Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Lytton
The Earl of Lytton.
Governor of Bengal
In office
Monarch George V
Preceded by Earl of Ronaldshay
Succeeded by Sir Stanley Jackson
Acting Viceroy of India
In office
Monarch George V
Preceded by The Earl of Reading
Succeeded by The Lord Irwin
Personal details
Born 9 August 1876
Simla, British India
Died 25 October 1947(1947-10-25) (aged 71)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Pamela Chichele-Plowden
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Victor Alexander George Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton KG GCSI GCIE PC DL (9 August 1876 – 25 October 1947), styled Viscount Knebworth from 1880 to 1891, was a British politician and colonial administrator. He served as Governor of Bengal between 1922 and 1927 and was briefly Acting Viceroy of India in 1926.

Background and education[edit]

Lytton was the fourth but eldest surviving son of Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton and Edith Villiers, daughter of Edward Ernest Villiers and granddaughter of George Villiers. He was born in Simla in British India, during the time when his father was Viceroy of India. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge,[1] where he was secretary of the University Pitt Club.[2] In 1905 he was President of the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club and gave the Toast to Sir Walter at the club's annual dinner.

Victor Bulwer-Lytton's six siblings were :

Political and administrative career[edit]

Lytton caricatured by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1906

Lytton started off his official career by filling up various posts in the Admiralty between 1916 and 1920, before being appointed Under-Secretary of State for India, a post which he held between 1920 and 1922. He was also made a Privy Counsellor in 1919. In 1922 he was posted as Governor of Bengal, remaining there until 1927. For a short while, when there was a vacancy caused by change in incumbents in 1926, he also functioned as Viceroy, his father's old post. After this he filled miscellaneous positions in various capacities, when matters concerning India came up. He wrote two books, the first being a life of his grandfather Lord Lytton, while the other book dealt with his experiences in India and was called Pundits and Elephants, published in 1942. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1933.[3]

Lytton may be best known for his chairmanship of the Lytton Commission, which was sent by the League of Nations on a fact-finding mission to determine who was to blame in the 1931 war between Japan and China. The commission's Lytton Report, officially issued on 1 October 1932, caused Japan to withdraw from the League of Nations.

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1876-1880: Mr Victor Alexander George Robert Bulwer-Lytton
  • 1880-1891: Viscount Knebworth
  • 1891-1919: The Rt Hon The Earl of Lytton
  • 1919-1922: The Rt Hon The Earl of Lytton PC
  • 1922-1925: The Rt Hon The Earl of Lytton GCIE PC
  • 1925-1933: The Rt Hon The Earl of Lytton GCSI GCIE PC
  • 1933-1947: The Rt Hon The Earl of Lytton KG GCSI GCIE PC


Lord Lytton married at St Margaret's, Westminster, on 3 April 1902, Pamela Chichele-Plowden, daughter of Sir Trevor Chichele Plowden. She had been an early flame of Winston Churchill, but that relationship was amicably broken off when she decided to marry Lytton instead.

The couple had two sons, both of whom predeceased Lytton. The elder son, Antony Bulwer-Lytton, Viscount Knebworth, MP, died aged 30 in an air crash while serving with the Auxiliary Air Force. The younger son, Alexander Edward John Bulwer-Lytton, Viscount Knebworth, MBE, was killed in the Second Battle of El Alamein during World War II.

As neither of his sons had left a son, Lytton's titles was inherited upon his death by his younger brother Neville Bulwer-Lytton. Knebworth House passed to his daughter Lady Hermione Cobbold, wife of future Governor of the Bank of England and Lord Chamberlain Cameron Fromanteel Cobbold.

Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton died in October 1947, aged 71.


  1. ^ "Bulwer-Lytton, Victor Alexander George Robert, Earl of Lytton (BLWR895VA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ Fletcher, Walter Morley (2011) [1935]. The University Pitt Club: 1835-1935 (First Paperback ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-107-60006-5. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33946. p. 3801. 2 June 1933.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Sinha
Under-Secretary of State for India
Succeeded by
The Earl Winterton
Government offices
Preceded by
Earl of Ronaldshay
Governor of Bengal
Succeeded by
Sir Stanley Jackson
Preceded by
The Earl of Reading
Viceroy of India
Succeeded by
The Lord Irwin
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton
Earl of Lytton
Succeeded by
Neville Stephen Bulwer-Lytton