Lord Nicholas Hervey

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Lord Nicholas Hervey
Nicholas Hervey.jpg
Lord Nicholas Hervey in 1989
Lord Frederick William Charles Nicholas Wentworth Hervey

(1961-11-26)26 November 1961
Died26 January 1998(1998-01-26) (aged 36)
Chelsea, London, England, UK
Cause of deathSuicide by hanging
EducationEton College
Yale University
Royal Agricultural College
Parent(s)Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol
Lady Juliet Tadgell

Lord Frederick William Charles Nicholas Wentworth Hervey (/ˈhɑːrvi/)[1] (26 November 1961 – 26 January 1998)[a] was a British aristocrat and political activist. He was the only child born to the 6th Marquess of Bristol and his second wife, Lady Juliet Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, and was heir presumptive to the Marquessate. At Yale University, Hervey founded the Rockingham Club, a society for the upper class royalty and aristocracy. He had clinical depression as an adult and committed suicide in 1998.


Hervey's mother was the only child of the wealthy 8th Earl Fitzwilliam; she was 13 years old when her father died in a small aircraft crash that also killed his intended second wife, Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington, sister of John F. Kennedy, in 1948. Lady Juliet was the sole heir to her father's estate, then estimated at £45 million. As an adult, she ran a family stud farm.

Hervey's parents married in 1960, his father for the second time, his mother for the first. He was the only child of that marriage.[6] His father was Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol, who also had significant inherited wealth, some of which he invested into new enterprises. He was once tagged "Mayfair's No. 1 Playboy," in a series of "life story" articles he wrote after serving a gaol sentence for jewel robbery, a crime he claimed he had committed for a dare.

Hervey was the second heir to the title and estates of the Marquess of Bristol after his elder half-brother John, the 7th Marquess, the only child of his father's first marriage. Nicholas and John were fond of one another.[7] When Nicholas was eleven years old, his mother divorced his father and married his 60-year-old friend, Somerset de Chair (d. 1996), with whom five years later she had a daughter, Helena de Chair. In 1996, his mother married for a third time and is now known as Lady Juliet Tadgell.

Hervey's father's final marriage was to his private secretary, Yvonne Sutton, and with her had three further children, Frederick Hervey, 8th Marquess of Bristol, at whose Roman Catholic christening Hervey stood godfather, and two daughters Lady Victoria Hervey and Lady Isabella Hervey.

Education and clubs[edit]

Nicholas was known as a keen traditionalist. He was educated at Eton, Yale and the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. At Eton he was "an industrious boy with plenty of initiative";[8] he took part in the House debate, and during his last two halves (terms) was in the House Library (i.e., a prefect). He founded and was president of the Burlington Society, a fine arts society with an emphasis on modern art. He was also a member of the Agricultural and Political Societies, leaving Eton at Christmas 1979 with A-levels in French, Spanish and Economics. At Yale he eventually took a degree in the History of Art, requiring six years to graduate.

In 1981 he founded the Rockingham Club, a Yale social club for descendants of royalty and aristocracy, which was later modified to allow membership to the children of the "super-wealthy". The Club and Nicholas Hervey were profiled in Andy Warhol's Interview magazine; the Club was dissolved shortly thereafter in 1986. (Nicholas' older half-brother John was posthumously reported to be a special friend of Andy Warhol.) He was a member, through his mother, of the Turf Club, a gentlemen's club in Carlton House Terrace in central London connected to horse racing. His sister Helena attended Bristol University.

Monarchist League and politics[edit]

Lord Nicholas, as he appeared in the Daily Telegraph's 1998 obituary

He was a leading member of the International Monarchist League. He was elected President of its International Youth Association (under 21s) in February 1979 and recruited numerous new members.[9] In 1985 he became a Vice-Chancellor of the League proper, and made the formal toast to the guests, The Prince[10] and Princess of Lippe, at the League's Annual Dinner in the Cholmondeley Room, the House of Lords, on 1 April 1986.[11] In later years he allowed his membership and vice-chancellorship to lapse.

Through the League, which his father had subsidised for many years, he became friendly with Gregory Lauder-Frost, who introduced him to numerous right-wing conservative activities. One such event, on 25 September 1989, was the Western Goals Institute dinner at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, chaired by Lord Sudeley, for the President of El Salvador, Alfredo Cristiani, and his inner cabinet.[12]

Illness, bankruptcy, and death[edit]

In 1983, Lord Nicholas was diagnosed as with mild schizophrenia which was treated with medication. In 1986, he graduated from Yale University and, in 1991, voluntarily underwent treatment in a clinic.

In 1991, he was forced to declare bankruptcy due to lawyers' debts of £38,000 (which his trustees refused to fund),[3] following the failure of the lawsuit, he and his elder half-brother brought against the principal beneficiaries of the will of their father, i.e., his third wife and their young children. His own mother, while on the Sunday Times Rich List (in 2003 her wealth was estimated at £45,000,000), did not act to prevent the bankruptcy, which immediately preceded his entry into a clinic. She subsequently declared that "he was never himself again" after the clinic stay.[7]

He had severe depression and became increasingly reclusive. His landlady said that he "drew no shred of comfort from the high rank and great riches to which he was born" and that "he was a recluse, in the sense that he was heavily sedated and slept all day – a typical schizophrenic. He was very quiet, very Old Etonian. He was a nice guy, but very 'out of it'. Nobody visited him here, except sometimes we would hear someone come and take him out to dinner."[3]

Lord Nicholas Hervey was found dead in his Chelsea flat on 26 January 1998 at the age of 36, having hanged himself.[2] He never married and had no children.

His half-brother, John Hervey, 7th Marquess of Bristol, died less than a year later.[13]

External links[edit]



  1. ^ A majority of sources document that Hervey was found dead on 26 January;[2][3][4] Burke's Peerage lists his date of death as the day before, 25 January.[5]


  1. ^ Hervey, Nicholas (4 May 1978). "The Herveys". The Times. London. p. 17. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Heir found dead". The Times. London. 29 January 1998. p. 5. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Utley, Tom (29 January 1998). "Marquess of Bristol's heir found hanged". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "Peerage and MP Ledger: Lord Nicholas Hervey – near Marquess of Bristol, descendant of William the Conqueror, schizophrenic, bankrupt and suicide". Jordan Publishing. 3 June 2010.
  5. ^ "Featured Families – Bristol". Burke's Peerage. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  6. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage edited by Peter Townend, 105th edition, London, 1970.
  7. ^ a b De-la-Noy, Michael. The House of Hervey. Constable. p. 228. ISBN 1-84119-309-7.
  8. ^ p.227 THE HOUSE OF HERVEY by Michael De-la-Noy (Constable, ISBN 1-84119-309-7)
  9. ^ The Monarchist (July 1979, no. 55)
  10. ^ see Fürst
  11. ^ The Monarchist, February 1987, no. 67
  12. ^ Daily Telegraph and Times, "Court & Social" columns, 26 September 1989
  13. ^ Hall, Sarah. Lord who blew £7m on heroin dies aged 44, The Guardian, 11 January 1999. Accessed 17 May 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage edited by Peter Townend, 105th edition, London, 1970.
  • De-la-Noy, Michael. The House of Hervey. London, 2001. ISBN 1-84119-309-7
  • Hervey, Lord Nicholas. The Monarchist League Today and its Role and Goals for the Future, in The Monarchist, July 1979, no. 55, UK
  • — — The [Monarchist League] Youth Association Spreading its Wings, in The Monarchist, July 1981, no. 59, UK
  • Iovine, Juli V. Lipsticks and Lords: Yale's New Look, in The Wall Street Journal, 4 August 1987, p. 1.
  • Ray, Jonathan, Rake's Progress in the New Statesman, 30 October 2000, vol. 13, issue 629, p. 56.
  • Utley, Tom, article on Hervey in The Daily Telegraph, London, 29 January 1998, (see also news item the previous day).