Henry Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort

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The Duke of Beaufort
The Duke of Beaufort, c. 1865-75
Master of the Horse
In office
26 February 1858 – 11 June 1859
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Derby
Preceded byThe Duke of Wellington
Succeeded byThe Marquess of Ailesbury
In office
June 1866 – 1 December 1868
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Derby
Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded byThe Marquess of Ailesbury
Succeeded byThe Marquess of Ailesbury
Personal details
Born1 February 1824 (1824-02)
Paris, France
Died30 April 1899 (1899-05-01) (aged 75)
Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire, England
Political partyConservative
SpouseLady Georgiana Curzon (1825–1906)
Children6, including Henry Adelbert, Henry Richard, and Henry Arthur
Parent(s)Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort
Emily Culling Smith
Garter-encircled arms of Charles Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort, KG

Henry Charles FitzRoy Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort, KG, PC (1 February 1824 – 30 April 1899), styled Earl of Glamorgan until 1835 and Marquess of Worcester from 1835 to 1853,[1] was a British peer, soldier, and Conservative politician. He served as Master of the Horse, Member of Parliament for East Gloucestershire, and Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire.

Background and education[edit]

Born in Paris, Beaufort was the only son of Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort by his second wife Emily Frances (1800–1889), daughter of Charles Culling Smith and his wife Lady Anne Wellesley (the sister of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington).[2] He was educated at Eton College.

Throughout his life he was known as 'Charles Beaufort' to distinguish him from his father; his sons, curiously all named Henry, also went by their middle names.[citation needed]

Military career[edit]

Beaufort was commissioned a Cornet and Sublieutenant in the 1st Life Guards on 17 August 1841. From 1842 to 1852, he was an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington, then Commander-in-Chief of the Forces[2] (Beaufort's father had also been Wellington's aide-de-camp during the Peninsular War). He was promoted lieutenant on 7 July 1843. On 13 August 1847, he purchased a captaincy in the 7th Hussars.[3]

On 15 June 1852, Beaufort was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and after the death of Wellington in September, he continued to serve as aide-de-camp to the new Commander-in-Chief, Viscount Hardinge, until the latter's death in 1856.[2]

On 21 April 1854, Beaufort purchased a commission as an unattached major,[4] and on 5 May, he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the Royal Gloucestershire Yeomanry, replacing his late father.[5] During this time it was proposed to start "a cattle show" in Monmouth, and in 1857 Beaufort and John Etherington Welch Rolls each put money into a fund to start the show. Rolls was the greater financial contributor and he became President of the show.[6] This cattle show is now known as the Monmouthshire Show.

Beaufort was breveted lieutenant colonel on 26 October 1858,[7] but sold his commission and left the Army on 11 June 1861.[8] On 16 September 1863, he was made a deputy lieutenant of Monmouthshire. He was also appointed Honorary Colonel of the 1st Gloucestershire Engineer Volunteer Corps on 20 November 1867. On 29 April 1874, he resigned the lieutenant-colonelcy of the Gloucestershire Yeomanry and became Honorary Colonel of the regiment.[9] He resigned that commission on 2 July 1887.[10] He also resigned the honorary colonelcy of the 1st Gloucestershire Engineer Volunteers on 2 December 1888.[11]

Political career[edit]

In 1846, Beaufort was returned as a Member of Parliament (MP) for East Gloucestershire, holding the seat until succeeding his father in the dukedom in November 1853. He was appointed Master of the Horse on 26 February 1858, as part of Lord Derby's second government and was made a Privy Counsellor the same day. He left office in 1859, when Derby's ministry fell.[1] Beaufort was again appointed Master of the Horse in Derby's third government in 1866. On 19 March 1867, he was made a Knight of the Garter and appointed Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire later that year. He lost the Mastership of the Horse in 1868 when the government fell, but remained Lord Lieutenant for the remainder of his life.[1]

Beaufort conceived and planned the Badminton Library series of sporting books, the publication of which began in 1885 with a volume on Hunting,[12] and acted as its overseeing editor.


Beaufort married Lady Georgiana Charlotte Curzon (29 September 1825 – 14 May 1906), daughter of Richard Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe, on 3 July 1845. They had six children:

Somerset died in 1899, aged 75 at Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire, from gout and was buried on 5 May 1899 at St Michael and All Angels Church, Badminton.

He owned 51,000 acres, mostly in the counties of Monmouth and Gloucester.[13]



  1. ^ a b c Doyle, James E. (1886). The Official Baronage of England. Vol. I. Longmans, Green and Co. p. 139. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. p. 110.
  3. ^ "No. 20764". The London Gazette. 13 August 1847. p. 2953.
  4. ^ "No. 21545". The London Gazette. 21 April 1854. p. 1253.
  5. ^ "No. 21550". The London Gazette. 5 May 1854. p. 1404.
  6. ^ "Monmouthshire Show History". Monmouthshire Show. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  7. ^ "No. 22199". The London Gazette. 12 November 1858. p. 4789.
  8. ^ "No. 22519". The London Gazette. 11 June 1861. p. 2449.
  9. ^ "No. 24090". The London Gazette. 28 April 1874. p. 2300.
  10. ^ "No. 25717". The London Gazette. 1 July 1887. p. 3563.
  11. ^ "No. 25768". The London Gazette. 20 December 1887. p. 7067.
  12. ^ His Grace the Duke of, Beaufort; Morris, K.G.; Morris, Mowbray (1885). Hunting. Boston: Little Brown. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  13. ^ The great landowners of Britain and Ireland

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for East Gloucestershire
With: Sir Christopher Codrington
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Master of the Horse
Succeeded by
Preceded by Master of the Horse
Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
Preceded by Duke of Beaufort
Succeeded by