William Astor, 3rd Viscount Astor

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Astor
Bill and Bronwen Astor.jpg
Astor (right) with his third wife, Bronwen, on their wedding day
Personal details
Born (1907-08-13)13 August 1907
Cliveden, Buckinghamshire, England
Died 7 March 1966(1966-03-07) (aged 58)
Nassau, Bahamas
Spouse(s) Sarah Kathleen Elinor Norton
(m. 1945; div. 1953)

Phillipa Victoria Hunloke
(m. 1955; div. 1960)

Janet Bronwen Alun Pugh
(m. 1960; his death 1966)
Relations Astor family
Children 4, including William Waldorf Astor III
Parents Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor
Nancy Witcher Langhorne
Alma mater Eton College
New College, Oxford
Occupation Businessman, politician

William Waldorf Astor II, 3rd Viscount Astor (13 August 1907 – 7 March 1966) was an English businessman and Conservative Party politician. He was also a member of the Astor family.

Background and education[edit]

William was the eldest son of Waldorf Astor and Nancy Witcher Langhorne. He was educated at Eton and at New College, Oxford.

Political career[edit]

In 1932, Astor was appointed secretary to The 2nd Earl of Lytton, 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 Sir Samuel Hoare, who was then made Secretary of State for the Home Department in the new cabinet of Neville Chamberlain in 1937.

Astor left Parliament for a time, but 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 title, becoming The 3rd Viscount Astor. Lord Astor took his seat in the House of Lords, forcing a by-election in Wycombe, which was won by the Conservative candidate John Hall. 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 "He would, wouldn't he?"

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.

Marriages and children[edit]

Viscount Astor married three times:[1]

William married The Honourable Sarah Kathleen Elinor 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 remarried Phillipa Victoria Hunloke (10 December 1930-20 July 2005) (maternal grandfather was The 9th Duke of Devonshire) on 26 April 1955 and they were divorced on 3 June 1960. They have one daughter and four grandchildren:

  • Hon Emily Mary Astor (9 June 1956) she married Alan M. C. L. Gregory in 1984. She remarried James Anderson in 1988 and they were divorced in 1996. They have four children:
    • Thomas Alexander Anderson (1990)
    • Rory John Anderson (2 November 1991)
    • Liza Kate Anderson (1993)
    • Isobel Nancy Anderson (1993)

William Astor remarried, finally Janet Bronwen Alun Pugh on 14 October 1960. They have two daughters and seven grandchildren:

  • The Honorable Janet Elizabeth Astor, Duchess of Richmond and Gordon (1 December 1961) she married Charles, Earl of March and Kinrara in 1991. They have four children.
  • The Honorable Pauline Marian Astor (26 March 1964) she married George C. V. Case on 13 October 1990. They have three daughters:
    • Magdalena Beatrice Case (1994)
    • Nancy Mary Case (30 December 1996)
    • Margo Rose Case (8 October 2000)

Astor died in Nassau, Bahamas, at age 58 from a heart attack[2] and was buried in the Octagon Temple at Cliveden. His son succeeded him in the viscountcy.


  1. ^ http://thepeerage.com/p24.htm#i236
  2. ^ "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 2010-03-21. 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 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Charles Wilmot
Member of Parliament for Fulham East
Succeeded by
Michael Stewart
Preceded by
John Haire
Member of Parliament for Wycombe
Succeeded by
Sir John Hall
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Waldorf Astor
Viscount Astor
Succeeded by
William Astor