viceroy of India (1899–1905)

In January 1899 he was appointed Viceroy of India. He was created a Peer of Ireland as Baron Curzon of Kedleston, in the County of Derby, on his appointment. This peerage was created in the Peerage of Ireland (the last so created) so that he would be free, until his father's death, to re-enter the House of Commons on his return to Britain.


Reaching India shortly after the suppression of the frontier risings of 1897–98, he paid special attention to the independent tribes of the north-west frontier, inaugurated a new province called the North West Frontier Province, and pursued a policy of forceful control mingled with conciliation. The only major armed outbreak on this frontier during the period of his administration was the Mahsud–Waziri campaign of 1901.


In the context of the Great Game between the British and Russian Empires for control of Central Asia, he held deep mistrust of Russian intentions. This led him to encourage British trade in Persia, and he paid a visit to the Persian Gulf in 1903. Curzon argued for an exclusive British presence in the Gulf, a policy originally proposed by John Malcolm. The British government was already making agreements with local sheiks/tribal leaders along the Persian Gulf coast to this end. Curzon had convinced his government to establish Britain as the unofficial protector of Kuwait with the Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement of 1899. The Lansdowne Declaration in 1903 stated that the British would counter any other European power's attempt to establish a military presence in the Gulf. Only four years later this position was abandoned and the Persian Gulf declared a neutral zone in the Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907, prompted in part by the high economic cost of defending India from Russian advances.


At the end of 1903, Curzon sent a British expedition to Tibet under Francis Younghusband, ostensibly to forestall a Russian advance. After bloody conflicts with Tibet's poorly armed defenders, the mission penetrated to Lhasa, where a treaty was signed in September 1904. No Russian presence was found in Lhasa.


During his tenure, Curzon undertook the restoration of the Taj Mahal and expressed satisfaction that he had done so.


Within India, Curzon appointed a number of commissions to inquire into education, irrigation, police and other branches of administration, on whose reports legislation was based during his second term of office as viceroy. Reappointed Governor-General in August 1904, he presided over the 1905 partition of Bengal, which roused such bitter opposition among the people of the province that it was later revoked (1911).


Indian Army

Curzon also took an active interest in military matters. In 1901, he founded the Imperial Cadet Corps, or ICC. The ICC was a corps d'elite, designed to give Indian princes and aristocrats military training, after which a few would be given officer commissions in the Indian Army. But these commissions were "special commissions" which did not empower their holders to command any troops. Predictably, this was a major stumbling block to the ICC's success, as it caused much resentment among former cadets. Though the ICC closed in 1914, it was a crucial stage in the drive to Indianise the Indian Army's officer Corps, which was haltingly begun in 1917.


Military organisation proved to be the final issue faced by Curzon in India. It often involved petty issues that had much to do with clashes of personality: Curzon once wrote on a document "I rise from the perusal of these papers filled with the sense of the ineptitude of my military advisers", and once wrote to the Commander-in-Chief in India, Kitchener, advising him that signing himself "Kitchener of Khartoum" took up too much time and space, which Kitchener thought petty (Curzon simply signed himself "Curzon" as if he were a hereditary peer, although he later took to signing himself "Curzon of Kedleston"). A difference of opinion with Kitchener, regarding the status of the military member of the council in India (who controlled army supply and logistics, which Kitchener wanted under his own control), led to a controversy in which Curzon failed to obtain the support of the home government. He resigned in August 1905 and returned to England.


Indian famine

A major famine coincided with Curzon's time as viceroy in which 1 to 4.5 million people died. Large parts of India were affected and millions died, and Curzon has been criticised for allegedly having done little to fight the famine. Curzon did implement a variety of measures, including opening up famine relief works that fed between 3 and 5 million, reducing taxes and spending vast amounts of money on irrigation works. But he also stated that "any government which imperiled the financial position of India in the interests of prodigal philanthropy would be open to serious criticism; but any government which by indiscriminate alms-giving weakened the fibre and demoralized the self-reliance of the population, would be guilty of a public crime." He also cut back rations that he characterized as "dangerously high" and stiffened relief eligibility by reinstating the Temple tests.


Return to Britain

Arthur Balfour's refusal to recommend an earldom for Curzon in 1905 was repeated by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the Liberal Prime Minister, who formed his government the day after Curzon returned to England. In deference to the wishes of the King and the advice of his doctors, Curzon did not stand in the general election of 1906 and thus found himself excluded from public life for the first time in twenty years. It was at this time, the nadir of his career, that he suffered the greatest personal loss of his life. Mary died in 1906 and Curzon devoted himself to private matters, including establishing a new home. After the death of Lord Goschen in 1907, the post of Chancellor of Oxford University fell vacant. Curzon successfully became elected as Chancellor of Oxford after he won by 1001 votes to 440 against Lord Rosebery.[34] He proved to be quite an active Chancellor – "[he] threw himself so energetically into the cause of university reform that critics complained he was ruling Oxford like an Indian province."


House of Lords

In 1908, Curzon was elected a representative peer for Ireland, and thus relinquished any idea of returning to the House of Commons.[4] In 1909–1910 he took an active part in opposing the Liberal government's[4] proposal to abolish the legislative veto of the House of Lords, and in 1911 was created Baron Ravensdale, of Ravensdale in the County of Derby, with remainder (in default of heirs male) to his daughters, Viscount Scarsdale, of Scarsdale in the County of Derby, with remainder (in default of heirs male) to the heirs male of his father, and Earl Curzon of Kedleston, in the County of Derby, with the normal remainder, all in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.


He became involved with saving Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire, from destruction. This experience strengthened his resolve for heritage protection. He was one of the sponsors of the Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Act 1913.


On 5 May 1914, he spoke out against a bill in the House of Lords that would have permitted women who already had the right to vote in local elections the right to vote for members of Parliament.


First World War

Curzon joined the Cabinet, as Lord Privy Seal, when Asquith formed his coalition in May 1915.


Like other politicians (e.g. Austen Chamberlain, Arthur Balfour) Curzon favoured British Empire efforts in Mesopotamia, believing that the increase in British prestige would discourage a German-inspired Muslim revolt in India.


Curzon was a member of the Dardanelles Committee and told that body (October 1915) that the recent Salonika expedition was "quixotic chivalry".


Early in 1916 Curzon visited Sir Douglas Haig (newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of British forces in France) at his headquarters in France. Haig was impressed by Curzon's brains and decisiveness, considering that he had mellowed since his days as Viceroy (the then Major-General Haig had been Inspector-General of Cavalry, India, at the time) and had lost "his old pompous ways".


Curzon served in Lloyd George's small War Cabinet as Leader of the House of Lords from December 1916, and he also served on the War Policy Committee. With Allied victory over Germany far from certain, Curzon wrote a paper (12 May 1917) for the War Cabinet urging that Britain seize Palestine and possibly Syria. However, like other members of the War Cabinet, Curzon supported further Western Front offensives lest, with Russian commitment to the war wavering, France and Italy be tempted to make a separate peace. At the War Policy Committee (3 October 1917) Curzon objected in vain to plans to redeploy two divisions to Palestine, with a view to advancing into Syria and knocking Turkey out of the war altogether. Curzon's commitment wavered somewhat as the losses of Third Ypres mounted. In the summer of 1917 the CIGS General Robertson sent Haig a biting description of the members of the War Cabinet, who he said were all frightened of Lloyd George; he described Curzon as "a gasbag".


During the crisis of February 1918, Curzon was one of the few members of the government to support Robertson, threatening in vain to resign if he were removed.


Despite his continued opposition to votes for women (he had been co-president of the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage), the House of Lords voted conclusively in its favour.

 Second marriage (1917)

After a long affair with the romantic novelist Elinor Glyn, Curzon married the former Grace Elvina Hinds in January 1917. She was the wealthy Alabama-born widow of Alfredo Huberto Duggan (died 1915), a first-generation Irish Argentinian appointed to the Argentine Legation in London in 1905. Elinor Glyn was staying with Curzon at the time of the engagement and read about it in the morning newspapers.


Grace had three children from her first marriage, two sons, Alfred and Hubert, and a daughter, Grace Lucille. Alfred and Hubert, as Curzon's step-sons, grew up within his influential circle. Curzon had three daughters from his first marriage, but he and Grace (despite fertility-related operations and several miscarriages) did not have any children together, which put a strain on their marriage. Letters written between them in the early 1920s imply that they still lived together, and remained devoted to each other. In 1923, Curzon was passed over for the office of Prime Minister partly on the advice of Arthur Balfour, who joked that Curzon "has lost the hope of glory but he still possesses the means of Grace" (a humorous allusion to the well known "General Thanksgiving" prayer of the Church of England, which thanks God for "the means of grace, and for the hope of glory").


In 1917, Curzon bought Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, a 14th-century building that had been gutted during the English Civil War. He restored it extensively, then bequeathed it to the National Trust.


Foreign Secretary (1919–24)

Relations with Lloyd George

Curzon did not have David Lloyd George's support. Curzon and Lloyd George had disliked one another since the 1911 Parliament Crisis. The Prime Minister thought him overly pompous and self-important, and it was said that he used him as if he were using a Rolls-Royce to deliver a parcel to the station; Lloyd George said much later that Churchill treated his Ministers in a way that Lloyd George would never have treated his: "They were all men of substance — well, except Curzon."[46] Multiple drafts of resignation letters written at this time were found upon Curzon's death. Despite their antagonism, the two were often in agreement on government policy.Lloyd George needed the wealth of knowledge Curzon possessed so was both his biggest critic and, simultaneously, his largest supporter. Likewise, Curzon was grateful for the leeway he was allowed by Lloyd George when it came to handling affairs in the Middle East.


Other cabinet ministers also respected his vast knowledge of Central Asia but disliked his arrogance and often blunt criticism. Believing that the Foreign Secretary should be non-partisan, he would objectively present all the information on a subject to the Cabinet, as if placing faith in his colleagues to reach the appropriate decision. Conversely, Curzon would take personally and respond aggressively to any criticism.


It has been suggested that Curzon's defensiveness reflected institutional insecurity by the Foreign Office as a whole. During the 1920s the Foreign Office was often a passive participant in decisions which were mainly reactive and dominated by the Prime Minister. The creation of the job of Colonial Secretary, the Cabinet Secretariat and the League of Nations added to the Foreign Office's insecurity.


Policy under Lloyd George

 After nine months as acting Secretary while Balfour was at the Paris Peace Conference, Curzon was appointed Foreign Secretary in October 1919. He gave his name to the British government's proposed Soviet-Polish boundary, the Curzon Line of December 1919. Although during the subsequent Polish-Soviet War, Poland conquered ground in the east, after World War II, Poland was shifted westwards, leaving the border between Poland and its eastern neighbours today approximately at the Curzon Line.


Curzon was largely responsible for the Peace Day ceremonies on 19 July 1919. These included the plaster Cenotaph, designed by the noted British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, for the Allied Victory parade in London. It was so successful that it was reproduced in stone, and still stands.


In 1918, during World War I, as Britain occupied Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), Curzon tried to convince the Indian government to reconsider his scheme for Persia (Iran) to be a buffer against Russian advances. British and Indian troops were in Persia protecting the oilfields at Abadan and watching the Afghan frontier – Curzon believed that British economic and military aid, sent via India, could prop up the Persian government and make her a British client state. However, the agreement of August 1919 was never ratified and the British government rejected the plan as Russia had the geographical advantage and the defensive benefits would not justify the high economic cost.


Small British forces had twice occupied Baku on the Caspian in 1918, while an entire British division had occupied Batum on the Black Sea, supervising German and Turkish withdrawal. Against Curzon's wishes, but on the advice of Sir George Milne, the commander on the spot, the CIGS Henry Wilson, who wanted to concentrate troops in Britain, Ireland, India, and Egypt,[56] and of Churchill (Secretary of State for War), the British withdrew from Baku (the small British naval presence was also withdrawn from the Caspian Sea), at the end of August 1919 leaving only 3 battalions at Batum.


In January 1920 Curzon insisted that British troops remain in Batum, against the wishes of Wilson and the Prime Minister. In February, while Curzon was on holiday, Wilson persuaded the Cabinet to allow withdrawal, but Curzon had the decision reversed on his return, although to Curzon's fury (he thought it "abuse of authority") Wilson gave Milne permission to withdraw if he deemed it necessary. At Cabinet on 5 May 1920 Curzon "by a long-winded jaw" (in Wilson's description) argued for a stay in Batum. After a British garrison at Enzeli (on the Persian Caspian coast) was taken prisoner by Bolshevik forces on 19 May 1920, Lloyd George finally insisted on a withdrawal from Batum early in June 1920. For the rest of 1920 Curzon, supported by Milner (Colonial Secretary), argued that Britain should retain control of Persia. When Wilson asked (15 July 1920) to pull troops out of Persia to put down the rebellion in Mesopotamia and Ireland, Lloyd George blocked the move, saying that Curzon "would not stand it". In the end, financial retrenchment forced a British withdrawal from Persia in the spring of 1921.


Curzon worked on several Middle Eastern problems. He designed the Treaty of Sèvres (August 10, 1920) between the victorious Allies and Ottoman Turkey. The treaty abolished the Ottoman Empire and obliged Turkey to renounce all rights over Arab Asia and North Africa. However a new government in Turkey under Kemal Atatürk rejected the treaty. The Greeks invaded Turkey. Curzon tried and failed to induce the Greeks to accept a compromise on the status of Smyrna and failed to force the Turks to renounce their nationalist program. Lloyd George tried to use force at Chanak but lost support and was forced to step down as prime minister. Curzon remained as foreign minister and helped tie down loose ends in the Middle East at the peace conference at Lausanne.


He helped to negotiate Egyptian independence (granted in 1922) and the division of the British Mandate of Palestine, despite the strong disagreement he held with the policy of his predecessor Arthur Balfour, and helped create the Emirate of Transjordan for Faisal's brother, which may also have delayed the problems there. According to Sir David Gilmour, Curzon "was the only senior figure in the British government at the time who foresaw that its policy would lead to decades of Arab–Jewish hostility".


During the Irish War of Independence, but before the introduction of martial law in December 1920, Curzon suggested the "Indian" solution of blockading villages and imposing collective fines for attacks on the police and army.


In 1921 Curzon was created Earl of Kedleston, in the County of Derby, and Marquess Curzon of Kedleston.


In 1922, he was the chief negotiator for the Allies of the Treaty of Lausanne, which officially ended the war with the Ottoman Empire and defined the borders of Turkey.


Under Bonar Law

Unlike many leading Conservative members of Lloyd George's Coalition Cabinet, Curzon ceased to support Lloyd George over the Chanak Crisis and had just resigned when Conservative backbenchers voted at the Carlton Club meeting to end the Coalition in October 1922. Curzon was thus able to remain Foreign Secretary when Bonar Law formed a purely Conservative ministry.


In 1922–23 Curzon had to negotiate with France after French troops occupied the Ruhr to enforce the payment of German reparations; he described the French Prime Minister (and former President) Raymond Poincaré as a "horrid little man". Curzon had expansive ambitions and was not much happier with Bonar Law, whose foreign policy was based on "retrenchment and withdrawal", than he had been with Lloyd George. However he provided invaluable insight into the Middle East and was instrumental in shaping British foreign policy in that region.


Passed over for prime minister, 1923


On Bonar Law's retirement as prime minister in May 1923, Curzon was passed over for the job in favour of Stanley Baldwin, despite his eagerness for the job.


This decision was taken on the private advice of leading members of the party including former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour. Balfour advised the monarch that in a democratic age it was inappropriate for the prime minister to be a member of the House of Lords, especially when the Labour Party, which had few peers, had become the main opposition party in the Commons. In private Balfour admitted that he was prejudiced against Curzon, whose character was objectionable to some. George V shared this prejudice. A letter purporting to detail the opinions of Bonar Law but actually written by Baldwin sympathisers was delivered to the King's Private Secretary Lord Stamfordham, though it is unclear how much impact this had in the final outcome. Curzon felt he was cheated because Lord Davidson—to whom Baldwin was loyal—and Sir Charles Waterhouse falsely claimed to Lord Stamfordham that the resigned Prime Minister Bonar Law had recommended that George V appoint Stanley Baldwin, not Curzon, as his successor. Harry Bennett says Curzon's arrogance and unpopularity probably prevented him from becoming prime minister despite his brilliance, great capacity for work, and prior accomplishments.


Winston Churchill, one of Curzon's main rivals, accurately contended that Curzon "sow[ed] gratitude and resentment along his path with equally lavish hands". However, even contemporaries who envied Curzon, such as Baldwin, conceded that Curzon was, in the words of his biographer Leonard Mosley, "a devoted and indefatigable public servant, dedicated to the idea of Empire".


Curzon, summoned by Stamfordham, rushed to London assuming he was to be appointed. He burst into tears when told the truth. He later ridiculed Baldwin as "a man of the utmost insignificance", although he served under Baldwin and proposed him for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Curzon remained foreign secretary under Baldwin until the government fell in January 1924. When Baldwin formed a new government in November 1924 he appointed Curzon Lord President of the Council.


Curzon's rejection was a turning point in the nation's political history. Henceforth Lords were barred from leading political parties and becoming prime minister. It was now an age of democracy that made it unacceptable for the prime minister to be based in an unelected and largely powerless chamber.



In March 1925 Curzon suffered a severe haemorrhage of the bladder. Surgery was unsuccessful and he died in London on 20 March 1925 at the age of 66. His coffin, made from the same tree at Kedleston that had encased his first wife, Mary, was taken to Westminster Abbey and from there to his ancestral home in Derbyshire, where he was interred beside Mary in the family vault at All Saints Church on 26 March. In his will, proven on 22 July, Curzon bequeathed his estate to his wife and his brother Francis; his estate was valued for probate at £343,279 10s. 4d. (roughly equivalent to £19,723,149 in 2019)


Upon his death the Barony, Earldom and Marquessate of Curzon of Kedleston and the Earldom of Kedleston became extinct, whilst the Viscountcy and Barony of Scarsdale were inherited by a nephew. The Barony of Ravensdale was inherited by his eldest daughter Mary and is today held by his second daughter Cynthia's great-grandson, Daniel Nicholas Mosley, 4th Baron Ravensdale.


There is now a blue plaque on the house in London where Curzon lived and died, No. 1 Carlton House Terrace, Westminster.



On his appointment as Viceroy of India in 1898, he was created Baron Curzon of Kedleston, in the County of Derby. This title was created in the Peerage of Ireland to enable him to potentially return to the House of Commons, as Irish peers did not have an automatic right to sit in the House of Lords. His was the last title to be created in the Peerage of Ireland. In 1908, he was elected a representative of the Irish peerage in the British House of Lords, from which it followed that he would be a member of the House of Lords until death; indeed, his representative peerage would continue even if (as proved to be the case) he later received a United Kingdom peerage entitling him to a seat in the House of Lords in his own right.


In 1911 he was created Earl Curzon of Kedleston, Viscount Scarsdale, and Baron Ravensdale. All of these titles were in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.


Upon his father's death in 1916, he also became 5th Baron Scarsdale, in the Peerage of Great Britain. The title had been created in 1761.


In the 1921 Birthday Honours, he was created Marquess Curzon of Kedleston. The title became extinct upon his death in 1925, as he was survived by three daughters and no sons.