Eden, Sir Anthony

Robert Anthony Eden

b. 12 Jun 1897, Windlestone Hall, near Bishop Auckland, Durham
d. 14 Jan 1977, Alvediston, near Salisbury, Wiltshire [1]

Title: Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury
Term: 6 Apr 1955 - 9 Jan 1957
Chronology: 6 Apr 1955, accepted the offer to hold the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, audience of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, London [2][3]
  12 Apr 1955, took the oath of office as First Lord of the Treasury before the Queen in Council, Windsor Castle [4]
  9 Jan 1957, tendered resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (accepted), audience of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, London [5]
Names/titles: Sir Robert Anthony Eden (from 20 Oct 1954, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter) [6]; Viscount Eden, of Royal Leamington Spa in the County of Warwick, and Earl of Avon (from 12 Jul 1961) [7]
Biography:

Third son of Sir William Eden, baronet, a Durham landowner, and descendant of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey; attended Sandroyd preparatory school, near Cobham; was educated at Eton College (1911-1915); participated in World War I; commissioned second lieutenant (temporary, 1915); promoted to lieutenant (temporary, 1916), captain (temporary, 1917); received military honors and was appointed youngest brigade-major in the British Army; graduated from Christ Church College, Oxford (1919-1922) with first class degree in Oriental Studies; was elected MP for Warwick and Leamington (1923-1957); Parliamentary Private Secretary to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1926-1929); served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (3 Sep 1931 - 18 Jan 1934) during the National Government of Ramsay MacDonald; was appointed to the sinecure office of Lord Privy Seal (6 Jan 1934 - 7 Jun 1935) to enable him to spend more time for the work abroad; sworn in as a member of the U.K. Privy Council (29 Jun 1934); an exponent of internationalism, he was approved as Minister without Portfolio for League of Nations Affairs (7 Jun 1935 - 23 Dec 1935), a traveling representative of the British government in Geneva; appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (23 Dec 1935 - 22 Feb 1938); resigned from the National Government of Neville Chamberlain because of its appeasement of the Nazis; briefly returned to Chamberlain's government as Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (4 Sep 1939 - 14 May 1940); joined the War Cabinet of Winston Spencer-Churchill as Secretary of State for War (12 May 1940 - 23 Dec 1940) but became more effective as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (23 Dec 1940 - 28 Jul 1945) and as Leader of the House of Commons (1942-1945); was again appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (27 Oct 1951 - 12 Apr 1955) in the third administration of Churchill, serving during many world crises, including the Cold War, the Korean War, and British withdrawal from Egypt and the Middle East; was kept waiting in the wings a long time before Churchill resigned in April 1955; appointed Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (6 Apr 1955 - 9 Jan 1957) also succeeding Churchill as Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party (21 Apr 1955 - 22 Jan 1957); tripled the Conservatives' small majority in the General Election of 1955: Conservative and associates 345, Labour 277, Liberal 6, Sinn Fein 2; became the first prime minister to campaign effectively on television; introduced some unpopular measures: raising indirect taxation and curbing public expenditure; hosted a 10-day visit by the Soviet leaders, Nikita Hruščev and Nikolaj Bulganin (1956); after the Government of Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal Company (26 Jul 1956), his decision to join with France and Israel in a military intervention failed to secure U.S. or Commonwealth support and led to a humbling withdrawal of the Anglo-French force in December 1956; extra pressure on his weakened health led to his resignation (9 Jan 1957); was raised to the peerage (1961) and retired to his manor house in Alvediston, Wiltshire. Biography source: [8]


[1] The Times, No. 59,908, Saturday January 15 1977, pp. 1, 15, 17.
[2] The Times, No. 53,200, Royal Edition, London Thursday April 21 1955, Strike Period Supplement: The Times Summary For Thursday April 7 1955, p. vi: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, April 6 The Queen this morning received in audience the Right Hon. Sir Anthony Eden, M.P., and offered him the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. The Right Hon. Sir Anthony Eden accepted Her Majesty's offer and kissed hands upon his appointment."
[3] Appointment as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury by Letters Patent under the Great Seal dated 12 Apr 1955, announced by the Crown Office 15 Apr 1955, and gazetted 19 Apr 1955 (The London Gazette, No. 40457, Tuesday, 19 April, 1955, p. 2273).
[4] The Times, No. 53,200, Royal Edition, London Thursday April 21 1955, Strike Period Supplement: The Times Summary For Wednesday April 13 1955, p. vii: "Court Circular - WINDSOR CASTLE, April 12 <...> Her Majesty held a Council at 3.30 o'clock. <...> The Right Hon. Sir Anthony Eden, M.P., was sworn First Lord of the Treasury."
[5] The Times, No. 53,735, Royal Edition, London Thursday January 10 1957, p. 10: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, Jan. 9 <...> The Right Hon. Sir Anthony Eden, M.P. (Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury), had an audience of The Queen this evening and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, which Her Majesty was pleased to accept."
[6] The Times, No. 53,068, Royal Edition, London Thursday October 21 1954, p. 10: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, Oct. 20 <...> The Right Hon. Sir Anthony Eden, M.P. (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs), had an audience of Her Majesty this morning when The Queen conferred upon him the honour of Knighthood and invested him with the Insignia of a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter."
[7] The London Gazette, No. 42411, Friday, 14th July 1961, p. 5175.
[8] "Eden: The Life and Times Of Anthony Eden, First Earl of Avon 1897-1977", by D.R. Thorpe (London: Chatto and Windus, 2003).
Image: photograph, 1957.
Last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 04:21:09