Lord Henry Somerset

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The Right Honourable
Lord Henry Somerset
PC, DL, JP
Comptroller of the Household
In office
2 March 1874 – 4 February 1879
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by Lord Otho FitzGerald
Succeeded by The Earl of Yarmouth
Personal details
Born 7 December 1849
Died 10 October 1932 (1932-10-11) (aged 82)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Isabella Somers-Cocks (d. 1921)

Lord Henry Richard Charles Somerset PC, DL, JP (7 December 1849 – 10 October 1932) was a British Conservative politician and composer of popular music. He served as Comptroller of the Household under Benjamin Disraeli between 1874 and 1879.

Background[edit]

Somerset was the second son of Henry Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort, by his wife Lady Georgiana Charlotte Curzon, daughter of Richard Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe. He was the brother of Henry Somerset, 9th Duke of Beaufort, and Lord Arthur Somerset.[1]

Political career[edit]

Somerset was elected at a by-election in 1871 as Member of Parliament (MP) for Monmouthshire, and held the seat until he stood down at the 1880 general election.[2][3] When the Conservatives came to power in 1874 under Benjamin Disraeli, he was sworn of the Privy Council[4] and appointed Comptroller of the Household,[5] a post he held until 1879.[6] Apart from his political career he was also a Deputy Lieutenant of Monmouthshire and a justice of the peace for Herefordshire and Monmouthshire.[1]

Family[edit]

Somerset married Lady Isabella Caroline Somers-Cocks,[7] the eldest daughter and co-heir of Charles Somers-Cocks, 3rd Earl Somers, on 6 February 1872. They had one child, Henry Charles Somers Augustus (1874–1945), but their marriage collapsed after a few years because of Lord Henry's infatuation with a seventeen-year-old boy. As a result, he withdrew to Italy, while his wife was ostracised from society for having made public, contrary to the conventions of the time, why she had left him.[8] She died in March 1921. Somerset remained a widower until his death in October 1932, aged 82. His only son married Lady Katherine, a daughter of William Beauclerk, 10th Duke of St Albans, and their grandson David Somerset, 11th Duke of Beaufort, succeeded to the dukedom of Beaufort in 1984.[1]

Music[edit]

Somerset is the author of Songs of adieu (1889) and A song of sleep (Ricordi, 1903). His setting to music of Christina Rossetti's Echo enjoyed considerable success when it was published by Chappell & Co. c.1900.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c thepeerage.com Lord Henry Richard Charles Somerset
  2. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 529. ISBN 0-900178-26-4. 
  3. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "M" (part 3)[self-published source][better source needed]
  4. ^ "no. 24072". The London Gazette. 6 March 1874. p. 1519. 
  5. ^ "no. 24071". The London Gazette. 3 March 1874. p. 1453. 
  6. ^ "no. 24675". The London Gazette. 7 February 1879. p. 601. 
  7. ^ Black, Ros. "Lady Henry Somerset 1851 - 1921". 
  8. ^ Rodney Bell (2011) As Good as God, As Clever as the Devil: The Impossible Life of Mary Benson

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Octavius Morgan
Poulett Somerset
Member of Parliament for Monmouthshire
18711880
With: Octavius Morgan 1841-74,
Frederick Courtenay Morgan 1874-85
Succeeded by
Frederick Courtenay Morgan
John Rolls
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Otho FitzGerald
Comptroller of the Household
1874–1879
Succeeded by
The Earl of Yarmouth