William Waldegrave, Baron Waldegrave of North Hill

This article is about the British politician. For other people of the same name, see William Waldegrave (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
The Lord Waldegrave of North Hill

Waldegrave in 1981
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
5 July 1995  2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Jonathan Aitken
Succeeded by Alistair Darling
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
20 July 1994  5 July 1995
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Gillian Shephard
Succeeded by Douglas Hogg
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
10 April 1992  20 July 1994
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by The Lord Patten of Barnes
Succeeded by David Hunt
Secretary of State for Health
In office
2 November 1990  10 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by Kenneth Clarke
Succeeded by Virginia Bottomley
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
26 July 1988  2 November 1990
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by David Mellor
Succeeded by Douglas Hogg
Minister of State for Housing
In office
13 June 1987  26 July 1988
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by John Patten
Succeeded by Malcolm Sinclair
Member of Parliament
for Bristol West
In office
3 May 1979  1 May 1997
Preceded by Robert Cooke
Succeeded by Valerie Davey
Personal details
Born William Arthur Waldegrave
(1946-08-15) 15 August 1946
London, United Kingdom
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Caroline Burrows
Children 4
Alma mater Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Harvard University

William Arthur Waldegrave, Baron Waldegrave of North Hill, PC (/ˈwɔːlɡreɪv/; born 15 August 1946) is a British Conservative politician who served in the Cabinet from 1990 until 1997 and is a life member of the Tory Reform Group. He is now a life peer.

Waldegrave's 2015 memoir, A Different Kind of Weather, discusses his high youthful political ambition, his political and to some extent personal life, and growing acceptance that he would not achieve his ultimate ambition. It also provides an account of the Heath, Thatcher and, to a lesser extent, Major Governments, including his role in development of the community charge or poll tax – in fact it includes a chapter entitled 'The Poll Tax – all my own work'.[1]

Waldegrave served as a Trustee (1992-2011) and Chair (2002–2011) of the Rhodes Trust, during which time he also helped to create and served as a Trustee of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. His portrait hangs at Rhodes House, Oxford.[2]

Waldegrave was the Chairman of Trustees for the National Museum of Science and Industry from 2002 to 2010.[3] He is currently Provost of Eton College, formally taking over the position on 8 February 2009.

Early life

Waldegrave is the youngest (by six years) of the seven children of Mary Hermione Grenfell and the 12th Earl Waldegrave, and the only brother of the present Earl. One of his sisters is The Lady Susan Hussey.


Chapel of Eton College

Waldegrave was educated at Eton College, where he won the Newcastle Scholarship in 1965, and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he served for a term as president of the Oxford Union. Oxford was followed by Harvard University in the United States, on a Kennedy Scholarship. In 1971 he was elected a Prize Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and is now a Distinguished Fellow.

Early career

In 1971 Waldegrave was working at the Conservative Research Department and in March 1971 he was appointed to the Central Policy Review Staff (CPRS, also referred to as the Think Tank). “He was from the beginning one of the most active 'philosophers' of the CPRS, and the proponent of strong views about its proper roles and functions.”.[4] He was one of the few openly political members of the staff and was used by Victor Rothschild, head of the CPRS, as a link with both the Conservative party (then in government) and the outside, non Civil Service world.[5] He left in December 1973.[6]

Member of Parliament

He was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bristol West in 1979. He was regarded as a member of the "wet" or moderate tendency of the Conservative Party, and despite this progressed well from the backbenches in Margaret Thatcher's government: He became a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Education and Science in 1981 before moving to the Department of the Environment in 1983. He remained at Environment, becoming a Minister of State in 1985, until 1988 when he became a Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In this post he was involved in setting policy on arms exports to Iraq; the Scott Report found that he had agreed in February 1989 to relax the policy, but had sent out 38 untrue letters to Members of Parliament stating that the policy was unchanged. Sir Richard Scott exonerated Waldegrave of "duplicitous intent" in wrongly describing the Government's policy.[7]

In government

He was promoted to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Health in November 1990, just days before Thatcher's resignation, and remained a member of the Cabinet throughout John Major's time as Prime Minister. He became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Cabinet Office with responsibility for public services and science in 1992, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1994 and Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1995.

He attended Bilderberg meetings three times.

After losing his Commons seat to Valerie Davey in Labour's 1997 landslide, he entered the House of Lords as Baron Waldegrave of North Hill, of Chewton Mendip in the County of Somerset, in 1999.

Personal life

He is married to Caroline Waldegrave, cookery writer and managing director of Leith's School of Food and Wine. They have four children, Katherine, Elizabeth, James and Harriet.

Waldegrave is a trustee of Cumberland Lodge, an educational charity.[8] He is an active member of the Board of Managers for the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.[9]

He is notable for having offered a prize for the best lay explanation of the Higgs Boson. In 1993, when he was the British science minister he observed that British taxpayers were paying a lot of money (in contributions to CERN) for something very few of them understood, and he challenged UK particle physicists to explain, in a simple manner on one piece of paper, 'What is the Higgs Boson, and why do we want to find it?'

Professor David Miller's metaphor is probably the most quoted explanation of the Higgs Boson and won the prize:

Titles and styles

See also


  1. Waldegrave, William: A Different Kind of Weather - A Memoir, Constable (2015); ISBN 978-1-47211-975-9
  2. "In responding to thanks, Waldegrave stresses international value of Rhodes Scholarships - The Rhodes Scholarships". Rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk. 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  3. "Baron Waldegrave of North Hill". Parliament UK website. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  4. Inside The Think Tank - Advising the Cabinet 1971-1983 Tessa Blackstone and William Plowden 1988 ISBN 0 7493 0302 6 p27
  5. Inside The Think Tank - Advising the Cabinet 1971-1983 Tessa Blackstone and William Plowden 1988 ISBN 0 7493 0302 6 p28
  6. Tessa Blackstone and William Plowden 1988 ISBN 0 7493 0302 6 Appendix 4
  7. David Pallister, "Waldegrave: 'Untrue' letters sent to MPs", The Guardian, 16 February 1996, p. 12.
  8. "Lord Waldegrave: Cumberland Lodge". Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  9. "The Lewis Walpole Library: Board of Managers". Library.yale.edu. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Cooke
Member of Parliament for Bristol West
Succeeded by
Valerie Davey
Political offices
Preceded by
Kenneth Clarke
Secretary of State for Health
Succeeded by
Virginia Bottomley
Preceded by
Chris Patten
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
David Hunt
Preceded by
Gillian Shephard
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Succeeded by
Douglas Hogg
Preceded by
Jonathan Aitken
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Alistair Darling
Academic offices
Preceded by
Eric Anderson
Provost of Eton
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/17/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.