William Astor, 3rd Viscount Astor

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William Waldorf Astor II
Bill and Bronwen Astor.jpg
Astor (right) with his third wife Bronwen on their wedding day
Personal details
Born (1907-08-13)13 August 1907
Died 7 March 1966(1966-03-07) (aged 58)
Nassau, Bahamas
Spouse(s) Sarah Kathleen Elinor Norton
(m. 1945—1953; divorced)
Phillipa Victoria Hunloke
(m. 1955—1960; divorced)
Janet Bronwen Alun Pugh
(m. 1960—1966; his death)
Relations
Children
Parents Waldorf Astor
Nancy Witcher Langhorne
Alma mater Eton College
New College, Oxford
Occupation businessman, politician

William Waldorf "Bill" Astor II, 3rd Viscount Astor (13 August 1907 – 7 March 1966) was an English businessman and Conservative Party politician. He was also a member of the Astor family.

Background and education[edit]

Bill was the eldest son of Waldorf Astor and Nancy Witcher Langhorne. He was educated at Eton and at New College, Oxford.

Political career[edit]

In 1932, Astor was appointed secretary to Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton, League of Nations Committee of Enquiry in what was then known as Manchuria. First elected to the House of Commons in 1935, he served as a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Fulham East until 1945. Between 1936 and 1937 he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty Sir Samuel Hoare, who was then made Secretary of State for the Home Department in the new cabinet of Neville Chamberlain in 1937.

Astor left parliament for a time, but returned as the Conservative MP for Wycombe in the 1951 general election, serving for two years. On his father's death in 1952, he inherited his title, becoming the 3rd Viscount Astor. Astor took his seat in the House of Lords, forcing a by-election in Wycombe, which was won by the Conservative candidate John Hall. During the 1963 Profumo Affair Astor was accused of having an affair with Mandy Rice-Davies. In response to being told during one of the trials arising out of the scandal that Astor had denied having an affair with her, Rice-Davies famously replied "He would, wouldn't he?"

Astor then took over the family's Cliveden estate in Buckinghamshire, where he and his family continued to live until 1966. Active in thoroughbred horse racing, he inherited Cliveden Stud, a horse farm and breeding operation in the village of Taplow near Maidenhead.

Marriages[edit]

Viscount Astor married three times:[1]

  • 1945: Sarah Kathleen Elinor Norton (20 January 1920 — 4 February 2013) (divorced 1953). They had one son, William Waldorf Astor III (born 27 December 1951)
  • 1955: Phillipa Victoria Hunloke (10 December 1930 — 20 July 2005), daughter of Henry Philip Hunloke and Anne Cavendish - (divorced 1960). They had one daughter, Emily Mary Astor (born 9 June 1956)
  • 1960: Janet Bronwen Alun Pugh (born 6 June 1930). They had two daughters, Janet Elizabeth Astor (born 1 December 1961) and Pauline Marian Astor (born 26 March 1964).

Astor died in Nassau, Bahamas, at age 58 from a heart attack[2] and was buried in the Octagon Temple at Cliveden. His son succeeded him in the viscountcy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://thepeerage.com/p24.htm#i236
  2. ^ "Viscount Astor Dies in Nassau Of Heart Attack at Age of 58. Son of Lady Nancy Astor. Former M.P. Was Named in '63 Profamo Scandal". New York Times. March 8, 1966. Retrieved 2010-03-21. "Viscount Astor of Cliveden, a member of the Anglo-American Waldorf Astor family, died in Nassau, the Bahamas, today of a heart attack. He was 58 years old" 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Charles Wilmot
Member of Parliament for Fulham East
19351945
Succeeded by
Michael Stewart
Preceded by
John Haire
Member of Parliament for Wycombe
1951–1952
Succeeded by
Sir John Hall
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Waldorf Astor
Viscount Astor
1952—1966
Succeeded by
William Astor