William Astor, 3rd Viscount Astor

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The Viscount Astor
Bill and Bronwen Astor.jpg
Astor with his wife Bronwen on their wedding day
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
30 September 1952 – 7 March 1966
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 2nd Viscount Astor
Succeeded byThe 4th Viscount Astor
Member of Parliament
for Wycombe
In office
25 October 1951 – 30 September 1952
Preceded byJohn Haire
Succeeded byJohn Hall
Member of Parliament
for Fulham East
In office
14 November 1935 – 15 June 1945
Preceded byJohn Wilmot
Succeeded byMichael Stewart
Personal details
Born(1907-08-13)13 August 1907
Cliveden, Buckinghamshire, England
Died7 March 1966(1966-03-07) (aged 58)
Nassau, Bahamas
(m. 1945; div. 1953)

Phillipa Hunloke
(m. 1955; div. 1960)

(m. 1960)
Children4, including William, 4th Viscount
Parent(s)Waldorf, 2nd Viscount Astor
Nancy Langhorne
RelativesAstor family
Alma materEton College
New College, Oxford
OccupationBusinessman, politician
Coronet of a British Viscount.svg

Astor (Baron Astor of Hever) Arms.svg

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 (by marriage, Viscountess Astor). He was educated at Eton and at New College, Oxford.

Political career[edit]

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.[1] 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[edit]

Astor married three times:[2]

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 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)

Astor died in Nassau, Bahamas, at age 58 from a heart attack[3] and was buried in the Octagon Temple at Cliveden.[4] His son succeeded him in the viscountcy.


  1. ^ Anthony Summers & Stephen Dorril. Honeytrap (Coronet Books) 1987. page 64.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "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
  4. ^ dijit.net. "Astor Mausoleum - Mausolea & Monuments Trust". www.mmtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 11 August 2017.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Fulham East
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Wycombe
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Viscount Astor
Succeeded by