Nicholas Eden, 2nd Earl of Avon

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The Earl of Avon

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment
In office
11 September 1984 – 27 March 1985
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded bynew appointment
Succeeded byAngela Rumbold
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy
In office
6 January 1983 – 11 September 1984
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byDavid Mellor
Succeeded byDavid Hunt
Government Whip
In office
22 September 1980 – 6 January 1983
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byThe Lord Mowbray
Succeeded byThe Lord Lucas of Chilworth
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
14 January 1977 – 17 August 1985
Hereditary peerage
Preceded byThe 1st Earl of Avon
Succeeded bypeerage extinct
Personal details
Born3 October 1930
Died17 August 1985
(aged 54)
Political partyConservative

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).

Called up for National Service, Eden was commissioned a second lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, his father's former regiment, on 20 May 1950.[1] He transferred to a Territorial Army commission with effect from 6 August 1953, in the same rank (seniority from 20 May 1950), and was promoted to acting lieutenant from the same date (seniority from 17 January 1952).[2] He was promoted to acting captain on 1 March 1956,[3] to the substantive rank on 3 October 1957 (seniority from 1 March 1956),[4] to acting major on 1 November 1959 and to substantive major on 3 October 1964 (seniority from 1 November 1959.[5][6]

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.[7]

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.[8] Widely known to have been gay,[8] Lord Avon was unmarried and upon his death, his titles became extinct. 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. ^ "No. 38978". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 July 1950. p. 3866.
  2. ^ "No. 40663". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 December 1955. p. 7274.
  3. ^ "No. 40796". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1956. p. 3298.
  4. ^ "No. 41216". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 November 1957. p. 6399.
  5. ^ "No. 41858". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 October 1959. p. 6931.
  6. ^ "No. 43450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 September 1964. p. 8287.
  7. ^ Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  8. ^ a b Coleman, Brian (25 June 2007). "Thatcher the gay icon". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2007.

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