Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester

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The Earl of Leicester
Personal details
Born1 December 1595
Died2 November 1677(1677-11-02) (aged 81)
m. 1615; died 1659)
ParentsRobert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester
Barbara Gamage
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester (1 December 1595 – 2 November 1677) was an English diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1614 and 1625 and then succeeded to the peerage as Earl of Leicester.


Sidney was born at Castle Barnard, County Durham, the son of Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester, and his first wife, Barbara Gamage.[1] He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. In 1610 he was created Knight of the Bath when Prince Henry was created Prince of Wales. He was elected Member of Parliament for Wilton in 1614.[1]

Sidney served in the army in the Netherlands during his father's governorship of Flushing, and was given command of an English regiment in the Dutch service in 1616. In 1618 he became a member of Gray's Inn. He was elected one of the two knights of the shire for Kent in 1621. In 1624 he was elected as the member for Monmouthshire and was re-elected for that county in 1625. In 1626, he succeeded his father as Earl of Leicester[1] In 1631, he began the construction of Leicester House, a huge mansion on the site of what is now Leicester Square in London. He was employed on diplomatic business in Denmark in 1632 and undertook further diplomatic work in France from 1636 to 1641.

Lord Leicester was then appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in place of The Earl of Strafford. When the governorship of Dublin became vacant, Leicester appointed George Monck. Charles I, however, overruled the appointment in favour of Lord Lambart. In 1643 he resigned without having set foot in Ireland.

Lord Leicester died at Penshurst at the age of nearly 81. He was "esteemed of great learning, observation and veracity".[1]


In 1615, Sidney married Lady Dorothy Percy, the daughter of Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland. They had twelve children, including:

Philip and Algernon supported the Parliamentary cause in the English Civil War.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Leicester, Robert Sidney, Earl of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 392.

Further reading[edit]

  • Michael G. Brennan (2005). The Sidneys of Penshurst and the monarchy, 1500–1700, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 0-7546-5060-X, 9780754650607. pp. 140–149
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Edmondes
Hugh Sandford
Member of Parliament for Wilton
With: Thomas Morgan
Succeeded by
Henry Nevill, 9th Baron Bergavenny
Sir Thomas Tracy
Preceded by
Sir Peter Manwood
Sir Thomas Walsingham
Member of Parliament for Kent
With: Sir George Fane
Succeeded by
Nicholas Tufton
Sir Edwin Sandys
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Morgan
Charles Williams
Member of Parliament for Monmouthshire
With: Sir William Morgan
Succeeded by
Nicholas Arnold
William Herbert
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Strafford
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Ormonde
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Pembroke
Custos Rotulorum of Kent
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Robert Sidney
Earl of Leicester
Succeeded by
Philip Sidney