Frederick Lamb, 3rd Viscount Melbourne

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Portrait of Frederick James Lamb, 3rd Viscount Melbourne by John Partridge, 1846

Frederick James Lamb, 3rd Viscount Melbourne, GCB PC (17 April 1782 – 29 January 1853), known as The Lord Beauvale from 1839 to 1848, was a British diplomat.

Family[edit]

Lamb was a younger son of Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne, and his wife Elizabeth Milbanke, and the younger brother of Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. Since his mother had numerous lovers, his real paternity is a matter of conjecture. He married Alexandrina Julia Theresa Wilhelmina Sophia Gräfin von Maltzan, daughter of Joachim Charles Leslie Mortimer Graf von Maltzan.[1] It was generally considered to be a love marriage: even though Alexandrina was more than thirty years her husband's junior, he was described as being "as handsome and debonair at sixty as he had been at twenty-five."[2] William, Frederick and their sister Emily remained close all their lives, although Frederick and Emily disliked William's wife Lady Caroline Lamb, whom they called "the little beast".[3]

Career[edit]

He served as British Ambassador to Vienna ending in 1841. He was invested as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath and admitted to the Privy Council in 1822. In 1839 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Beauvale, of Beauvale in the County of Nottingham.[4] In 1848 he succeeded his elder brother as third Viscount Melbourne.

Despite a certain personal coolness between them, Lord Palmerston, as Foreign Secretary placed great confidence in Lamb, wrote to him in a courteous style very different from his usual brusque manner, and left the running of the Vienna Embassy almost entirely in his hands.[5] The coolness was due to Palmerston's decades-long affair with Lamb's sister Emily, Lady Cowper; Lamb disapproved of the affair and disapproved equally of their eventual marriage, although this proved to be very happy.[6] Palmerston's biographer notes that the marriage coincided with the early stages of the Oriental Crisis of 1840, and that the two men, although they were then personally barely on speaking terms, cooperated in an entirely professional way to resolve it.[7] Palmerston, in addition to his real respect for Lamb, was anxious not to quarrel with him for Emily's sake: as Charles Greville remarked: "the Chief (Palmerston) is devoted to the sister and the sister to the brother".[8] Relations between the two men became friendlier in later years, partly because both Palmerston and Emily were fond of Fred's wife Alexandrina.[9]

Death[edit]

Lord Melbourne died childless in January 1853, aged 70, and all his titles became extinct. The family seat of Melbourne Hall passed to his sister Emily. His widow remarried in 1856 to John Weld-Forester, 2nd Baron Forester, was widowed again in 1873, and died in 1894.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Peerage biography". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  2. ^ Lord David Cecil Melbourne Pan Edition 1965 p.409
  3. ^ Cecil pp.25,69
  4. ^ "No. 19724". The London Gazette. 12 April 1839. p. 800. 
  5. ^ Ridley, Jasper Lord Palmerston Constable London 1970 pp.220-221
  6. ^ Ridley p.221
  7. ^ Ridley pp.220-222
  8. ^ Ridley p.112
  9. ^ Ridley p.284
  10. ^ The Complete Peerage, Volume V. St Catherine's Press. 1926. p. 552. 

Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
George Rose
British Minister to Bavaria
1815–1820
Succeeded by
Brook Taylor
Preceded by
Sir William à Court
British Ambassador to Portugal
1827–1831
Succeeded by
Baron Howard de Walden
Preceded by
Sir Henry Wellesley
British Ambassador to Austria
1831–1841
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Gordon
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
William Lamb
Viscount Melbourne
1848–1853
Extinct
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Beauvale
1839–1853
Extinct
Preceded by
William Lamb
Baron Melbourne
1848–1853