Nicholas Eden, 2nd Earl of Avon

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Nicholas Eden, 2nd Earl of Avon, OBE (3 October 1930 – 17 August 1985), styled Viscount Eden between 1961 and 1977, was a British Army officer and, later, a Conservative politician. He was the younger son of Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden and his first wife, Beatrice (née Beckett).

Eden succeeded to the earldom on the death of his father in 1977, his elder brother Pilot Officer Simon Gascoigne Eden having been killed in action in June 1945, while serving as a navigator with the RAF in Burma.[1]

Having risen to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Green Jackets, Lord Avon served under Margaret Thatcher as a Lord-in-Waiting from 1980 to 1983, as Under-Secretary of State for Energy from 1983 to 1984 and as Under-Secretary of State for the Environment from 1984 until shortly before his death from complications related to AIDS the following year at the age of 54.[2] Widely known to have been gay,[2] Lord Avon was unmarried and his titles died with him. The character of Peter Morton in the film Peter's Friends is loosely inspired by him.

He was appointed OBE in the 1970 New Year Honours for his military service.

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1930-1961: Mr Nicholas Eden
  • 1961-1970: Viscount Eden
  • 1970-1977: Viscount Eden, OBE
  • 1977-1985: The Right Honourable The Earl of Avon, OBE


  1. ^ Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  2. ^ a b Coleman, Brian (2007-06-25). "Thatcher the gay icon". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Mowbray
1980 – 1983
Succeeded by
The Lord Lucas of Chilworth
Preceded by
John Moore
David Mellor
Joint Under-Secretary of State for Energy
with John Moore 1983
Giles Shaw 1983–1984

Succeeded by
Giles Shaw
David Hunt
Preceded by
Sir George Young, Bt
Hon. William Waldegrave
Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Environment
with Sir George Young, Bt

Succeeded by
Sir George Young, Bt
Angela Rumbold
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Anthony Eden
Earl of Avon