Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness
|The Right Honourable
The Earl of Holderness
|Secretary of State for the Southern Department|
6 April 1757 – 27 June 1757
|Preceded by||William Pitt|
|Succeeded by||William Pitt|
18 June 1751 – 23 March 1754
|Preceded by||The Duke of Bedford|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Robinson|
|Secretary of State for the Northern Department|
23 March 1754 – 25 March 1761
|Preceded by||The Duke of Newcastle|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Bute|
|Born||17 May 1718|
|Died||16 May 1778
Syon Hill, London, England
|Children||Amelia Osborne, Marchioness of Carmarthen|
In 1741 he collaborated with G.F. Handel in the production of Deidamia. From 1744 to 1746 he was ambassador at Venice and from 1749 to 1751 he represented his country at The Hague. In 1751 he became Secretary of State for the Southern Department, transferring in 1754 to the Northern Department, and he remained in office until March 1761, when he was dismissed by King George III in favour of Lord Bute, although he had largely been a cipher in that position to the stronger personalities of his colleagues, successively the Duke of Newcastle, Thomas Robinson, Henry Fox, and William Pitt the Elder. From 1771 to 1776 he acted as governor to two of the King's sons, a solemn phantom as Horace Walpole calls him. He left no sons who survived childhood, and all his titles became extinct except the Baronies of Darcy (de Knayth) and Conyers, which were Baronies by Writ, and the Portuguese countship of Mértola. In those peerages he was succeeded by his daughter, Amelia Osborne, Marchioness of Carmarthen.
David Hume wrote, "It is remarkable that this family of d'Arcy [sic] seems to be the only male descendant of any of the Conqueror's barons now remaining among the Peers. Lord Holdernessae [sic] is the heir of that family".
On 29 October 1743, Darcy married Mary Doublet, daughter of Francis Doublet and Constantia Van-der-Beck. The couple had three children, only one of whom survived childhood:
- George Darcy, Lord Darcy and Conyers (September 1745 – 27 September 1747)
- Thomas Darcy, Lord Darcy and Conyers (born and died 1750)
- Lady Amelia Darcy (12 October 1754 – 27 January 1784); married firstly Francis Osborne, Marquess of Carmarthen, and had issue. They couple divorced in 1779. She married secondly John "Mad Jack" Byron, father of Lord Byron, and had one daughter, Augusta Leigh.
- "D'Arcy, Robert". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Record for Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness on thepeerage.com
- A New Chronology of Venetian Opera and Related Genres, 1660-1760 by Eleanor Selfridge-Field, p. 492
- History of England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), p. 16 n. 14.
- Archival material relating to Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness listed at the UK National Archives