John Palmer, 4th Earl of Selborne

John Roundell Palmer, 4th Earl of Selborne, GBE, DL, FRS (born 24 March 1940), is a British peer, ecological expert and businessman. He is one of the hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, sitting as a Conservative.

The Earl of Selborne

Official portrait of The Earl of Selborne crop 2
President of the Royal Geographical Society
In office
Preceded byThe Earl Jellicoe
Succeeded bySir Ronald Cooke
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
23 December 1971
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 3rd Earl of Selborne
Personal details
Born12 March 1940 (age 79)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Lady Selborne, née Joanna van Antwerp James
RelationsRoundell Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne, grandfather, politician, administrator and intelligence officer
Children3 sons and 1 daughter
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Background and education

The son of Captain William Palmer, Viscount Wolmer, in turn son of Roundell Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne, and the Honourable Grace Ridley, Lord Selborne succeeded to his grandfather's titles in 1971:[1] this was because his own father was killed in 1942 during a training exercise while serving with the Hampshire Regiment.[2] He was educated first at St. Ronan's School, Hawkhurst, and at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1961, proceeding to complete a Master of Arts.


Lord Selborne was Treasurer of King Edward's School, Witley between 1972–83, and a member of the Apple and Pear Development Council between 1969–73. He was chairman of the Hops Marketing Board from 1978–82, of the Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) from 1982–89 and of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) from 1991–97. He was also a member of the NEDC Food Sector Group in 1991–92 and a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 1993 to 1998. From 1994–95, he was director of Lloyds Bank and its successor Lloyds TSB Group between 1995 and 2004.

Selborne was President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England from 1987–88, of the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene from 1991 to 1997 and of the Royal Geographical Society from 1997–2000. From 1996–2006 he was the Chancellor of the University of Southampton and between 2003–09 he was chairman of the trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. In 1989 he was Master of the Worshipful Company of Mercers. In 1991, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is also a Fellow of the Linnean Society, Vice-Patron of the Royal Entomological Society, and Patron of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

Selborne was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1987 and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to science.[3][4]


Since 1969, he has been married to Joanna van Antwerp James (Countess of Selborne, Lady Selborne).

The couple have four children:

  • Lady Emily Palmer,
  • William Palmer, Viscount Wolmer,
  • Hon. George Palmer,
  • Hon. Luke Palmer.

The family live near Selborne, Hampshire.


  1. ^ 'Earl Of Selborne' The Times (London, England), Monday, September 6, 1971, Issue 58269, p.16.
  2. ^ 'Lord Wolmer Killed' The Times (London, England), Monday, October 5, 1942, Issue 49358, p.2.
  3. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 6.
  4. ^ Archived 2012-09-17 at the Wayback Machine New Years Honours List 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-12

External links

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Roundell Palmer
Earl of Selborne
Earl of Selborne

Earl of Selborne, in the County of Southampton, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1882 for the lawyer and Liberal politician Roundell Palmer, 1st Baron Selborne, along with the subsidiary title of Viscount Wolmer, of Blackmoor in the County of Southampton. He had already been made Baron Selborne, of Selborne in the County of Southampton, in 1872, also in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Both his son, the second Earl, and grandson, the third Earl, were prominent Liberal Unionist politicians. The latter was in 1941 called to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in his father's barony of Selborne. As of 2009 the titles are held by the third Earl's grandson, the fourth Earl. He is one of the ninety elected hereditary peers that remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, and sits as a Conservative.

The family seat is Temple Manor, near Selborne, Hampshire.

Fellow of the Royal Society

Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS, ForMemRS and HonFRS) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.

Fellowship of the Society, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, is a significant honour which has been awarded to many eminent scientists from history including Isaac Newton (1672), Charles Darwin (1839), Michael Faraday (1824), Ernest Rutherford (1903), Srinivasa Ramanujan (1918), Albert Einstein (1921), Winston Churchill (1941), Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1944), Dorothy Hodgkin (1947), Alan Turing (1951) and Francis Crick (1959). More recently, fellowship has been awarded to Stephen Hawking (1974), Tim Hunt (1991), Elizabeth Blackburn (1992), Tim Berners-Lee (2001), Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (2003), Atta-ur Rahman (2006), Andre Geim (2007), James Dyson (2015), Ajay Kumar Sood (2015), Subhash Khot (2017), Elon Musk (2018), and around 8,000 others in total, including over 280 Nobel Laureates since 1900. As of October 2018, there are approximately 1689 living Fellows, Foreign and Honorary Members, of which over 60 are Nobel Laureates.Fellowship of the Royal Society has been described by The Guardian newspaper as “the equivalent of a lifetime achievement Oscar” with several institutions celebrating their announcement each year.

Foundation for Science and Technology

The Foundation for Science and Technology is a forum in the United Kingdom for discussing policy issues that have a science, engineering or technology element. It is based in Carlton House Terrace, London, alongside the Royal Society and British Academy.

The Foundation is directed by a council that includes ex officio the heads of the Royal Society, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Academy, the Academy of Medical Sciences, EngineeringUK, The Science Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and Innovate UK. The chair of the Foundation's Council is John Palmer, 4th Earl of Selborne; the Chief Executive is Dr Dougal Goodman and the President is Patrick Jenkin, Baron Jenkin of Roding.

The Foundation publishes the FST Journal (previously known as "Technology, Innovation and Society") and a newsletter, and awards an annual prize (the Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran Award) to a person who has applied science and technology for the benefit of society.

John Parker (businessman)

Sir Thomas John Parker, GBE, FREng, HonFIES, HonFIET (born 8 April 1942) is a British businessman. He was Chairman of Anglo American plc until 2017 and was also previously Chairman of Ombu Group and a Director of Airbus. He is currently a Director of Carnival Corporation & plc. He is also past President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, patron at the Centre for Process Innovation and a Visiting Fellow of the University of Oxford. Parker has chaired five FTSE 100 companies, including National Grid plc, from which he stood down in December 2011.

King Edward's School, Witley

King Edward's School, Witley is an independent co-educational boarding and day school, founded in 1553 by King Edward VI and Nicholas Ridley. The School is located in the village of Wormley (near Witley), Surrey, England, having moved to its present location in 1867. The School became fully co-educational in 1952. As of September 2010, the school has joined the small number of independent schools in the UK which offer the IB Diploma Programme in place of A-Levels in the Sixth form. The School re-introduced A-Levels as part of the curriculum from September 2015.

List of University of Southampton people

This is a list of University of Southampton people, including famous officers, staff (past and present) and student alumni from the University of Southampton or historical institutions from which the current university derives.

List of alumni of Christ Church, Oxford

A list of alumni of Christ Church, Oxford, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its alumni include politicians, lawyers, bishops, poets, and academics.

At least thirteen British prime ministers have been educated at Christ Church including Sir Robert Peel (Prime Minister 1834–1835 & 1841–1846), Anthony Eden (1955—1957) and William Ewart Gladstone (1892–94, 1886, 1880–85, & 1868–74). At least ten Chancellors of the Exchequer have also been educated at Christ Church including Nigel Lawson (1983–1989) and William Murray (Lord Chief Justice 1756—1788 and Chancellor of the Exchequer 1757) as well as other prominent UK politicians such as Quintin McGarel Hogg (Lord Chancellor 1979–1987). Christ Church has also educated many people who have gone on to take prominent political roles abroad, such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (former Prime minister of Pakistan), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party), S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike (Prime Minister of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka)) and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.

A number of royal members were educated at Christ Church including King Edward VII (1841–1910), King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India and his brother Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany as well as King William II of the Netherlands, Prince Abbas Hilmi from the Egyptian royal family, and Prince Hassan bin Talal from the Jordanian royal family.

There are numerous former students in the fields of academia and theology including seventeen Archbishops, most recently Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury 2002–2012). Other students in these areas include George Kitchin (the first Chancellor of the University of Durham and Dean of Durham Cathedral), John Charles Ryle (first Bishop of Liverpool), John Wesley (leader of the Methodist movement), Richard William Jelf (Principal of King's College London), Ronald Montagu Burrows (Principal of King's College London) and Bishop William Stubbs (Bishop of Oxford and historian). Prominent philosophers including John Locke, John Rawls, Sir A. J. Ayer and Daniel Dennett also studied at Christ Church.

Albert Einstein was elected to undertake a 5-year Research Studentship in 1931, philosopher and polymath Robert Hooke and developmental biologist Sir John B. Gurdon (co-winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine), physician Sir Archibald Edward Garrod, the Father of Modern Medicine Sir William Osler, biochemist Kenneth Callow, radio astronomer Sir Martin Ryle and epidemiologist Sir Richard Doll are all associated with the college.

A number of successful businessmen have also been educated at Christ Church including Alex Beard (Glencore), Sir Michael Moritz (Sequoia Capital), Crispin Odey (hedge fund manager), Jacob Rothschild (N M Rothschild & Sons), Nicky Oppenheimer (De Beers), Peter Moores (Littlewoods), James A. Reed (Reed group), and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (twins associated with the founding of Facebook).

The college has educated six Olympic gold medalists including Jonny Searle in rowing. Other notable alumni include entrepreneur and founder of Pennsylvania William Penn, broadcaster David Dimbleby, composer Sir William Walton and the writers Lewis Carroll and W. H. Auden.

The college accepted men only for over four centuries, until 1980, which explains the dearth of women on this list of notable alumni.

The following list is not comprehensive and a fuller list can be found in the Category: Alumni of Christ Church, Oxford.

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.

List of elected hereditary peers under the House of Lords Act 1999

This is a list of hereditary peers elected to serve in the House of Lords under the provisions of the House of Lords Act 1999 and the Standing Orders of the House of Lords. The Act excluded all hereditary peers who were not also life peers except for two holders of royal offices plus ninety other peers, to be chosen by the House.

Before the passing of the Act, the House approved a Standing Order stating that the remaining hereditary peers shall consist of:

2 peers to be elected by the Labour hereditary peers

42 peers to be elected by the Conservative hereditary peers

3 peers to be elected by the Liberal Democrat hereditary peers

28 peers to be elected by the Crossbench hereditary peers

15 peers to be elected by the whole House

The holders of the offices of Earl Marshal (the Duke of Norfolk) and Lord Great Chamberlain (currently the Marquess of Cholmondeley) to be ex officio membersThe total number and sub-composition set out above reflects a compromise to ensure passage of the Act through the House reached between then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and the most senior Conservative in the Lords, Viscount Cranborne (known since his father's death in 2003 as the Marquess of Salisbury), a descendant of the last Prime Minister to sit in the Lords. The number elected by each group reflected the relative strengths of the parties among hereditary peers at that time. Historically, the Conservatives had predominated in the House since 1890; it was this entrenched position which led to the removal of the absolute power of veto from the House of Lords by the Parliament Act 1911 and was the chief catalyst for the removal of most hereditary peers in 1999.The fifteen peers elected by the whole house were intended to provide a group of experienced members ready to serve as Deputy Speakers or other officers.

The initial elections took place before the House of Lords Act took effect; therefore all hereditary peers could vote in those elections. From the end of the 1998–1999 session of parliament until the following session, vacancies (usually triggered by death) were to be filled by runners up in the initial elections. Two Crossbench peers, Lord Cobbold and Lord Chorley, returned to the House this way, having sat before 1999. Since then, vacancies among the group of 15 peers have been filled through by-elections, with all members of the House entitled to vote. The Procedure Committee has recommended that any peer elected at a by-election in this category should not be expected to serve as a Deputy Speaker. In by-elections to fill vacancies in the political groups, only hereditary peers of that group sitting in the House may vote.

As of January 2018 there are 4 dukes, 1 marquess, 26 earls, 17 viscounts and 44 barons among the 92 hereditary peers entitled to sit in the House of Lords.

Royal Geographical Society

The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is the UK's learned society and professional body for geography, founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical sciences. Today, it is the leading centre for geographers and geographical learning. The Society has over 16,500 members and its work reaches millions of people each year through publications, research groups and lectures.

England Kingdom of England
Scotland Kingdom of Scotland
Great Britain Kingdom of Great Britain
Ireland Kingdom of Ireland
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Presidents of the Royal Geographical Society
19th century
20th century
21st century


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