Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury


Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, KG, PC, DL, FRS[1] (27 August 1893 – 23 February 1972), known as Viscount Cranborne from 1903 to 1947, was a British Conservative politician.[2][3][4]


The Marquess of Salisbury

The then Viscount Cranborne in 1927
Leader of the House of Lords
In office
28 October 1951  29 March 1957
MonarchGeorge VI
Elizabeth II
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Preceded byThe Viscount Addison
Succeeded byThe Earl of Home
In office
21 February 1942  26 July 1945
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThe Lord Moyne
Succeeded byThe Viscount Addison
Lord President of the Council
In office
25 November 1952  29 March 1957
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Anthony Eden
Preceded byThe Lord Woolton
Succeeded byThe Earl of Home
Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
In office
12 March 1952  24 November 1952
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThe Baron Ismay
Succeeded byThe Viscount Swinton
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
22 February 1942  22 November 1942
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThe Lord Moyne
Succeeded byOliver Stanley
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
In office
28 October 1951  7 May 1952
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byRichard Stokes
Succeeded byHarry Crookshank
In office
22 November 1942  24 September 1943
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byStafford Cripps
Succeeded byThe Lord Beaverbrook
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
In office
24 September 1943  26 July 1945
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byClement Attlee
Succeeded byThe Viscount Addison
In office
3 October 1940  19 February 1942
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThe Viscount Caldecote
Succeeded byClement Attlee
Paymaster General
In office
15 May 1940  3 October 1940
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThe Earl Winterton
Succeeded byMaurice Hankey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
18 June 1935  20 February 1938
MonarchGeorge V
Edward VIII
George VI
Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain
Preceded byThe Earl Stanhope
Succeeded byThe Earl Plymouth
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
4 April 1947  23 February 1972
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 4th Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded byThe 6th Marquess of Salisbury
In office
21 January 1941  4 April 1947
as Baron Cecil of Essendon
Preceded byJames Gascoyne-Cecil (by writ of acceleration)
Succeeded byhimself
Member of Parliament
for South Dorset
In office
30 May 1929  21 January 1941
Preceded byRobert Yerburgh
Succeeded byVictor Montagu
Personal details
Born(1893-08-27)27 August 1893
Died23 February 1972(1972-02-23) (aged 78)
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Cavendish
(1897–1982)
ChildrenRobert Gascoyne-Cecil, 6th Marquess of Salisbury
Michael Charles James Cecil
Richard Hugh Cecil
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Coat of arms of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, KG, PC, DL, FRS

Background


Nicknamed "Bobbety", Salisbury was the eldest son of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, by his wife Lady Cicely Gore, daughter of the 5th Earl of Arran, and the grandson of the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, Prime Minister 1895–1902. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, receiving an honorary Doctorate of Civil Laws in 1951.

Military career


Salisbury served in the Army during the First World War. He was commissioned as a lieutenant into the Grenadier Guards (SR) from 1915 throughout the war until its end. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and Chevalier Order of the Crown of Belgium. When the war ended, he went to work at Westminster Bank. In 1928, he was appointed a director and to the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts; he was promoted to chairman of the commission in 1957.

Political career


Salisbury, as Viscount Cranborne, was elected as a Conservative to the House of Commons as MP for South Dorset in 1929. As Parliamentary Secretary to the Lord Privy Seal in 1934 in Ramsay MacDonald's National Government, he was promoted serving as Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1935 to 1938. He was made Paymaster-General by Winston Churchill in May 1940 for the duration of the Battle of Britain but was appointed Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs from 1940 to 1942.

In 1941, he was summoned to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in one of his father's titles as Baron Cecil of Essendon. He was Secretary of State for the Colonies in February–November 1942, Lord Privy Seal between 1942 and 1943, Leader of the House of Lords between 1942 and 1945 and again Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs between 1943 and 1945. As a friend of Churchill, in 1943, he was appointed President of the English-Speaking Union to promote the universality of the language throughout the British Empire. His final wartime appointment was as President of the University College of the South West for a statutory ten years before it was converted to university status.

In 1947, King George VI made Salisbury a Knight of the Order of the Garter, and he succeeded his father in the marquessate shortly afterwards. He became High Steward of Hertfordshire, where he lived, in 1947, shortly before the office was abolished.

During the 1950s, when his party returned to office, successively, he served Churchill, Anthony Eden, and Harold Macmillan as Lord Privy Seal from 1951 to 1952; Leader of the House of Lords from 1951 to 1957; Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in 1952 and Lord President of the Council from December 1952 to 1957. During the period of the coronation of Elizabeth II, he was appointed Acting Foreign Secretary, as Eden was then seriously ill after a series of botched operations on his bile duct.

In November 1951, he received an honorary doctorate of law from the University of Liverpool.[5]

Lord Salisbury was known as a hardline imperialist. In 1952, as Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, he tried to make permanent the exile of Seretse Khama, kgosi (leader) of the Bamangwato people in Bechuanaland, for marrying a white British woman. During the 1960s, Lord Salisbury continued to be a staunch defender of the white-dominated governments in South Africa and in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and was granted the Freedom of the City of Salisbury on a visit in 1956. He was also a fierce opponent of liberal-left attempts to reform the House of Lords, but he created what is known as the Salisbury Convention, under which the House of Lords will not oppose the second or third reading of any government legislation promised in its election manifesto.

In January 1957, Eden resigned as prime minister. The two candidates were Rab Butler and Harold Macmillan. The Queen took advice from Winston Churchill (who backed Macmillan), Edward Heath (who, as Chief Whip, was aware of backbench opinion), and Salisbury, who interviewed the Cabinet one by one and with his famous speech impediment, asked each one whether he was for "Wab or Hawold" (it is thought that only between one and three were for "Wab"). To the surprise of the media, the advice was overwhelmingly to appoint Macmillan as Prime Minister instead of Butler.

Lord Salisbury resigned from his position as Leader of the House of Lords in opposition to the Government's decision to release Archbishop Makarios from his detention in Seychelles. Makarios, the Archbishop of Cyprus, had been arrested because the British perceived that he was encouraging inter-communal violence and terrorism in Cyprus during the so-called 'Cyprus Question'. He became the first president of the Conservative Monday Club in January 1962, when he stated "there was never a greater need for true conservatism than there is today".[6] He held the post until his death in 1972.

Salisbury's cultural pursuits were recognised when he was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy that year.[7]

These artistic credentials were enhanced as a Trustee of the National Gallery from 1960 to 1966.

Apart from his political career, Salisbury was Chancellor of the University of Liverpool from 1951 until 1971. In 1970, students at the university staged an occupation at Senate House to demand his removal over his support for apartheid and other reactionary views.

Marriage and children


Lord Salisbury married Elizabeth Vere Cavendish, daughter of Lord Richard Cavendish and his wife Lady Moyra de Vere Beauclerk (a daughter of The 10th Duke of St Albans),[citation needed] on 8 December 1915. They had three sons, two of whom predeceased their parents:[citation needed]

Lord Salisbury died in February 1972, at 78, and was succeeded by his eldest and only surviving son, Robert, who became the 6th Marquess. Lady Salisbury died on 5 June 1982.[8]

Media portrayal


He is portrayed by Clive Francis in the Netflix series The Crown.

References


  1. Todd, L. (1973). "Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury 1893-1972". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 19: 621. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1973.0022.
  2. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Marquess of Salisbury
  3. Portraits of Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury at the National Portrait Gallery, London
  4. "Archival material relating to Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury". UK National Archives.
  5. Other academic honorary awards: Doctor of Law: Toronto University, 1949; Birmingham University, 1950; Cambridge, 1954; Manchester University, 1954; London, 1955. He received as well an honorary Doctorate of Literature, Exeter University, 1956; Hon LLD St Andrews, 1953.
  6. Copping, 1972, p. 5.
  7. Burke's Peerage & Baronetage (106th ed.) (Salisbury)
  8. Burke's, ibid.

Further reading


  • Simon Ball: The Guardsmen: Harold Macmillan, Three Friends and the World They Made. Harper Perennial, London 2005, ISBN 978-0-00-653163-0.