Michael Hicks Beach, 2nd Earl St Aldwyn

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Michael John Hicks Beach, 2nd Earl St Aldwyn, GBE, TD, PC (9 October 1912 – 29 January 1992) was a British Conservative politician. He achieved the distinction of serving in the governments of five different Prime Ministers.

Background and education[edit]

St Aldwyn was the only son of Michael Hicks Beach, Viscount Quenington, who was killed in action in 1916, and the grandson of Michael Hicks Beach, 1st Earl St Aldwyn. His mother was Marjorie Brocklehurst, who also died in 1916, daughter of Henry Dent Brocklehurst. He succeeded his grandfather in the earldom in April 1916, aged only three. St Aldwyn was educated at Eton and later fought in the Second World War as a Major in the 1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars.

Political career[edit]

In 1954 St Aldwyn was appointed Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in the Conservative administration of Winston Churchill, a post he also held under Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan (the ministry was renamed the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1955).

In 1958 Macmillan promoted him to Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (chief government whip in the House of Lords). He retained this post also under Sir Alec Douglas-Home from 1963 to 1964. After the Conservatives lost power in 1964 he served as Chief Opposition Whip in the House of Lords from 1964 to 1970. When the Conservatives returned to power in 1970 under Edward Heath, St Aldwyn was again appointed Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms, which he remained until the government fell in 1974.

Between 1974 and 1978 he was again Chief Opposition Whip in the House of Lords. Apart from his political career he was also a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of Gloucestershire and served as Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire from 1981 to 1987. He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1959, appointed a KBE in 1964 and a GBE in 1980.

Family[edit]

Lord St Aldwyn married Diana Mary Christian, daughter of Henry Christian George Mills, in 1948. They had three sons. He died in January 1992, aged 79, and was succeeded by his eldest son Michael.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl Fortescue
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms
1957–1964
Succeeded by
The Lord Shepherd
Preceded by
The Lord Beswick
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms
1970–1974
Succeeded by
The Baroness Llewelyn-Davies
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Earl Fortescue
Conservative Chief Whip in the House of Lords
1957—1978
Succeeded by
The Lord Denham
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael Edward Hicks Beach
Earl St Aldwyn
1916–1992
Succeeded by
Michael Henry Hicks Beach