Charles Spencer, 6th Earl Spencer

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The Earl Spencer
Lord Chamberlain of the Household
In office
18 December 1905 – 14 February 1912
MonarchsEdward VII
George V
Prime MinisterSir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
Preceded byThe Earl of Clarendon
Succeeded byThe Lord Sandhurst
Personal details
Born(1857-10-30)30 October 1857
St James's, Westminster, London, England
Died26 September 1922(1922-09-26) (aged 64)
St James Place, Westminster, London, England
Political partyLiberal
Hon. Margaret Baring
(m. 1887; died 1906)
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

Charles Robert Spencer, 6th Earl Spencer, KG, GCVO, VD, PC (30 October 1857 – 26 September 1922), styled The Honourable Charles Spencer until 1905 and known as Viscount Althorp between 1905 and 1910, was a British courtier and Liberal politician from the Spencer family. An MP from 1880 to 1895 and again from 1900 to 1905, he served as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household from 1892 to 1895. Raised to peerage as Viscount Althorp in 1905, he was Lord Chamberlain from 1905 to 1912 in the Liberal administrations headed by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith. In 1910, he succeeded his half-brother as Earl Spencer. He was married to Margaret Baring, a member of the Baring family.

Background and education[edit]

Known as "Bobby", Spencer was born in St. James's, Westminster,[1] the son of Frederick Spencer, 4th Earl Spencer, by his second wife Adelaide Seymour, daughter of Horace Beauchamp Seymour and granddaughter of Lord Hugh Seymour. John Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer, was his elder half-brother. He was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge.[2]

Political career[edit]

Spencer represented Northamptonshire North in parliament from 1880 to 1885 and Northamptonshire Mid from 1885 to 1895 and again from 1900 to 1905, from his home at Dallington Hall. In 1898, he contested Hertford.[3] He was a Groom in Waiting to Queen Victoria between February and June 1886. In 1892, he was sworn of the Privy Council[4] and appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Household under William Ewart Gladstone,[5] a post he held until 1895, the last year under the premiership of Lord Rosebery.[6] Between 1900 and 1905, he was a Liberal whip.[7]

On 19 December 1905, he was created Viscount Althorp, of Great Brington in the County of Northampton,[8] to allow him to become Lord Chamberlain in Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's new Liberal administration. (His older brother was still Earl Spencer at that time, but was 70 years old and childless, and so it was clear that his younger brother would inherit.)[9] On 13 August 1910, he inherited the earldom on the death of his childless elder brother, John Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer. He remained Lord Chamberlain until 1912.[10] From 1908 to 1922, he was Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire.[11] He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order[citation needed] in 1911 and a Knight of the Garter in 1913.[12] He was also awarded the Volunteer Reserve Decoration.

Lord Spencer held a large number of foreign decorations: the Grand Crosses 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 and Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Carlos III. He was also an honorary major in[7] and later honorary colonel of the 4th Volunteer Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment.[11]


Lord Spencer married the Hon. Margaret Baring (14 December 1868 – 4 July 1906), daughter of Edward Baring, 1st Baron Revelstoke, at St James's Church, Piccadilly, on 23 July 1887. They had six children:

Lord Spencer died in September 1922 at his home in St James Place, London, aged 64. He had been ill for four months after contracting a "chill" at a public event in his home county, Northamptonshire.[15] His eldest son Albert succeeded in the earldom. Lord Spencer was buried next to his wife in Saint Mary the Virgin with St John Churchyard, Great Brington, Northamptonshire.

Coat of arms[edit]

Coat of arms of Charles Spencer, 6th Earl Spencer
6th Earl Spencer.jpg
A Coronet of an Earl
Out of a Ducal Coronet Or a Griffin's Head Azure gorged with a Bar Gemelle Gules between two Wings expanded of the second
Quarterly Argent and Gules in the 2nd and 3rd quarters a Fret Or over all on a Bend Sable three Escallops of the first
Dexter: A Griffin per fess Ermine and Erminois gorged with a Collar Sable the edges flory-counterflory and chained of the last and on the Collar three Escallops Argent; Sinister: A Wyvern Erect on his tail Ermine similarly collared and chained
Dieu Defend Le Droit (God defend the right)



  1. ^ Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901 PRO RG13 Piece 74 Folio 12, p. 16.
  2. ^ "Spencer, the Hon. Charles Robert, Viscount Althorp (SPNR877CR)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1885 – 1918 (Macmillan Press Ltd., London, 1974) p. 295.
  4. ^ "No. 26320". The London Gazette. 26 August 1892. p. 4881.
  5. ^ "No. 26321". The London Gazette. 30 August 1892. p. 4958.
  6. ^ "No. 26643". The London Gazette. 12 July 1895. p. 3945.
  7. ^ a b Michael Stenton and Stephen Lees, Who's Who of British Members of Parliament (Harvester Press, Sussex, 1978) vol. II, p. 334.
  8. ^ "No. 27868". The London Gazette. 29 December 1905. p. 9319.
  9. ^ "No. 27866". The London Gazette. 22 December 1905. p. 9171.
  10. ^ "No. 28581". The London Gazette. 16 February 1912. p. 1169.
  11. ^ a b George Edward Cokayne, H A Doubleday and Lord Howard de Walden, The Complete Peerage (St Catherine's, London, 1940) vol. XIII, p. 39.
  12. ^ "No. 28736". The London Gazette. 11 July 1913. p. 4966.
  13. ^ "Lavinia Emily White (née Spencer), Lady Annaly". National Portrait Gallery, London.
  14. ^ Charles Mosley (ed.), Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition (Burke's Peerage and Gentry LLC, 2003) vol. III, p. 3695.
  15. ^ The Times (London), Wednesday, 27 September 1922, p. 10, col. D.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for North Northamptonshire
With: Lord Burghley
Succeeded by
New constituency Member of Parliament for Mid Northamptonshire
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Mid Northamptonshire
Succeeded by
Court offices
Preceded by Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord Chamberlain
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire
Succeeded by
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by Earl Spencer
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Althorp
Succeeded by