Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington

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The Lord Carrington

Peter Carington 1984.jpg
Carrington in 1984
Father of the House of Lords
In office
22 February 2007 9 July 2018
Preceded by The Earl Jellicoe
Succeeded by The Lord Denham
6th Secretary General of NATO
In office
25 June 1984 1 July 1988
Preceded by Joseph Luns
Succeeded by Manfred Wörner
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
4 May 1979 5 April 1982
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by David Owen
Succeeded by Francis Pym
Other ministerial offices
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
In office
4 March 1974 4 May 1979
Leader
Preceded by The Lord Shackleton
Succeeded by The Lord Peart
In office
16 October 1964 20 June 1970
Leader
Preceded by The Earl Alexander of Hillsborough
Succeeded by The Lord Shackleton
Secretary of State for Energy
In office
8 January 1974 4 March 1974
Prime Minister Edward Heath
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Eric Varley
Secretary of State for Defence
In office
20 June 1970 8 January 1974
Prime Minister Edward Heath
Preceded by Denis Healey
Succeeded by Ian Gilmour
Chairman of the Conservative Party
In office
7 April 1972 4 March 1974
Leader Edward Heath
Preceded by Peter Thomas
Succeeded by William Whitelaw
Leader of the House of Lords
In office
20 October 1963 16 October 1964
Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Preceded by The Viscount Hailsham
Succeeded by The Earl of Longford
Minister without Portfolio
In office
20 October 1963 16 October 1964
Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Preceded by Bill Deedes
Succeeded by George Thomson
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
14 October 1959 20 October 1963
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Preceded by The Earl of Selkirk
Succeeded by The Earl Jellicoe
High Commissioner to Australia
In office
26 May 1956 14 October 1959
Prime Minister
Preceded by Stephen Holmes
Succeeded by Sir William Oliver
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence
In office
18 October 1954 26 May 1956
Prime Minister
Preceded by Nigel Birch
Succeeded by The Earl of Gosford
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food
In office
5 November 1951 18 October 1954
Servingwith Richard Nugent
Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Life peerage
17 November 1999 9 July 2018
Hereditary peerage
9 October 1945 11 November 1999
Preceded by The 5th Baron Carrington
Succeeded bySeat abolished
(House of Lords Act 1999)
Personal details
Born
Peter Alexander Rupert Carington

(1919-06-06)6 June 1919
Chelsea, London, England
Died9 July 2018(2018-07-09) (aged 99)
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s)
Iona McClean
(m. 1942;died 2009)
Children3, including Rupert
Parents
Alma mater Royal Military College, Sandhurst
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Branch/serviceFlag of the British Army.svg  British Army
Years of service1939–1949
(inactive from 1945)
Rank Major
Unit Grenadier Guards
Battles/warsSecond World War
Awards Military Cross

Peter Alexander Rupert Carington, 6th Baron Carrington, KG, GCMG, CH, MC, PC, DL (6 June 1919 – 9 July 2018), was a British Conservative politician and hereditary peer who served as Defence Secretary from 1970 to 1974, Foreign Secretary from 1979 to 1982, chairman of British General Electric Company from 1983 to 1984, and Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988. Before his death in 2018, he was the last surviving member of the 1951–55 government of Winston Churchill, the Eden government, and the Macmillan government, as well as of the cabinets of Alec Douglas-Home and Edward Heath. Following the House of Lords Act 1999, which removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, Carrington was created a life peer as Baron Carington of Upton.

Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians, who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. It is currently the governing party, having been so since the 2010 general election, where a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats was formed. In 2015, the Conservatives led by David Cameron won a surprise majority and formed the first majority Conservative government since 1992. However, the snap election on 8 June 2017 resulted in a hung parliament, and the party lost its parliamentary majority. It is reliant on the support of a Northern Irish political party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), in order to command a majority in the House of Commons through a confidence-and-supply deal. The party leader, Theresa May, has served as both Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister since July 2016. It is the largest party in local government with 9,008 councillors. The Conservative Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United Kingdom, the other being its modern rival, the Labour Party.

Contents

Carrington was Foreign Secretary in 1982 when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. He took full responsibility for the failure of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to foresee this and resigned. As NATO Secretary General, he helped prevent a war between Greece and Turkey during the 1987 Aegean crisis. [1]

1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands starting the Falklands War

On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces launched the invasion of the Falkland Islands, beginning the Falklands War. The Argentines mounted amphibious landings, and the invasion ended with the surrender of Government House.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), commonly called the Foreign Office, is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for protecting and promoting British interests worldwide. It was created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.

NATO Intergovernmental military alliance of Western states

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO’s Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

Background and early life

The surname "Carrington" (with two r's) was adopted by royal licence dated 1839 by his direct male ancestor Robert Carrington, 2nd Baron Carrington, in lieu of Smith. [2] The latter's father, Robert Smith, MP for Nottingham, was created Baron Carrington in 1796 (Peerage of Ireland) and 1797 (Peerage of Great Britain). [3] The spelling of the surname was changed by royal licence to "Carington" (with one r) in 1880 by the 2nd Baron's sons, but the spelling of the title did not change.

Robert Carrington, 2nd Baron Carrington British politician

Robert John Carrington, 2nd Baron Carrington,, was a politician and a baron in the Peerage of Great Britain. He was the son of Robert Smith, 1st Baron Carrington, and Anne Boldero-Barnard. He adopted the name "Carrington" in 1839.

Robert Smith, 1st Baron Carrington, was a British banker and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1779 to 1797 when he was raised to the peerage.

Baron Carrington title in the Peerage of England, Ireland and Great Britain

Baron Carrington is a title that has been created three times, once in the Peerage of England, once in the Peerage of Ireland and once in the Peerage of Great Britain. The first creation came in the Peerage of England in 1643 in favour of Sir Charles Smyth. Only a few days later he was created Viscount Carrington in the Peerage of Ireland. For more information, see this title.

Born in Chelsea on 6 June 1919, [4] [5] Peter Carington was the only son of the 5th Baron Carrington by his wife, the Hon. Sybil Marion Colville, a daughter of Charles Colville, 2nd Viscount Colville of Culross. [6] He was a great-nephew of the Liberal statesman Charles Wynn-Carington, 1st Marquess of Lincolnshire, and also of politician and courtier the Hon. Sir William Carington. [7] Brought up as a small child at the Millaton House in Devon, [8] he was educated at two independent schools: Sandroyd School from 1928 to 1932, [9] based at the time in the town of Cobham, Surrey (now the site of Reed's School), and Eton College.

Chelsea, London area of central London, England

Chelsea is an affluent area of West London, bounded to the south by the River Thames. Its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above Sloane Square Underground station. The modern eastern boundary is Chelsea Bridge Road and the lower half of Sloane Street, including Sloane Square. To the north and northwest, the area fades into Knightsbridge and Brompton, but it is considered that the area north of King's Road as far northwest as Fulham Road is part of Chelsea.

Rupert Victor John Carington, 5th Baron Carrington was a British peer.

The prefix The Honourable or The Honorable is an honorific style that is used before the names of certain classes of people.

Military service

Having trained at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Carrington was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards as a second lieutenant on 26 January 1939. [10] He served with the regiment during the Second World War. He was promoted to lieutenant on 1 January 1941, [11] and later rose to the rank of temporary captain [12] and acting major. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) on 1 March 1945 "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North West Europe". [13] [12] After the war, Carrington remained in the army until 1949. [14]

Royal Military College, Sandhurst British Army military academy

The Royal Military College (RMC), founded in 1801 and established in 1802 at Great Marlow and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England, but moved in October 1812 to Sandhurst, Berkshire, was a British Army military academy for training infantry and cavalry officers of the British and Indian Armies.

The Grenadier Guards is an infantry regiment of the British Army. It is the most senior regiment of the Guards Division and, as such, is the most senior regiment of infantry. It is not, however, the most senior regiment of the Army, this position being held by the Life Guards. Although the Coldstream Guards were formed before the Grenadier Guards, the regiment is ranked after the Grenadiers in seniority as, having been a regiment of the New Model Army, the Coldstream Guards served the Crown for four fewer years than the Grenadiers.

Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces, comparable to NATO OF-1b rank.

Political career 1946–1982

In 1938, Carrington succeeded his father as 6th Baron Carrington. Although he became eligible to take his seat in the House of Lords on his 21st birthday in 1940, he was on active service at the time, and did not do so until 9 October 1945. [15] After leaving the Army, he became involved in politics and served in the Conservative governments of Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Food from November 1951 to October 1954. During the Crichel Down affair, which led to the resignation of Minister Thomas Dugdale, Carrington tendered his resignation, which was refused by the Prime Minister. Carrington then became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence from October 1954 to October 1956. The latter year he was appointed High Commissioner to Australia, a post he held until October 1959. He was also appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire on 2 July 1951. [16] He became a Privy Counsellor in 1959. [17]

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in Europe in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and British imperialist, for most of his parliamentary career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but for twenty years from 1904 was instead a member of the Liberal Party.

Anthony Eden former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, 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.

A stone set by Lord Carrington while High Commissioner to Australia, at All Saints' Church, Canberra Plaque stonework ainslie church ACT.jpg
A stone set by Lord Carrington while High Commissioner to Australia, at All Saints' Church, Canberra

After his return to Britain he served under Harold Macmillan as First Lord of the Admiralty until October 1963, [18] and was then Minister without Portfolio and Leader of the House of Lords under Alec Douglas-Home until October 1964, when the Conservatives fell from power. From 1964 to 1970 he was Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords. When the Conservatives returned to power in 1970 under Edward Heath, Carrington became Defence Secretary, where he remained until 1974 when the Conservatives were voted out in favour of Harold Wilson's Labour. In a 1977 letter discussing the policy of torture of Irish republican internees during Operation Demetrius in August 1971, the then Home Secretary Merlyn Rees attributed the origins of the policy in particular to Carrington: '"It is my view (confirmed by Brian Faulkner before his death [NI's prime minister at the time]) that the decision to use methods of torture in Northern Ireland in 1971/72 was taken by ministers – in particular Lord Carrington, then secretary of state for defence." [19] [20]

Carrington had become Shadow Defence Secretary in 1968 after Enoch Powell was dismissed from the position following his controversial Rivers of Blood speech on immigration. [21] He also served as Chairman of the Conservative Party from 1972 to 1974, and was briefly Secretary of State for Energy from January to March 1974.

Carrington (then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) and Alexander Haig (then US Secretary of State) meet during a state visit by Margaret Thatcher to the United States (Feb. 1981) Peter Carington and Alexander Haig.jpg
Carrington (then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) and Alexander Haig (then US Secretary of State) meet during a state visit by Margaret Thatcher to the United States (Feb. 1981)

Carrington was again Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords from 1974 to 1979. In 1979 he was made Foreign Secretary and Minister for Overseas Development as part of the first Cabinet of Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher spoke very highly of Carrington, stating that "Peter had great panache and the ability to identify immediately the main points in any argument; and he could express himself in pungent terms. We had disagreements, but there were never any hard feelings." [22]

Carrington chaired the Lancaster House conference in 1979, attended by Ian Smith, Abel Muzorewa, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, and Josiah Tongogara, which brought to an end Rhodesia's Bush War. He later expressed his support for Mugabe over Smith. [23]

Carrington was Foreign Secretary when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands on 2 April, 1982. He resigned from the position on 5 April, taking full responsibility for the complacency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in its failure to foresee this development [24] and for the misleading signals sent by the Foreign Office on British intentions for retaining control over the Falklands. [25] In her autobiography, Margaret Thatcher was later to express her sorrow at his departure. [26] Since his resignation, no other member of the House of Lords has held any of the four Great Offices of State. [27]

Later life and death

Lord Carrington then served as Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988. He was also appointed Chancellor of the Order of St Michael and St George on 1 August 1984, [28] serving until June 1994. [29]

In 1991, he presided over diplomatic talks about the breakup of Yugoslavia and attempted to pass a plan that would end the wars and result in each republic becoming an independent nation. [30]

Apart from his political posts, he was the Chancellor of the University of Reading and served as chairman of several companies, including Christie's, and as a director of many others, including Barclays Bank, Schweppes and the Daily Telegraph . He also chaired the Bilderberg conferences from 1990 to 1998, being succeeded in 1999 by Étienne Davignon. [31] From 1983 to 2002, he was president of the Pilgrims Society. [32] [33] He was appointed Chancellor of the Order of the Garter on 8 November 1994, [34] a role from which he retired in October 2012. [35]

After the House of Lords Act 1999 removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, Carrington, along with all former Leaders of the House of Lords, was given a life peerage on 17 November 1999 as Baron Carington of Upton, of Upton in the County of Nottinghamshire. [36] He was the longest-serving member of the House of Lords, and following the retirement of Lord Barber of Tewkesbury in 2016, had been the oldest. He was the second longest-serving member of the Privy Council after the Duke of Edinburgh. He died on 9 July 2018, aged 99, of natural causes. [37] [38] [4]

Family

Lord Carrington married Iona McClean (19 March 1920 – 7 June 2009), daughter of Lt.-Colonel Sir Francis Kennedy McClean AFC , on 25 April 1942. They had three children:

  • Victoria de Bunsen (born 1968)
  • Charles Rupert de Bunsen (born 1970)
  • James Peter de Bunsen (born 1973)
  • Hon. Robert Carington (born 1990, heir apparent)
  • Hon. Francesca Carington (born 1993)
  • Hon. Isabella Iona Carington (born 1995)
NATO Secretary General Lord Carrington with West German Foreign Minister Genscher in Bonn, 1984 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F068478-0034, Bonn, NATO Generalsekretär bei Minister Genscher.jpg
NATO Secretary General Lord Carrington with West German Foreign Minister Genscher in Bonn, 1984

Lord Carrington's wife, Lady Carrington, died on 7 June 2009, aged 89. [41]

Carrington was a guest on BBC Radio 4's long-running programme Desert Island Discs in 1975 [42] and on the same station's A Good Read in 2004. [43]

In February 1982 Carrington was portrayed by Rowan Atkinson in a Not the Nine O'Clock News parody of Question Time , pedantically discussing an imminent nuclear holocaust. [44] [45] [46]

Carrington was portrayed by James Fox in the 2002 BBC production of Ian Curteis's The Falklands Play . [47] He was also briefly portrayed by James Smith in the 2011 film The Iron Lady , [48] and by Jeff Rawle in the 2014 play Handbagged . [49]

Titles, styles, honours, and arms

Titles and styles

Honours

Lord Carrington, as Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, in procession to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in 2006 Lord Carrington.jpg
Lord Carrington, as Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, in procession to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in 2006

Honorary degrees

Arms

Ancestry

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  65. Kidd, Charles, Debrett's peerage & Baronetage, 2015 edition, London, 2015, p. 220, with existing addition of "couped", although demi-lions usually shown couped not erased.
  66. Chesshyre, Hubert (1996), The Friends of St. George's & Descendants of the Knights of the Garter Annual Review 1995/96, VII, p. 287
  67. Kidd, Charles, Debrett's peerage & Baronetage, 2015 edition, London, 2015, p. 220, amended by existing text adding further clarity, namely "on the body". The charges are here not shown palewise (in a vertical column) as in the blazon. Debrett's blazon makes no mention of beaked etc., or as depicted.
  68. Burke, John (1832). A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage... London: H. Colburn and R. Bentley. Volume 1, p. 217. Retrieved 19 December 2013.

Bibliography

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Listowel
Arthur Champion
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries
1951–1954
Served alongside: Richard Nugent
Succeeded by
Richard Nugent
The Earl St Aldwyn
Preceded by
Nigel Birch
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence
1954–1956
Succeeded by
The Earl of Gosford
Preceded by
The Earl of Selkirk
First Lord of the Admiralty
1959–1963
Succeeded by
The Earl Jellicoe
Preceded by
Bill Deedes
Minister without Portfolio
1963–1964
Succeeded by
George Thomson
Preceded by
The Viscount Hailsham
Leader of the House of Lords
1963–1964
Succeeded by
The Earl of Longford
Preceded by
Denis Healey
Secretary of State for Defence
1970–1974
Succeeded by
Ian Gilmour
New office Secretary of State for Energy
1974
Succeeded by
Eric Varley
Preceded by
David Owen
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
1979–1982
Succeeded by
Francis Pym
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Stephen Holmes
High Commissioner to Australia
1956–1959
Succeeded by
William Oliver
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Hailsham
Leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Lords
1963–1970
Succeeded by
The Earl Jellicoe
Preceded by
Peter Thomas
Chairman of the Conservative Party
1972–1974
Succeeded by
William Whitelaw
Preceded by
The Lord Windlesham
Leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Lords
1974–1979
Succeeded by
The Lord Soames
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Sherfield
Chancellor of the University of Reading
1992–2007
Succeeded by
John Madejski
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Abergavenny
Chancellor of the Order of the Garter
1994–2012
Succeeded by
The Duke of Abercorn
Preceded by
The Earl Jellicoe
Father of the House of Lords
2007–2018
Succeeded by
The Lord Denham
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Rupert Carington
Baron Carrington
2nd creation
1938–2018
Succeeded by
Rupert Carington
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Rupert Carington
Baron Carrington
3rd creation
1938–2018
Member of the House of Lords
(1940–2018)
Succeeded by
Rupert Carington
  1. "Reflect On Things Past". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2018-09-06.