William Astor, 3rd Viscount Astor
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The Viscount Astor
|Member of the House of Lords |
30 September 1952 – 7 March 1966
|Preceded by||The 2nd Viscount Astor|
|Succeeded by||The 4th Viscount Astor|
|Member of Parliament|
25 October 1951 – 30 September 1952
|Preceded by||John Haire|
|Succeeded by||John Hall|
|Member of Parliament|
for Fulham East
14 November 1935 – 5 July 1945
|Preceded by||John Wilmot|
|Succeeded by||Michael Stewart|
|Born||13 August 1907|
Cliveden, Buckinghamshire, England
|Died||7 March 1966 (aged 58)|
(m. 1945; div. 1953)
(m. 1955; div. 1960)
|Children||4, including William, 4th Viscount|
|Parent(s)||Waldorf, 2nd Viscount Astor|
|Alma mater||Eton College|
New College, Oxford
Background and education
In 1932, Astor was appointed secretary to Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton, at a League of Nations Committee of Enquiry in what was then known as Manchuria. First elected to the House of Commons in 1935, he served as a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Fulham East until 1945. Between 1936 and 1937 he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, Samuel Hoare, who was then made Home Secretary in the new cabinet of Neville Chamberlain in 1937.
In World War II, he served as a naval intelligence officer, acquiring no distinction, but gaining many influential contacts. He returned as the Conservative MP for Wycombe in the 1951 general election, serving for ten months. On his father's death in 1952, he inherited his peerages, becoming the 3rd Viscount Astor and Baron Astor, with a seat in the House of Lords. This forced a by-election in Wycombe, which was won by the Conservative candidate John Hall.
Astor then took over the family's Cliveden estate in Buckinghamshire, where he and his family continued to live until 1966. Active in thoroughbred horse racing, he inherited Cliveden Stud, a horse farm and breeding operation in the village of Taplow near Maidenhead.
During the 1963 Profumo affair, Astor was accused of having an affair with Mandy Rice-Davies. In response to being told during one of the trials arising out of the scandal that Astor had denied having an affair with her, Rice-Davies famously replied, "Well he would, wouldn't he?"
Marriages and children
Astor married three times:
William married Sarah Norton (20 January 1920 – 4 February 2013; daughter of Richard, 6th Baron Grantley) on 14 June 1945 and they were divorced in 1953. They have one son, three grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren:
- William Astor, 4th Viscount Astor (William Waldorf Astor III; born 27 December 1951) he married Annabel Jones on 14 January 1976.
William remarried Phillipa Victoria Hunloke (10 December 1930 – 20 July 2005, whose maternal grandfather was Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire) on 26 April 1955 and they were divorced on 3 June 1960. They had one daughter together:
- Emily Mary Astor (born 9 June 1956)
William Astor remarried, finally Bronwen Alun-Pugh on 14 October 1960. They had two daughters:
- Janet Elizabeth Astor (born 1 December 1961) she married Earl of March and Kinrara on 30 November 1991.
- Pauline Marian Astor (born 26 March 1964)
- Anthony Summers & Stephen Dorril. Honeytrap (Coronet Books) 1987. page 64.
- Hammond, Peter W. (ed.) The Complete Peerage or a History of the House of Lords and All its Members From the Earliest Times, Volume XIV: Addenda & Corrigenda. (Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 1998) pages 669–670.
- "Viscount Astor Dies in Nassau Of Heart Attack at Age of 58. Son of Lady Nancy Astor. Former M.P. Was Named in '63 Profamo (sic) Scandal". New York Times. 8 March 1966. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
Viscount Astor of Cliveden, a member of the Anglo-American Waldorf Astor family, died in Nassau, the Bahamas, today of a heart attack. He was 58 years old
- dijit.net. "Astor Mausoleum - Mausolea & Monuments Trust". www.mmtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Astor