Born in London, 11 April 1885, son of George Ralph Charles Ormsby-Gore (who became 3rd Baron Harlech in 1904) and Lady Margaret Ethel (née Gordon). The family home was Brogyntyn, near Oswestry, Salop. He was educated at Eton and Oxford and in 1913 he married Lady Beatrice Cecil, a member of a prominent Conservative family.
In 1910 he was elected M.P. for the Borough of Denbigh by only eight votes but in 1918 he moved to a safer seat in Stafford and was a M.P. there until 1938 when he succeeded his father to the House of Lords. He became an expert on the Empire colonies and was Colonial Under-Secretary from 1922 until 1929 apart from the short period when Labour was in power in 1924. In that year he headed the Commission that visited East and Central Africa. He was a member of the Cabinet, 1931-38, and in 1936 he was appointed Colonial Secretary, for which post his extensive experience in the field was invaluable. However, one of his chief political enemies, Neville Chamberlain, became Prime Minister in 1937 and the following year he resigned in bitter circumstances. He opposed the foreign policies of Chamberlain and he was a constant critic of the Nazis. In brief, he was a sincere and prominent politician although occasionally impulsive.
After retiring from political life he turned his attention to banking and to his interests in the arts. He had already published Florentine sculptors of the fifteenth century (1930), A guide to the Mantegna cartoons at Hampton Court (1935), and Guides to the ancient monuments of England (3 volumes). He and his father deposited a valuable collection of Brogyntyn manuscripts at the National Library of Wales and he was the President of the Library, 1950-58. He was also Pro-Chancellor of the University of Wales and Constable of Harlech and Caernarfon castles. He died 14 February 1964.
Published date: 2001
Article Copyright: http://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/
The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.
Find out more on our sponsorship page.