Nicholas Hervey

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Nicholas Hervey
Nicholas Hervey.jpg
Lord Nicholas, 1989.
Born (1961-11-26)26 November 1961
Died 26 January 1998(1998-01-26) (aged 36)
Parents 6th Marquess of Bristol
Lady Juliet Wentworth-FitzWilliam

Lord Frederick William Charles Nicholas Wentworth Hervey (26 November 1961–26 January 1998) was the only child born to the 6th Marquess of Bristol by his second wife (m. 1960) Lady Juliet Wentworth-FitzWilliam.


Lord Nicholas's mother was the only child of the wealthy 8th Earl Fitzwilliam; she was 13 years old when her father died in a small aircraft crash that also killed his intended second wife Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington, sister of John F. Kennedy, in 1948. Lady Juliet was the sole heir to her father's estate, then estimated at £45 million. As an adult, she ran a family stud farm.

Nicholas' father was Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol. He also had significant inherited wealth, which he invested into new, albeit minor, businesses. He was once tagged "Mayfair's No. 1 Playboy," in a series of "life story" articles he authored after he served a minor gaol sentence for jewel robbery which, he said, he did for a dare.

Nicholas Hervey's parents married in 1960, his father for the second time, his mother for the first. He was the only child of that marriage. Lord Nicholas was a descendent of William the Conqueror on both his mother's and father's side, and his consanguinity index is .1%.[1]

He was next heir to the title Marquess of Bristol after his elder half-brother John, the 7th Marquess, the only child of his father's first marriage. His father was noted for being cruel to his eldest son but having good relations with Nicholas. "He treated his son and heir with indifference and contempt," said British-American writer Anthony Haden-Guest.[2] This brother was a tabloid fixture, known for his heroin and cocaine addictions, lavish parties, bisexuality and use of male prostitutes; he served two gaol terms for drugs offences and went through an estimated excess of 30 million pounds, comprising both inheritance and investments, and died at 44 with only £5,000 left.[3] Nicholas and his elder brother John were fond of one another.[4]

When Nicholas was eleven years old, his mother divorced his father and married his 60-year-old friend, Somerset de Chair (d. 1996), with whom she had a daughter, Helena de Chair, five years later. In 1996, she married a third time and is now known as Lady Juliet Tadgell.

Nicholas's father's final marriage was to his private secretary, Yvonne Sutton. The couple had three additional children, such that Nicholas's other half-siblings were Fred, the 8th Marquess, at whose Catholic christening Nicholas stood godfather, and the media personalities Lady Victoria Hervey and Lady Isabella Hervey (the face of Playboy UK).

Education and clubs[edit]

Nicholas was known as a keen traditionalist. He was educated at Eton, Yale and the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. At Eton he was "an industrious boy with plenty of initiative";[5] he took part in the House debate, and during his last two halves (terms) was in the House Library (i.e., a prefect). He founded and was president of the Burlington Society, a fine arts society with an emphasis on modern art. He was also a member of the Agricultural and Political Societies, leaving Eton at Christmas 1979 with A-levels in French, Spanish and Economics. At Yale he took a degree in the History of Art and studied Economics in depth.

In 1981 he founded the Rockingham Club, a Yale social club for descendants of royalty and aristocracy, which was later modified to allow membership to the children of the "super-wealthy". The Club and Nicholas Hervey were profiled in Andy Warhol's Interview magazine but was dissolved shortly thereafter in 1986. (Nicholas' older half-brother John was posthumously reported to be a friend of Andy Warhol.) He was a member, through his mother, of the Turf Club, a gentlemen's club in Carlton House Terrace in central London connected to horse racing. His sister Helena attended Bristol University.

Monarchist League and politics[edit]

Lord Nicholas, as he appeared in the Daily Telegraph's 1998 obituary

He was a leading member of the International Monarchist League. He was elected President of its International Youth Association (under 21s) in February 1979 and recruited numerous new members.[6] In 1985 he became a Vice-Chancellor of the League proper, and made the formal toast to the guests, The Prince[7] and Princess of Lippe, at the League's Annual Dinner in the Cholmondeley Room, the House of Lords, on 1 April 1986.[8] In later years he allowed his membership and vice-chancellorship to lapse.

Through the League, which his father had subsidised for many years, he became friendly with Gregory Lauder-Frost, who introduced him to numerous right-wing conservative activities. One such event, on 25 September 1989, was the Western Goals Institute dinner at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, chaired by Lord Sudeley, for El Salvador's President, Alfredo Cristiani, and his inner cabinet.[9]

Illness, bankruptcy, and death[edit]

In 1983 Lord Nicholas was diagnosed as suffering from mild schizophrenia which was treated with the usual drugs; in 1986 he graduated from Yale University, and in 1991, voluntarily underwent treatment in a clinic.

In 1991 he was forced to declare bankruptcy due to lawyers' debts of £38,000 (which his trustees of refused to fund),[10] following the failure of the lawsuit he and his elder half-brother brought against the principal beneficiaries of the Will of their father, i.e., his third wife and their young children. His own mother, while on the Sunday Times Rich List (in 2003 her wealth was estimated at £45,000,000), did not act to prevent the bankruptcy, which immediately preceded his entry into a clinic. She subsequently declared that "he was never himself again" after the clinic stay.[4]

He suffered from severe depression and became increasingly reclusive. His landlady said that he "drew no shred of comfort from the high rank and great riches to which he was born" and that "he was a recluse, in the sense that he was heavily sedated and slept all day - a typical schizophrenic. He was very quiet, very Old Etonian. He was a nice guy, but very 'out of it'. Nobody visited him here, except sometimes we would hear someone come and take him out to dinner."[10]

Lord Nicholas Hervey was found dead in his Chelsea flat at the age of 36, having hanged himself. He never married and had no issue.

His half-brother, the 7th Marquess of Bristol, died less than a year later.[11]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage edited by Peter Townend, 105th edition, London, 1970.
  2. ^ Haden-Guest, Anthony. The end of the peer, The Observer, 22 January 2006. Accessed 17 May 2008.
  3. ^ Masters, Brian. The House of Hervey: Bats in the family belfry, The Spectator, 12 May 2001. Accessed 17 May 2008.
  4. ^ a b p.228 THE HOUSE OF HERVEY by Michael De-la-Noy (Constable, ISBN 1-84119-309-7)
  5. ^ p.227 THE HOUSE OF HERVEY by Michael De-la-Noy (Constable, ISBN 1-84119-309-7)
  6. ^ The Monarchist (July 1979, no. 55)
  7. ^ see Fürst
  8. ^ The Monarchist, February 1987, no. 67
  9. ^ Daily Telegraph and Times, "Court & Social" columns, 26 September 1989
  10. ^ a b Utley, Tom. Marquess of Bristol's heir found hanged, The Daily Telegraph, 29 January 1998. Accessed 17 May 2008.
  11. ^ Hall, Sarah. Lord who blew £7m on heroin dies aged 44, The Guardian, 11 January 1999. Accessed 17 May 2008.
  • Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage edited by Peter Townend, 105th edition, London, 1970.
  • De-la-Noy, Michael. The House of Hervey. London, 2001. ISBN 1-84119-309-7
  • Hervey, Lord Nicholas. The Monarchist League Today and its Role and Goals for the Future, in The Monarchist, July 1979, no. 55, UK
  • — — The [Monarchist League] Youth Association Spreading its Wings, in The Monarchist, July 1981, no. 59, UK
  • Iovine, Juli V. Lipsticks and Lords: Yale's New Look, in The Wall Street Journal, 4 August 1987, p. 1.
  • Ray, Jonathan, Rake's Progress in the New Statesman, 30 October 2000, vol. 13, issue 629, p. 56.
  • Utley, Tom, article on Hervey in The Daily Telegraph, London, 29 January 1998, (see also news item the previous day).