Charles Stanhope, 4th Earl of Harrington

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Charles Stanhope, 5th Earl of Harrington
Charles Stanhope.jpg
"A noble aiddecamp", a contemporary etching of Charles Stanhope, 4th Earl of Harrington
Born Charles Stanhope
(1780-04-08)8 April 1780
Died 3 March 1851(1851-03-03) (aged 70)
Title 4th Earl of Harrington
Tenure 1829–1851
Other titles Viscount Petersham
Baron Harrington
Nationality British
Residence Elvaston Castle
Predecessor Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington (Father)
Successor Leicester Stanhope, 5th Earl of Harrington (Younger Brother)
Spouse(s) Maria Foote[1]
Issue Charles Stanhope, Viscount Petersham b. 13 Dec 1831, d. 8 Apr 1836
Lady Jane St. Maur Blanche Stanhope b. 14 May 1833, d. 28 Nov 1907
Parents Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington
Jane Flemming
Occupation Peer and soldier

Major-General Charles Stanhope, 4th Earl of Harrington (8 April 1780 – 3 March 1851), styled Viscount Petersham until 1829, was an English peer and man of fashion.

Petersham, the 3rd Earl of Harrington's eldest son, was a Regency buck. He was educated at Eton from 1793 until 1795 when he entered the Coldstream Guards. In 1799, he became Captain of the 10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons; in 1803 Major of the Queen's Rangers; and in 1807 Lieutenant Colonel 3rd West India Regiment. Although in 1812 he was placed on half pay, in 1814 he became Colonel. Also in 1812, he was a Lord of the Bedchamber to King George III until 1820, then from 1820 till 1829 to King George IV.[citation needed] The family home in London was Harrington House.

Viscount Petersham's manners were affected and he spoke with a kind of lisp. Never seen in public before 6:00 P.M., 'Beau' Petersham was a trendsetter. He attracted the attention and friendship of the then Prince regent who emulated his clothes, his tea drinking and his addiction to snuff. Lord Petersham's sitting room contained canisters of tea in great variety and an equally wide range of snuff. He owned 365 snuff boxes and used a different one on each day of the year.

Tall and handsome, Lord Petersham was said to resemble Henry IV; he emphasised the likeness by growing a small pointed beard. He designed many of his own clothes and his fashions were quickly copied. He gave his name to the Harrington hat and Petersham overcoat. The Prince Regent ordered an overcoat in the Petersham style for each day of the week. Viscount Petersham was famous for the brown color of his coach, clothing, and his servant's livery.

Petersham was almost fifty when he acceded to the Stanhope family title. He finally married in 1831 to Maria Foote, the Covent Garden actress, seventeen years his junior.[1] Their affair had met with the old Earl's disapproval and had been the gossip of London and Derbyshire for several years. The 4th Earl of Harrington had William Barron landscape the park at Elvaston Castle, his father's Gothic confection by James Wyatt. Lewis Cottingham redecorated Wyatt's original entrance hall. Renamed the Hall of the Fair Star it was dedicated to the chivalrous pursuit of love. The new Countess was in her element in this make-believe world of chivalry.

The 4th Earl's son died aged 4.[2]
He was succeeded by his brother, Leicester Stanhope, 5th Earl of Harrington.

Australian tea company The Devotea has offered a tea named after him since 2010. 'Lord Petersham' is their biggest selling blend in North America. They also named one after his sister Anna Russell, the Duchess of Bedford.

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1780-1829: Viscount Petersham
  • 1829-1851: The Right Honourable The Earl of Harrington


External links[edit]

Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Charles Stanhope
Earl of Harrington
Succeeded by
Leicester Stanhope