Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 8th Earl Fitzwilliam

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The Earl FitzWilliam
Born (1910-12-31)31 December 1910
Died 13 May 1948(1948-05-13) (aged 37)
Spouse(s) Olive Dorothea Plunket
Children Lady Juliet Tadgell
Parent(s) William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 7th Earl Fitzwilliam
Lady Maud Dundas

William Henry Lawrence Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 8th Earl Fitzwilliam, DSO (31 December 1910 – 13 May 1948), styled Viscount Milton before 1943, was a British soldier and aristocrat.


The fifth child and only son of the 7th Earl Fitzwilliam, he was born at the family's seat of Wentworth Woodhouse and died in an aircraft accident over Saint-Bauzile, Ardèche, France.

Marriage and issue[edit]

He was married, on 19 April 1933, to Olive Dorothea "Obby" Plunket (d. 1975) (the daughter of Benjamin Plunket, Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, and thereby granddaughter of the 4th Baron Plunket, Archbishop of Dublin), with whom he had one daughter:

In Lord Fitzwilliam's later years the marriage to Obby became strained and there was talk of divorce.[citation needed] In 1943 he inherited the Earldom from his father.


As a former Cadet with the Eton College Contingent (June Division) Officer Training Corps he was commissioned second lieutenant into the Royal Scots Greys (Supplementary Reserve of Officers) on 20 July 1929.[5] During World War II he served with distinction in the Commandos and later for the Special Operations Executive, gaining a Distinguished Service Order.


He died in France in a plane crash on 13 May 1948.

From 1946 he was romantically linked with the widowed Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington, sister of future U.S. President John F. Kennedy. She was killed with Fitzwilliam in the crash.

At his death the title passed to his second cousin once removed, Eric Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, and his fortune, then estimated at 45 million pounds, which included half of the Wentworth Woodhouse estate, the Coolattin estate in County Wicklow, Ireland, and a considerable part of the Fitzwilliam art collection, passed to his daughter, the present Lady Juliet Tadgell.

Popular culture[edit]



  1. ^ His dates vary widely. One date is 1912–1996; another is 22 August 1911 – 5 January 1995; yet other states his death date as 5 January 1996.
  2. ^ "Death of a self-confessed heterosexual" The Independent (London), 15 January 1996.
  3. ^ Description of the wedding and here
  4. ^ "A sprog for Rees-Mogg", Daily Mail, 17 October 2007.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33518. p. 4767. 19 July 1929.


External links[edit]

Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam
Earl Fitzwilliam
Succeeded by
Eric Wentworth-Fitzwilliam
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam
Earl Fitzwilliam
Succeeded by
Eric Wentworth-Fitzwilliam