Grey Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie

Alexander Patrick Greysteil Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie, PC, FRSL (born in Dublin 26 November 1939), usually known as Grey Gowrie, is a Scottish hereditary peer. He 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 has also published poetry. Lord Gowrie is the hereditary Clan Chief of Clan Ruthven.

The Earl of Gowrie

Coronet of a British Earl
Arms of Ruthven (ancient)
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
11 September 1984 – 2 September 1985
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byThe Lord Cockfield
Succeeded byNorman Tebbit
Minister of State for the Arts
In office
11 June 1983 – 2 September 1985
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byPaul Channon
Succeeded byRichard Luce
Personal details
Born26 November 1939 (age 79)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyConservative
Alexandra Bingley
(m. 1962; div. 1974)

Adelheid Gräfin von der Schulenburg (m. 1974)
ParentsPatrick Hore-Ruthven
Pamela Cooper
Alma materEton College
Balliol College, Oxford
Harvard University


Early life and education

Lord Gowrie was born in Dublin, Ireland,[1] the elder son of Major The Hon. Patrick Hore-Ruthven, only surviving son of The 1st Baron Gowrie and his wife Lady Gowrie. His mother was Pamela Margaret Fletcher[2] (who later married Major Derek Cooper).[3] His younger brother is Malise Ruthven.

His father was killed in action in 1942, at which point he became his grandfather's heir apparent. When his grandfather, who had been the Governor-General of Australia, was created Earl of Gowrie in 1945, he became known by the courtesy title Viscount Ruthven of Canberra. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, and later at Harvard University.


The young Lord Ruthven succeeded to the Earldom of Gowrie, named for the old Scottish area of Gowrie around Perth, on the death of his grandfather on 2 May 1955; at the same time he succeeded as the 2nd Viscount Ruthven of Canberra, and 2nd Baron Gowrie of Canberra and of Dirleton (East Lothian). On 16th April 1956, he further succeeded his great-uncle (his grandfather's elder brother) The 10th Lord Ruthven of Freeland as the 3rd Baron Ruthven of Gowrie (the Scottish lordship of Ruthven of Freeland passed instead via the female line). He matriculated his coat of arms in 1959.[2]

Ireland and Wales

Lord Gowrie inherited Castlemartin House and Estate at Kilcullen, County Kildare, Ireland, from his great-aunt Sheelagh Blacker in 1967, and later sold it to Tony O'Reilly, to whom he also sold his Dublin home on Fitzwilliam Square. He lived partly in Ireland until 1983, and then moved to 'The Marches' region of Wales,[1] while also maintaining a London residence for much of the period.

Political career

Lord Gowrie joined the Conservative front bench under Ted 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 he was sworn of the Privy Council and entered the Cabinet as Minister for the Arts, which he remained until 1985. He was also Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1984 and 1985.[2] Despite being offered the post of Secretary of State for Education and Science 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.

Later career

After leaving government, Gowrie became Chairman of Sotheby's (1985–1994)[2] and later of the Arts Council of England - described as "the appointment of a Scot, born in Ireland and living in Wales" to a key English post. At the Arts Council, he secured the role as a distributor of funds from the National Lottery.

Gowrie lectured on English and American literature at Harvard and University College, London.[1] He was Provost of the Royal College of Art. He also made a number of television appearances, including in documentaries on Francis Bacon, artist and British folk revivalist and blues pioneer Rory McEwen, and the National Theatre, as well as multiple episodes of Question Time.

Lord Gowrie is a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.[4] Together with Dr Rowan Williams and Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, he is a patron of the Wilfred Owen Association, formed in 1989 to commemorate the life and work of the renowned World War I poet Wilfred Owen.[5] He was also a founding director of the British Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland.


Lord Gowrie published one volume of poetry in his 20s, Postcard from Don Giovanni,[2] after a period working as an assistant to American poet Robert Lowell, and later co-authored a book on British painting, The Genius of British Painting, published in 1975.[2]

In the summer of 1999, having been diagnosed with a serious heart condition, he checked into Harefield Hospital, and, after a heart transplant, and a long recovery, left hospital in 2000; his health has remained frail since. He became friends with his principal surgeon, Sir Magdi Yacoub, and now chairs the institute named for him. Following his release from hospital, he published his first book of poetry for decades, The Domino Hymn, which contains references to his illness - the title refers to the fact that he was a "domino patient," i.e. one who received a heart from a fellow patient undergoing a heart-and-lung transplant.[6] He later also released Third Day with a mix of new and collected poetry.[1]

He was elected in 2003 a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature [7] In January 2009, Grey Gowrie accepted Farad Azima's invitation to chair the Advisory Board of the Iran Heritage Foundation.

Personal life


Lord Gowrie married Alexandra Bingley, daughter of Colonel Robert Bingley, on 1 November 1962. They had one son:

  • (Patrick Leo) Brer Ruthven, Viscount Ruthven of Canberra (b. 4 February 1964). Database developer and musician. Brer Ruthven married Julie Goldsmith and had one son, Heathcote Patrick Cornelius Ruthven, born 28 May 1990.

Lord Gowrie and Alexandra Bingley divorced in 1974.[2]

On 2 November 1974, Gowrie married Adelheid Gräfin von der Schulenburg (b. 24 October 1943), sixth and youngest child and fifth and youngest daughter of Fritz-Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg (1902–10 August 1944), a German Graf (Count) and one of the leaders of the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, and his wife Charlotte Kotelmann.[8]


Gowrie remained friends with Robert Lowell, his poetic mentor, and was a pallbearer at his funeral. As stated, he is also friends with the eminent surgeon Magdi Yacoub. He was also friends with writer and producer Josephine Hart and with Edward Plunkett, the Anglo-Irish painter,[9] godfather to one of his sons, and purchaser of the Kent house of his famous grandfather, the writer Lord Dunsany.


  1. ^ a b c d Sheep Meadow Press - Grey Gowrie
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Alexander Patrick Greysteil Hore-Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie
  3. ^
  4. ^ Elton John AIDS Foundation patrons
  5. ^ The Wilfred Owen Association, official site
  6. ^ Pleasantville, Mount Pleasant, New York: Reader's Digest, October 2008, "Heartfelt: Grey Gowrie on living with another man's heart"
  7. ^ "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  8. ^ Leo van der Pas. "Descendants of Herbert von Bismarck: Generation 21": Part XXI-88 (XX-49-1) Archived 6 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine and "Descendants of Herbert von Bismarck: Generation 22": XXII-88 (XXI-88-1); this however, mentions only two children out of six, per Countess Elisabeth von der Schulenburg's Daily Telegraph obituary. Count Fritz-Dietlof was himself fourth son (out of five sons) of Count Friedrich von der Schulenburg (d. 1939) by his wife Freda-Marie von Arnim.
  9. ^ Dublin, The Irish Times, June 4 2011: Artist will be seen as 'very important if rather austere' - Edward John Carlos Plunkett

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Harold Walker
Minister of State for Employment
Succeeded by
Michael Alison
Preceded by
Hon. Adam Butler
Minister of State for Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
The Earl of Mansfield
Preceded by
Paul Channon
Minister of State for the Arts
Succeeded by
Richard Luce
Preceded by
The Lord Cockfield
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
Norman Tebbit
Cultural offices
Preceded by
The Lord Palumbo
Chairperson of the Arts Council of England
Succeeded by
Gerry Robinson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alexander Hore-Ruthven
Earl of Gowrie
Brer Ruthven, Viscount Ruthven of Canberra
Preceded by
Walter Hore-Ruthven
Baron Ruthven of Gowrie
Baron Ruthven of Gowrie

Baron Ruthven of Gowrie, of Gowrie in the County of Perth, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, held by the Earl of Gowrie since 1956. It was created in 1919 for Walter Hore-Ruthven, 9th Lord Ruthven of Freeland, in the Peerage of Scotland (see Lord Ruthven of Freeland for earlier history of the Hore-Ruthven family). He was succeeded by his eldest son and namesake, Walter, the tenth Lord and second Baron. On the tenth Lord's death in 1956 the Scottish Lordship of Parliament and British barony separated. The Lordship, which could be passed on through female lines, devolved on his eldest daughter, Bridget, while the British barony, which could only be passed on through male lines, devolved on his great-nephew, Grey Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie. Lord Gowrie was the grandson of Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, second son of the ninth Lord Ruthven of Freeland. See Lord Ruthven of Freeland and Earl of Gowrie for further history of the titles.

Earl of Gowrie

Earl of Gowrie is a title that has been created twice, once in the Peerage of Scotland and once in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, both times for members of the Ruthven family. It takes its name from Gowrie, a historical region and ancient province of Scotland. On 23 August 1581, William Ruthven, 4th Lord Ruthven, was created Earl of Gowrie by James VI, King of the Scots. He was executed for high treason, attainted and his peerages forfeited on 28 May 1584. Two years later in 1586, the attainder was reversed and his son, the second Earl, was restored as Earl of Gowrie and Lord Ruthven, but both peerages were forfeited after the alleged plot and subsequent death of the second Earl's younger brother, the third Earl, in 1600.

The Ruthven family descended from Sir William Ruthven, who was created Lord Ruthven in the Peerage of Scotland in 1488. Lord Ruthven's son and heir, William Ruthven, Master of Ruthven, was one of the many Scottish nobles killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Lord Ruthven died in 1528 and was succeeded by his grandson, William, the second Lord, the son of the Master of Ruthven. The second Lord was an Extraordinary Lord of Session and Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland. He was succeeded by his son, Patrick, the third Lord. Patrick was the leader of the band which murdered David Rizzio. After the murder he fled to England where he died in 1566. He was succeeded by his son, William, the aforementioned fourth Lord, who was created Earl of Gowrie in 1581 (see above).

Thomas Ruthven, grandson of Alexander Ruthven of Freeland, younger son of the second Lord Ruthven, was created Lord Ruthven of Freeland in 1651. His descendant Walter Hore-Ruthven, 9th Lord Ruthven of Freeland was created Baron Ruthven of Gowrie, of Gowrie in the County of Perth, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1919. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Walter, the tenth Lord and former Major General in the British Army. On the latter's death in 1956 the Scottish lordship of Parliament devolved on his daughter, Bridget Helen Monckton, 11th Lady Ruthven, while the barony of Ruthven of Gowrie created in 1919 (which could only descend through male lines) devolved on his great-nephew, Grey Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie, who became the third Baron. Lord Gowrie was the grandson of the Honourable Alexander Hore-Ruthven, Governor-General of Australia between 1936 and 1945 and the second son of the ninth Lord Ruthven of Freeland. Alexander Hore-Ruthven had been elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom as Baron Gowrie, of Canberra in the Commonwealth of Australia and of Dirleton in the County of East Lothian, in 1935. In 1945 he was further honoured when he was made Viscount Ruthven of Canberra, of Dirleton in the County of East Lothian, and Earl of Gowrie in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, a revival of the earldom created for his kinsman in the 16th century. As of 2014 the titles are held by the latter's grandson, the second Earl, elder son of the Honourable Patrick Hore-Ruthven, only surviving son of the first Earl, who succeeded in 1942. He notably served in the Conservative administrations under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. However, he lost his seat in the House of Lords after the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999. Lord Gowrie is also Chief of the Name and Arms of Ruthven. The Earl is in remainder to the lordship of Ruthven of Freeland (now held by the Earl of Carlisle).

Several other members of the Ruthven family may also be mentioned. Alexander Ruthven, third son of the first Earl of the first creation, took part in the Gowrie conspiracy of 1600, was condemned for treason and hanged, drawn and quartered. Patrick Ruthven, 1st Earl of Brentford, was the grandson of William Ruthven, younger son of the first Lord Ruthven. Sir John Ruthven, nephew of the Earl of Brentford, was a Major-General in the Swedish Army. His son, Francis Ruthven, was created a Baronet in 1666 (see Ruthven Baronets). The Honourable Malise Ruthven, younger brother of the second Earl of Gowrie of the second creation, is a writer and historian.

Elton John AIDS Foundation

The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) is a nonprofit organization, established by rock musician Sir Elton John – in 1992 in the United States and 1993 in the United Kingdom – to support innovative HIV prevention, education programs, direct care and support services to people living with HIV.

It has raised over $400 million to support HIV related programs in fifty-five countries.The organization supports its work through proceeds from special events, cause-related marketing projects, and voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations. The foundation's U.S. and U.K. branches work separately. Each focuses on different regions of the world; as a result, the organization is able to reach a broader scope of the world. The U.S. branch works in the Americas and the Caribbean, while the U.K. branch focuses on Europe, Asia and Africa.

The organization has been well-known in Hollywood since 1993, when it began hosting the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party.EJAF is chaired by David Furnish, a producer of theater and music. He has been in a relationship with Elton John since 1993; they entered a civil partnership in 2005 and married in 2014.

Fritz-Dietlof von der Schulenburg

Fritz-Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg (5 September 1902 – 10 August 1944) was a German government official and a member of the German Resistance in the 20 July Plot against Adolf Hitler.

List of Balliol College, Oxford people

The following is a list of notable people associated with Balliol College, Oxford, including alumni and Masters of the college. When available, year of matriculation is provided in parentheses, as listed in the relevant edition of The Balliol College Register or in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. More than one in twenty Balliol alumni are listed in Who's Who.

Complete (or very nearly complete) lists of Fellows and students, arranged by year of matriculation, can be found in the published Balliol College Register; the 1st edition, 2nd edition and 3rd edition.This list of notable alumni consists almost entirely of men, due to the fact that for over seven centuries (1263-1979), women were barred from studying at Balliol.

List of Chancellors of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a sinecure office in the government of the United Kingdom. Patrick McLoughlin has been Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster since 14 July 2016.

List of current members of the British Privy Council

This is a list of current members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, along with the roles they fulfil and the date when they were sworn of the Council. Throughout this article, the prefix The Rt Hon. is omitted, because every Counsellor bears it, as is the postnominal PC, as every Counsellor who is also a peer uses it.

The Council is composed mostly of politicians (be they from the British government, other parties, or Commonwealth governments) and civil servants, both current and retired (since membership is for life). Among those politicians generally sworn of the council are Ministers of the Crown, the few most senior figures of the Loyal Opposition, the Parliamentary leader of the third-largest party (currently SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford), and a couple of the most senior figures in the devolved British governments, including the First Ministers. Besides these, the Council includes a very few members of the Royal Family (usually the consort and heir apparent only), a few dozen judges (the Supreme Court Justices, the Senior Judges of England and Wales, and the Senators of the College of Justice of the Inner House in Scotland) and a few clergy (the three most senior Church of England bishops).

List of earls in the peerages of Britain and Ireland

This is a list of the 193 present and extant earls in the Peerages of the England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Note that it does not include extant earldoms which have become merged (either through marriage or elevation) with marquessates or dukedoms and are today only seen as subsidiary titles. For a more complete list, which adds these "hidden" earldoms as well as extinct, dormant, abeyant, and forfeit ones, see List of earldoms.

Lord Gowrie

Lord Gowrie may refer to:

Grey Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie (born 1939), British politician

Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie (1872–1955), British soldier and colonial governor

John Ruthven, 3rd Earl of Gowrie (c. 1570–1600), Scottish nobleman

James Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie (1575–1588), Scottish nobleman, Earl of Gowrie

William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie (c. 1540–1584), Scottish nobleman

Lord Ruthven of Freeland

Lord Ruthven of Freeland is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1651 for Thomas Ruthven. He was the grandson of Alexander Ruthven, younger son of William Ruthven, 2nd Lord Ruthven (see the Earl of Gowrie, 1581 creation, for earlier history of the family). The letters patent creating the peerage is said to have been burnt with the House of Freeland in 1750, and the remainder to the peerage is not accurately known. However, as the dignity was retained on the Union Roll, it has been presumed that the honour was to heirs-general. Lord Ruthven of Freeland was succeeded by his son, the second Lord. He never married and on his death in 1722 the title and estates devolved by entail upon his youngest sister, Jean. On her death the estates passed to her nephew Sir William Cunningham, 3rd Baronet, of Cunninghamhead. He was the only son of Anne, elder sister of the third Lady Ruthven and also heir of line. He assumed the surname of Ruthven upon the death of his aunt, but lived only six months after his accession to the estates and never assumed the title.

As he was childless the title was passed on to his cousin Isabella Ruthven, the fourth holder. She was the daughter of the Hon. Elizabeth Ruthven, second daughter of first Lord, by her marriage with Sir Francis Ruthven, 1st Baronet, of Redcastle. She married James Johnston of Graitney, who along with his wife assumed the surname of Ruthven in lieu of Johnston. Isabella was summoned as a Lady to the Coronation of King George II and recognised in the lordship of Ruthven of Freeland. Her great-grandson (the title having descended in the direct line), the seventh Lord, died childless. He was succeeded by his younger sister Mary Elizabeth, the eighth holder of the titles. She was the wife of Walter Hore and they later assumed the additional family surname of Ruthven after that of Hore. Her grandson, the ninth Lord, was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Rifle Brigade and fought at an early age in the Crimean War as well as in the First World War (although then in his seventies). In 1919 he was created Baron Ruthven of Gowrie, of Gowrie in the County of Perth, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, which gave him an automatic seat in the House of Lords.

His second son the Hon. Alexander Hore-Ruthven served as Governor-General of Australia and was created Earl of Gowrie in 1945. Lord Ruthven of Freeland was succeeded by his eldest son, the tenth Lord. He was a Major-General in the Scots Guards. He died without male issue and was succeeded in the barony of Ruthven of Gowrie by his great-nephew Grey Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie (see the Earl of Gowrie for further history of the barony). The lordship of Ruthven of Freeland, which could be passed on through female lines, was inherited by his eldest daughter Bridget, the eleventh holder. Her petition as heir of line and heir tailzie of the first Lord was allowed in the Lyon Court in 1967. She married firstly George Josslyn L'Estrange Howard, 11th Earl of Carlisle, and secondly Sir Walter Monckton. On her death in 1982 the title passed to her son from her first marriage, the twelfth Lord, who had already succeeded his father as twelfth Earl of Carlisle. For further history of the lordship, see the Earl of Carlisle.

Malise Ruthven

Malise Walter Maitland Knox Hore-Ruthven (born 14 May 1942) is an Anglo-Irish academic and writer.

Born in Dublin in 1942, he earned an MA in English Literature at Cambridge University, before working as a scriptwriter with the BBC Arabic and World Service, and a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs.He earned his PhD in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University. Having pursued a career as a writer, journalist and teacher, he focuses his work on religion, fundamentalism, and especially Islamic affairs.

November 26

November 26 is the 330th day of the year (331st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 35 days remaining until the end of the year.

Rowan Williams

Rowan Douglas Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth (born 14 June 1950), is a Welsh Anglican bishop, theologian and poet.

Williams was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury, and Primate of All England, offices he held from December 2002 to December 2012. He was previously the Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales, making him the first Archbishop of Canterbury in modern times not to be appointed from within the Church of England.

Williams spent much of his earlier career as an academic at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford successively. He speaks three languages and reads at least nine.Williams' primacy was marked by speculation that the Anglican Communion (in which the Archbishop of Canterbury is the leading figure) was on the verge of fragmentation. Williams worked to keep all sides talking to one another. Notable events during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury include the rejection by a majority of dioceses of his proposed Anglican Covenant and, in the final General Synod of his tenure, the failure to secure a sufficient majority for a measure to allow the appointment of women as bishops in the Church of England.

Williams stood down as Archbishop of Canterbury on 31 December 2012 to take up the position of Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University in January 2013. Later in 2013, he was appointed Chancellor of the University of South Wales. He also delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. Justin Welby succeeded him in the chair of St Augustine on 9 November 2012, being enthroned in March 2013. On 26 December 2012, 10 Downing St announced Williams' elevation to the peerage as a Life Baron, so that he could continue to speak in the Upper House of Parliament. Following the creation of his title on 8 January and its gazetting on 11 January 2013, he was introduced to the temporal benches of the House of Lords as Baron Williams of Oystermouth on 15 January 2013, sitting as a crossbencher.

Walter Hore-Ruthven, 10th Lord Ruthven of Freeland

Major General Walter Patrick Hore-Ruthven, 10th Lord Ruthven of Freeland, 2nd Baron Ruthven of Gowrie, (6 June 1870 – 16 April 1956), known as Master of Ruthven from 1870 to 1921, was a senior British Army officer. He served as Major-General commanding the Brigade of Guards and General Officer Commanding London District from 1924 to 1928, and was then Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey until 1934.

Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, MC (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) was an English poet and soldier. He was one of the leading poets of the First World War. His war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his mentor Siegfried Sassoon, and stood in stark contrast both to the public perception of war at the time and to the confidently patriotic verse written by earlier war poets such as Rupert Brooke. Among his best-known works – most of which were published posthumously – are "Dulce et Decorum est", "Insensibility", "Anthem for Doomed Youth", "Futility", "Spring Offensive" and "Strange Meeting".

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