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The Earl Spencer

The 6th Earl Spencer (1857-1922) painted by William Orpen (1878-1931) (Spencer collection, Althorp House, Northamptonshire).
Born 30 October 1857(1857-10-30)
London, England
Died 26 September 1922 (aged 64)
London, England
Spouse(s) Margaret Baring
Parents Frederick Spencer, 4th Earl Spencer
Adelaide Seymour

Charles Robert Spencer, 6th Earl Spencer, KG, GCVO, PC, VRD (30 October 1857 – 26 September 1922) was a British Liberal Party politician.

Spencer was born in 1857 in the parish of St. James's, Westminster[1], the son of the 4th Earl Spencer and his second wife Adelaide, daughter of Horace Beauchamp Seymour and granddaughter of Admiral Hugh Seymour. He was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge.[2] On 23 July 1887, he married Margaret Baring (14 December 1868 – 4 July 1906), a daughter of the 1st Baron Revelstoke at St James's Church, Piccadilly. They had six children:

  • Lady Adelaide Margaret Delia Spencer (1889–1981), married Sir Sidney Peel, 1st Baronet and had issue.
  • Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer (1892–1975), the grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.
  • Lt.-Cdr. Hon. Cecil Edward Robert Spencer RN DSC Croix de guerre (1894–1928), died unmarried in a riding accident.
  • Lady Lavinia Emily Spencer (1899–1955), married the 4th Baron Annaly and had issue.
  • Captain Hon. George Charles Spencer (1903–1982), married (1) Barbara Blumenthal and had issue, married (2) Kathleen Henderson; no issue.
  • Lady (Alexandra) Margaret Elizabeth Spencer (1906–1996), married Hon. Henry Douglas-Home (son of the 13th Earl of Home) and had issue. She was the author of "A Spencer Childhood", published in 1994.[3]

Spencer represented the constituency of North Northamptonshire from 1880 to 1885 and Mid Northamptonshire from 1885 to 1895 and again from 1900 to 1905. In 1898 he contested Hertford.[4] He was a Groom-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria between February and June 1886, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household from 1892 to 1895 and a Privy Councillor from 1892.[5] Between 1900 and 1905 he was a Liberal whip.[6] On 19 December 1905, he was created 1st Viscount Althorp so as to allow him to become Lord Chamberlain (his older brother was still Earl Spencer at that time). From 1908 he was Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire.[5]

On 13 August 1910, he succeeded to his childless brother's titles, and died 12 years later at his home in St James Place, London. He had been ill for four months after contracting a 'chill' at a public event in his home county of Northamptonshire.[7]

He held a large number of foreign decorations: the Grand Cross of Order of the Dannebrog of Denmark, Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav, Order of the Polar Star of Sweden, Order of the Rising Sun of Japan, the White Eagle of Serbia, Order of the Red Eagle of Prussia, Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Carlos III and Order of Philippe le Bon of France. He was also an honorary major in[6] and later honorary colonel of the 4th Volunteer Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment.[5]


  • 1857–1880: The Hon. Charles Spencer
  • 1880–1892: The Hon. Charles Spencer, MP
  • 1892–1895: The Rt. Hon. Charles Spencer, MP
  • 1895–1900: The Rt. Hon. Charles Spencer
  • 1900–1905: The Rt. Hon. Charles Spencer, MP
  • 1905–1910: The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Althorp, PC
  • 1910–1922: The Rt. Hon. The Earl Spencer, PC


  1. ^ Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901 PRO RG13 Piece 74 Folio 12 p. 16
  2. ^ Spencer, the Hon. Charles Robert, Viscount Althorp in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  3. ^ Charles Mosley (ed.), Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition (Burke's Peerage and Gentry LLC, 2003) vol. III p. 3695
  4. ^ F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1885 - 1918 (Macmillan Press Ltd., London, 1974) p.295
  5. ^ a b c George Edward Cokayne, H A Doubleday and Lord Howard de Walden, The Complete Peerage (St Catherine's, London, 1940) vol. XIII p. 39
  6. ^ a b Michael Stenton and Stephen Lees, Who's Who of British Members of Parliament (Harvester Press, Sussex, 1978) vol. II p. 334
  7. ^ The Times (London), Wednesday, 27 September 1922 p. 10 col. D

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sackville Stopford-Sackville
Lord Burghley
Member of Parliament for North Northamptonshire
With: Lord Burghley
Succeeded by
Edward Monckton
New constituency Member of Parliament for Mid Northamptonshire
Succeeded by
Sir James Pender, Bt
Preceded by
Sir James Pender, Bt
Member of Parliament for Mid Northamptonshire
Succeeded by
Harry Manfield
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Burghley
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Ailwyn Fellowes
Preceded by
The Earl of Clarendon
Lord Chamberlain
Succeeded by
The Lord Sandhurst
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl Spencer
Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Exeter
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Poyntz Spencer
Earl Spencer
Succeeded by
Albert Spencer
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Althorp
Succeeded by
Albert Spencer


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