Thomas Pakenham (historian)

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Thomas Pakenham
Born (1933-08-14) 14 August 1933 (age 80)
Title Earl of Longford
Tenure 3 August 2001 – present
Predecessor Frank Pakenham
Spouse(s) Valerie Susan Scott
Parents 7th Earl of Longford
Elizabeth Harman

Thomas Francis Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford (born 14 August 1933), known simply as Thomas Pakenham, is an Anglo-Irish historian and arborist who has written several prize-winning books on the diverse subjects of Victorian and post-Victorian British history and trees. He is the son of Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, a Labour minister, and Elizabeth Longford. He has seven siblings, among them Lady Antonia Fraser, a writer who was married to playwright Harold Pinter; Lady Rachel Billington, also a writer and married to director Kevin Billington; Judith Kazantzis, a poet; and Kevin Pakenham, who currently[when?] works in the City of London. He is also the cousin of Labour deputy leader, Harriet Harman.

Thomas Pakenham does not use his title and did not use his courtesy title before succeeding his father. However, he has not disclaimed his British titles under the Peerage Act 1963, and the Irish peerages cannot be disclaimed as they are not covered by the Act. Following the House of Lords Act 1999 he is not entitled, as a hereditary peer, to sit in the House of Lords. His father was created a life peer in addition to his hereditary titles in order to be able to retain his seat in the upper house.

Family[edit]

He married Valerie Susan McNair Scott in 1964 and they have four children:

  • Lady Anna Maria Pakenham, b. 26 July 1965
  • Lady Eliza Pakenham, b. 3 November 1966
  • Edward Melchior Pakenham, Lord Silchester, b. 6 January 1970
  • Hon. Frederick Augustus Pakenham, b. 27 November 1971

Biography[edit]

After graduating from Belvedere College and Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1955, Thomas Pakenham travelled to Ethiopia, a trip which is described in his first book The Mountains of Rasselas. On returning to Britain, he worked on the editorial staff of the Times Educational Supplement and later for The Sunday Telegraph and The Observer. He currently[when?] divides his time between London and County Westmeath, Ireland, where he is the chairman of the Irish Tree Society and honorary custodian of Tullynally Castle.

Bibliography[edit]

Books authored or co-authored by Thomas Pakenham:

External links[edit]

Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Frank Pakenham
Earl of Longford
2001–
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Frank Pakenham
Baron Pakenham
2001–
Succeeded by
Incumbent