Sunday, September 26, 2021

The 2nd Earl of Gowrie, PC, FRSL 1939-2021

The 2nd Earl of Gowrie, PC, FRSL, died 24 September, 2021. He was 81.

Lord Gowrie was a Conservative Party politician for some years, including a period in the British Cabinet, and was later Chairman of Sotheby's and of the Arts Council of England. He also published poetry. The earl was the Chief of the Clan Ruthven.

Alexander Patrick Greysteil Hore-Ruthven was born 26 November, 1939, son of Maj the Hon Alexander Hardinge Patrick Hore-Ruthven [1913-42], and his wife the former Pamela Margaret Fletcher [died 2006]. His mother was an Extra Woman of the Bedchamber to the Queen [later Queen Mother] 1948-51.

He succeeded to the Gowrie peerages upon his grandfather's death, 2 May, 1955, having been known as Viscount Ruthven of Canberra for the previous decade. In 1956 he further succeeded his great-uncle (his grandfather's elder brother) as the 3rd Baron Ruthven of Gowrie.

His grandfather, Alexander Hore-Ruthven [1872-1955], who was Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Australia 1936-44, was raised to the peerage in 1935, as Baron Gowrie, of Canberra, Australia, and Dirleton, East Lothian, and further created Earl of Gowrie and Viscount Ruthven of Canberra, in 1945.

Lord Gowrie  was appointed a Conservative Whip in the House of Lords by Edward Heath, in 1971, and he represented the British Government on the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. He joined the Conservative front bench under Edward Heath in 1972 as a Lord-in-waiting, a post he held until 1974. He later served under Margaret Thatcher as Minister of State for Employment between 1979 and 1981, and as Minister of State for Northern Ireland between 1981 and 1983 at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

In 1983 Gowrie was sworn of the Privy Council and entered the Cabinet as Minister for the Arts, with additional responsibility for personnel and management of the Civil Service. During his time as arts minister, he introduced a scheme which allowed donations of art to public galleries and museums to be offset against death duties. He was also Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1984, and held his ministerial posts until 1985. Margaret Thatcher offered him a promotion to the post of Secretary of State for Education and Science but instead he resigned from the Cabinet in 1985, stating that it was impossible for him to live in London on the £33,000 salary provided for the post, a claim that caused some agitation, as it was three times the average London wage of the time.

He married firstly, 1 November, 1962 [div 1974], Alexandra Bingley, daughter of Lt-Col Robert Albert Glanville Bingley, CVO, DSO [1902-76], and his wife the former Mary Olivia Lenox-Conyngham, scion of that landed family; and married 2ndly, 2 November, 1974,  Adelheid Gräfin von der Schulenburg, daughter of Fritz Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg.

The Earl of Gowrie leaves a son from his first marriage, Patrick Leo Brer Hore-Ruthven, styled Viscount Ruthven of Canberra [born 4 February, 1964], who now inherits the earldom and subsidiary peerages.


No comments: