Arthur Henry Hardinge

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Sir Arthur Henry Hardinge GCMG KCB (London, 12 October 1859 – Mortlake, Greater London, 27 December 1933, buried at St.Peter Churchyard, Fordcombe, Kent, England), was a senior British diplomat.

Early life[edit]

He was the son of General Hon. Sir Arthur Edward Hardinge, (1828–1892), KCB, Commander of the Bombay Army and later Governor of Gibraltar, and a grandson of the 1st Viscount Hardinge. A fluent speaker of Spanish and French, he studied Classics and Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford University, being a Fellow of All Souls College in 1881.

He was a Page of Honour to Queen Victoria 1870-1876.

Diplomatic career[edit]

A photo of Lenana, the Chief Medicine-Man of the Maasai circa 1890. Point Lenana (4,985m), the third highest peak, on Mount Kenya was named after him by Halford Mackinder. Lenana is shown with Sir Arthur Hardinge, although which man in the photo is Hardinge is unknown.

Hardinge entered the Foreign Office in 1880, and had his first posting as a Junior Agent of the British Foreign Office, at Madrid, Spain, in 1883, under Ambassador Robert Morier. He acted as a Secretary to the Foreign Minister Lord Salisbury in 1885, and when Robert Morier was appointed Ambassador to Saint Petersburg, Russia, he went there as his personal aide.

In 1887, he went to Istanbul, Turkey, under Sir William White, moving in 1890 to Bucharest, Romania. He accompanied the Russian Tsarevich on his trip to India 1890-91, and was then acting Consul-General in Cairo, Egypt, in 1891, under Sir Evelyn Baring.

In 1894 he was appointed Consul General to Zanzibar being promoted to Colonial Head, 1895–1900, at the British East Africa Protectorate, overseeing there the construction of a strategically railway to Uganda and the crushing of an Arabic ethnic rebellion. In October 1900 he was appointed Consul-General in Persia,[1] a post which was later upgraded to Minister. Staying in Teheran until 1906, he stressed the importance of stopping Tsarist Russia on courting the political favours of the Persian government .[citation needed]

Concern by King Edward VII prompted him to accept the position as Minister to Belgium 1906–1911, and later as Minister to Portugal 1911–1913, and Ambassador to Spain, 1913–1919, a neutral country in World War I. There, he was frequented at Madrid and Barcelona by notorious widow literary woman and sister to the famous General Jose Millan Astray, Pilar Millan Astray, who was running some sort of World War I spyionnage network in both places and took thus opportunities to read and transcribe faithfully his diplomate notes.[citation needed]

He retired in 1920, aged 61. He became the author of several books, including "Life of Lord Carnarvon" (1925) and two volumes of autobiography, "A Diplomatist in Europe" (1927) and "A Diplomatist in the East".[citation needed] A supporter of right-wing politics, he joined the British Fascists.[2][3]


Hardinge married, in 1899, Alexandra Mina Ellis, daughter of Major-General Sir Arthur Ellis. They had a daughter, and two sons Henry Arthur Mina Hardinge (1905–1925), and George Granville Douglas Hardinge (1912–1927), who both died young.[citation needed]


Most Honourable Order of the Bath

  • Companion (CB) 1895
  • Knight Commander (KCB) 1904

Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George

  • Knight Commander (KCMG) 1897
  • Knight Grand Cross (GCMG) 1910


  1. ^ "No. 27263". The London Gazette. 4 January 1901. p. 81. 
  2. ^ Richard Griffiths, Fellow Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany, 1933-39, Oxford University Press, 1983, p. 87
  3. ^ Hoare, Philip (4 July 2014). "Ivor Novello and Noël Coward's flirtation with fascism". Guardian.