Anthony Eden


The Earl of Avon

Anthony Eden.jpg
Portrait of Eden as Foreign Secretary
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
6 April 1955 – 9 January 1957
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded bySir Winston Churchill
Succeeded byHarold Macmillan
Leadership positions
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
26 October 1951 – 6 April 1955
Prime MinisterSir Winston Churchill
Preceded byHerbert Morrison
Succeeded byRab Butler (1962)[nb]
Leader of the Conservative Party
In office
6 April 1955 – 10 January 1957
Preceded bySir Winston Churchill
Succeeded byHarold Macmillan
Ministerial offices
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
28 October 1951 – 6 April 1955
Prime MinisterSir Winston Churchill
Preceded byHerbert Morrison
Succeeded byHarold Macmillan
In office
22 December 1940 – 26 July 1945
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThe Viscount Halifax
Succeeded byErnest Bevin
In office
22 December 1935 – 20 February 1938
Prime Minister
Preceded bySir Samuel Hoare
Succeeded byThe Viscount Halifax
Leader of the House of Commons
In office
22 November 1942 – 26 July 1945
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded bySir Stafford Cripps
Succeeded byHerbert Morrison
Secretary of State for War
In office
11 May 1940 – 22 December 1940
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byOliver Stanley
Succeeded byDavid Margesson
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
In office
3 September 1939 – 14 May 1940
Prime Minister
  • Neville Chamberlain
  • Winston Churchill
Preceded bySir Thomas Inskip
Succeeded byThe Viscount Caldecote
Lord Privy Seal
In office
31 December 1933 – 7 June 1935
Prime MinisterRamsay MacDonald
Preceded byStanley Baldwin
Succeeded byThe Marquess of Londonderry
Member of Parliament
for Warwick and Leamington
In office
6 December 1923 – 10 January 1957
Preceded byErnest Pollock
Succeeded byJohn Hobson
Member of the House of Lords
Hereditary peerage
12 July 1961 – 14 January 1977
Preceded byPeerage created
Succeeded byThe 2nd Earl of Avon
Personal details
Born
Robert Anthony Eden

(1897-06-12)12 June 1897
Windlestone Hall, Rushyford, County Durham, England
Died14 January 1977(1977-01-14) (aged 79)
Alvediston, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Cause of deathLiver cancer
Resting placeChurchyard of St Mary's, Alvediston
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)
Children3, including Nicholas
Parents
  • Sir William Eden
  • Sybil Frances Grey
Alma mater
Military service
Service/branch British Army
Years of service
  • 1915–1919
  • 1920–1923
  • 1939[1]
RankMajor
Unit
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsMilitary Cross
n.b. ^ Office vacant from 6 April 1955 to 13 July 1962
Garter-encircled arms of Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG – Gules on a chevron between three garbs or, banded vert, as many escallops sable.

Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC (12 June 1897 – 14 January 1977) was a British Conservative politician who served three periods as Foreign Secretary and then a relatively brief term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1955 to 1957.

Achieving rapid promotion as a young Member of Parliament, he became Foreign Secretary aged 38, before resigning in protest at Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy towards Mussolini's Italy.[2][3] He again held that position for most of the Second World War, and a third time in the early 1950s. Having been deputy to Winston Churchill for almost 15 years, he succeeded him as the Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister in April 1955, and a month later won a general election.

Eden's worldwide reputation as an opponent of appeasement, a "man of peace", and a skilled diplomat was overshadowed in 1956 when the United States refused to support the Anglo-French military response to the Suez Crisis, which critics across party lines regarded as an historic setback for British foreign policy, signalling the end of British predominance in the Middle East.[4] Most historians argue that he made a series of blunders, especially not realising the depth of American opposition to military action.[5] Two months after ordering an end to the Suez operation, he resigned as Prime Minister on grounds of ill health and because he was widely suspected of having misled the House of Commons over the degree of collusion with France and Israel.[6]

Eden is generally ranked among the least successful British prime ministers of the 20th century,[7] although two broadly sympathetic biographies (in 1986 and 2003) have gone some way to shifting the balance of opinion.[8] Biographer D. R. Thorpe described the Suez Crisis as "a truly tragic end to his premiership, and one that came to assume a disproportionate importance in any assessment of his career."[9]

Family

Eden was born at Windlestone Hall, County Durham, on 12 June 1897. He was born into a very conservative family of landed gentry. He was a younger son of Sir William Eden, 7th and 5th Baronet, a former colonel and local magistrate from an old titled family. Sir William, an eccentric and often foul-tempered man, was a talented watercolourist and collector of Impressionists.[10][11]

Eden's mother, Sybil Frances Grey, was a member of the famous Grey family of Northumberland (see below). She had wanted to marry Francis Knollys, later an important Royal adviser. Although she was a popular figure locally, she had a strained relationship with her children, and her profligacy ruined the family fortunes.[11] Eden's elder brother Tim had to sell Windlestone in 1936.[12] Rab Butler would later quip that Eden—a handsome but ill-tempered man—was "half mad baronet, half beautiful woman".[9][13]

Eden's great-grandfather was William Iremonger, who commanded the 2nd Regiment of Foot during the Peninsular War and fought under Wellington (as he became) at Vimiero.[14] He was also descended from Governor Sir Robert Eden, 1st Baronet, of Maryland and, through the Calvert Family of Maryland, he was connected to the ancient Roman Catholic aristocracy of the Arundell and Howard families. He was also descendant from the Schaffalitzky de Muckadell family of Denmark, and Bie family of Norway.[15] Eden was once amused to learn that one of his ancestors had, like Churchill's ancestor the Duke of Marlborough, been the lover of Barbara Castlemaine.[16]

There was speculation for many years that Eden's biological father was the politician and man of letters George Wyndham, but this is considered impossible as Wyndham was in South Africa at the time of Eden's conception.[17] His mother was rumoured to have had an affair with Wyndham.[9] Eden had an elder brother, John, who was killed in action in 1914,[18] and a younger brother, Nicholas, who was killed when the battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable blew up and sank at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.[19]

Other Languages
العربية: أنطوني إيدن
беларуская: Энтані Ідэн
български: Антъни Идън
brezhoneg: Anthony Eden
català: Anthony Eden
čeština: Anthony Eden
Cymraeg: Anthony Eden
Deutsch: Anthony Eden
Ελληνικά: Άντονι Ήντεν
español: Anthony Eden
Esperanto: Anthony Eden
euskara: Anthony Eden
français: Anthony Eden
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galego: Anthony Eden
한국어: 앤서니 이든
हिन्दी: एञ्थनी ईडन
hrvatski: Anthony Eden
Bahasa Indonesia: Anthony Eden
íslenska: Anthony Eden
italiano: Anthony Eden
kernowek: Anthony Eden
latviešu: Entonijs Īdens
Malagasy: Anthony Eden
मराठी: अँथनी ईडन
Bahasa Melayu: Anthony Eden
Nederlands: Anthony Eden
norsk nynorsk: Anthony Eden
occitan: Anthony Eden
polski: Anthony Eden
português: Anthony Eden
română: Anthony Eden
русский: Иден, Энтони
Simple English: Anthony Eden
slovenčina: Anthony Eden
slovenščina: Anthony Eden
српски / srpski: Ентони Идн
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Anthony Eden
svenska: Anthony Eden
Tagalog: Anthony Eden
татарча/tatarça: Энтони Иден
тоҷикӣ: Антонӣ Еден
Türkçe: Anthony Eden
українська: Ентоні Іден
Tiếng Việt: Anthony Eden
Yorùbá: Anthony Eden