Lord Edward Gleichen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lord Edward Gleichen
Count Gleichen as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, January 1898
Foreign military attachés at the Kaisermanöver (1904), British Attaché Colonel Gleichen is shown at (10)

Major General Lord Albert Edward Wilfred Gleichen KCVO CB CMG DSO (15 January 1863 – 14 December 1937) was a British courtier and soldier.

Early life and family history[edit]

Born Count Albert Edward Wilfred Gleichen, he was the only son of Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (a half-nephew of Queen Victoria) and his wife, Laura Williamina (a sister of the 5th Marquess of Hertford). Lady Feodora Gleichen, the noted sculptor, was his sister.

Gleichen's comital title, shared by his sisters, derived from his mother, who had received it from Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, shortly before her morganatic marriage to his father. Gleichen had been an hereditary estate of the Princes of Hohenlohe in Germany since 1631, and their father voluntarily used it as a comital title to place himself on the same social footing as his wife. But Edward was not entitled to any land or revenues derived from this dynastic property.

On 15 December 1885, the Court Circular announced Queen Victoria's permission for Edward's mother to share his father's rank at the Court of St James's, and henceforth they were known as HSH Prince and Princess Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. But the Queen did not extend that privilege to their children, although she confirmed use of their German style as count and countesses. On 12 June 1913 Edward was granted precedence before marquesses in the peerage of England (while his sisters were granted precedence before the daughters of dukes in the English peerage).[1]


Gleichen served as a Page of Honour to the Queen from 1874 to 1879. He joined the Grenadier Guards in 1881 and gradually rose through the ranks over the years, eventually becoming a Major General. He served in the short-lived Guards Camel Corps in the Sudan campaign in 1884–85 and with the Egyptian army in the Dongala campaign in 1896. In 1899–1900 he served in the Second Boer War in South Africa, and was mentioned in despatches for his actions during the Battle of Modder River 28 November 1899.[2] In January 1900 he was appointed Deputy Assistant-Adjutant-General to the forces in South Africa. He was Sudan agent in Cairo from 1901 to 1903 with the local rank of Lieutenant-colonel,[3] then Military Attaché to Berlin from 1903 to 1906. He and Kaiser Wilhelm II fell out, and Gleichen was sent to be Military Attaché in Washington D.C. from 1906 to 1907. He met the Wright brothers while in Washington and wrote a report on their aircraft, but also failed to form a relationship with U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt. He was Assistant Director of Military Operations from 1907 to 1911. He served in the First World War, commanding the 15th Brigade from 1911 to 1915, and then the 37th Division from 1915 to 1916. He was an Intelligence Bureau director at the Department of Information from 1917 to 1918. He served as Chairman of the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names from 1919.

At court, the Count was appointed an Extra Equerry to King Edward VII in July 1901.[4]

He wrote a number of books, including:

  • With the Camel Corps up the Nile (1888)
  • With the mission to Menelik (1898)
  • The doings of the Fifteenth Infantry Brigade, August 1914 to March 1915 (1917)
  • London's open air statuary (1928)
  • A Guardsman's Memories (1932).

He was the editor of:

  • Anglo-Egyptian Sudan: a compendium prepared by officers of the Sudan Government - Vol. I: Geographical, descriptive and historical. - 1905. Vol.II: Routes.- 1905. Suppl.: 1906

Change of title[edit]

When King George V commanded his German relatives domiciled in Britain to Anglicize their names and titles in 1917, the Gleichens' 1913 precedence was reduced several grades to that of younger son/daughters of a marquess in the peerage of the United Kingdom.[5] This was because only marquisal rank was conferred upon the King's nearer, heretofore princely relatives, the Tecks and Battenbergs. Although inexplicably allowed to retain their German surname, the Gleichens relinquished use of the comital title and on 12 September 1917 acquired the prefix of Lord or Lady, although this was not made hereditary for Edward's descendants as his countship had been.[5]

On 2 July 1910, Gleichen married Hon. Sylvia Gay Edwardes (a niece of the 4th Baron Kensington), who was a Maid of Honour to Queens Victoria and Alexandra. They had no children.

Honours and awards[edit]

British decorations

Foreign decorations



  1. ^ "No. 28789". The London Gazette. 2 January 1914. p. 37.
  2. ^ "No. 27157". The London Gazette. 26 January 1900. p. 511.
  3. ^ "No. 27382". The London Gazette. 3 December 1901. p. 8564.
  4. ^ "No. 27335". The London Gazette. 19 July 1901. p. 4779.
  5. ^ a b "No. 30551". The London Gazette. 1 March 1918. p. 2632.
  6. ^ "No. 27306". The London Gazette. 19 April 1901. p. 2700.
  7. ^ "No. 27285". The London Gazette. 15 February 1901. p. 1146.

External links[edit]

Court offices
Preceded by
Hon. George Somerset
Page of Honour
Succeeded by
Frederic Kerr
Military offices
Preceded by
W. H. H. Waters
Military Attaché
Succeeded by
J. A. Trench
Titles of nobility
Preceded by
Princess Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Count von Gleichen
Succeeded by
Title relinquished