150 Facts About Anthony Eden


Anthony Eden again held that position for most of the Second World War, and a third time in the early 1950s.


Anthony Eden is generally considered to be among the least successful of British prime ministers in the 20th century, although two broadly sympathetic biographies have gone some way to shifting the balance of opinion.


Anthony Eden was the first out of fifteen British prime ministers to be appointed by Queen Elizabeth II in her seventy-year reign.


Anthony Eden was born on 12 June 1897 at Windlestone Hall, County Durham, into a conservative family of landed gentry.


Anthony Eden was the third of four sons of Sir William Eden, 7th and 5th Baronet, and Sybil Frances Grey, a member of the prominent Grey family of Northumberland.


Anthony Eden's mother had wanted to marry Francis Knollys, who later became a significant Royal adviser, but the match was forbidden by the Prince of Wales.


Anthony Eden's great-grandfather was William Iremonger, who commanded the 2nd Regiment of Foot during the Peninsular War and fought under Wellington at Vimeiro.


Anthony Eden was descended from Governor Sir Robert Eden, 1st Baronet, of Maryland and, through the Calvert family of Maryland, he was connected to the ancient Roman Catholic aristocracy of the Arundell and Howard families, as well as Anglican families including as the earls of Carlisle, Effingham and Suffolk.


Anthony Eden had some Danish and Norwegian descent.


Anthony Eden was once amused to learn that one of his ancestors had, like Churchill's ancestor the Duke of Marlborough, been the lover of Barbara Castlemaine.


Anthony Eden's mother was rumoured to have had an affair with Wyndham.


Anthony Eden's mother and Wyndham exchanged affectionate communications in 1896 but Wyndham was an infrequent visitor to Windlestone and probably did not reciprocate Sybil's feelings.


Anthony Eden was amused by the rumours but, according to his biographer Rhodes James, probably did not believe them.


Anthony Eden did not resemble his siblings, but his father Sir William attributed this to his being "a Grey, not an Eden".


Anthony Eden attended Sandroyd School in Wiltshire from 1907 to 1910, where he excelled in languages.


Anthony Eden then started at Eton College in January 1911.


Anthony Eden learned French and German on continental holidays and, as a child, is said to have spoken French better than English.


Anthony Eden was a strong, partisan Conservative, thinking his protectionist father "a fool" in November 1912 for trying to block his free-trade supporting uncle from a Parliamentary candidacy.


Anthony Eden rejoiced in the defeat of Charles Masterman at a by-election in May 1914 and once astonished his mother on a train journey by telling her the MP and the size of his majority for each constituency through which they passed.


Anthony Eden is buried in Larch Wood Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Belgium.


Volunteering for service in the British Army, like many others of his generation, Anthony Eden served with the 21st Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps, a Kitchener's Army unit, initially recruited mainly from County Durham country labourers, who were increasingly replaced by Londoners after losses at the Somme in mid-1916.


Anthony Eden was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant on 2 November 1915.


Anthony Eden's battalion transferred to the Western Front on 4 May 1916 as part of the 41st Division.


One summer night in 1916, near Ploegsteert, Anthony Eden had to lead a small raid into an enemy trench to kill or capture enemy soldiers to identify the enemy units opposite.


Anthony Eden sent one man back to British lines to fetch another man and a stretcher, and he and three others carried the wounded sergeant back with, as he later put it in his memoirs, a "chilly feeling down our spines", unsure whether the Germans had not seen them in the dark or were chivalrously declining to fire.


Anthony Eden omitted to mention that he had been awarded the Military Cross for the incident, of which he made little mention in his political career.


Anthony Eden's MC was gazetted in the 1917 Birthday Honours list.


Anthony Eden's battalion fought at Messines Ridge in June 1917.


On 1 July 1917, Anthony Eden was confirmed as a temporary lieutenant, relinquishing his appointment as adjutant three days later.


Anthony Eden's battalion fought in the first few days of Third Battle of Ypres.


Anthony Eden served at Second Army HQ between mid-November 1917 and 8 March 1918, missing out on service in Italy.


Anthony Eden returned to the Western Front as a major German offensive was clearly imminent, only for his former battalion to be disbanded to help alleviate the British Army's acute manpower shortage.


At the age of 20, Anthony Eden was the youngest brigade major in the British Army.


Anthony Eden considered standing for Parliament at the end of the war, but the general election was called too early for that to be possible.


Anthony Eden contemplated applying for a commission in the Regular Army, but these were very hard to come by with the army contracting so rapidly.


Anthony Eden initially shrugged off his mother's suggestion of studying at Oxford.


Anthony Eden's preferred career alternatives at this stage were standing for Parliament for Bishop Auckland, the Civil Service in East Africa or the Foreign Office.


Anthony Eden had dabbled in the study of Turkish with a family friend.


Anthony Eden studied under Richard Paset Dewhurst and David Samuel Margoliouth.


At Oxford, Anthony Eden took no part in student politics, and his main leisure interest at the time was art.


Anthony Eden was in the Oxford University Dramatic Society and President of the Asiatic Society.


Possibly under the influence of his father, Anthony Eden gave a paper on Paul Cezanne, whose work was not yet widely appreciated.


In July 1920, still an undergraduate, Anthony Eden was recalled to military service as a lieutenant in the 6th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry.


Anthony Eden graduated from Oxford in June 1922 with a Double First.


Anthony Eden continued to serve as an officer in the Territorial Army until May 1923.


Anthony Eden read the writings of Lord Curzon and was hoping to emulate him by entering politics with a view to specialising in foreign affairs.


Anthony Eden married Beatrice Beckett in the autumn of 1923, and after a two-day honeymoon in Essex, he was selected to fight Warwick and Leamington for a by-election in November 1923.


Anthony Eden was elected to Parliament at the age of twenty-six.


Anthony Eden's maiden speech was a controversial attack on Labour's defence policy and was heckled, and he was thereafter careful to speak only after deep preparation.


Anthony Eden later reprinted the speech in the collection Foreign Affairs to give an impression that he had been a consistent advocate of air strength.


In January 1925, Anthony Eden, disappointed not to have been offered a position, went on a tour of the Middle East and met Emir Feisal of Iraq.


Anthony Eden was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Godfrey Locker-Lampson, Under-Secretary at the Home Office, serving under Home Secretary William Joynson Hicks.


Anthony Eden wrote articles for The Yorkshire Post, controlled by his father-in-law Sir Gervase Beckett, under the pseudonym "Backbencher".


Anthony Eden continued to be PPS to Locker-Lampson when the latter was appointed Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office in December 1925.


Anthony Eden distinguished himself with a speech on the Middle East, that called for the readjustment of Iraqi frontiers in favour of Turkey but for a continued British mandate, rather than a "scuttle".


In November 1928, with Austen Chamberlain away on a voyage to recover his health, Anthony Eden had to speak for the government in a debate on a recent Anglo-French naval agreement in reply to Ramsay MacDonald, then Leader of the Opposition.


Anthony Eden advocated co-partnership in industry between managers and workers, whom he wanted to be given shares.


Anthony Eden, replying for the government, dismissed Churchill's speech as exaggerated and unconstructive and commented that land disarmament had yet to make the same progress as naval disarmament at the Washington and London Treaties and arguing that French disarmament was needed to "secure for Europe that period of appeasement which is needed".


Anthony Eden's speech was met with approval by the House of Commons.


Anthony Eden later wrote that in the early 1930s, the word "appeasement" was still used in its correct sense of seeking to settle strife.


Anthony Eden was appointed Lord Privy Seal in December 1933, a position that was combined with the newly created office of Minister for League of Nations Affairs.


On 25 March 1935, accompanying Sir John Simon, Anthony Eden met Hitler in Berlin and raised a weak protest after Hitler restored conscription against the Versailles Treaty.


Anthony Eden entered the cabinet for the first time when Stanley Baldwin formed his third administration in June 1935.


Anthony Eden later came to recognise that peace could not be maintained by appeasement of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.


Anthony Eden privately opposed the policy of the Foreign Secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, of trying to appease Italy during its invasion of Abyssinia in 1935.


Anthony Eden proceeded to Moscow for talks with Stalin and Soviet Minister Litvinov, Most of the British cabinet feared of the spread of Bolshevism to Britain and hated the Soviets, but Anthony Eden went with an open mind and had a respect for Stalin:.


Anthony Eden had natural good manners, perhaps a Georgian inheritance.


Anthony Eden felt sure most of his colleagues would feel unenthusiastic about any favourable report on the Soviet Union but felt certain to be correct.


Anthony Eden stated when he sent the communique to his government, he thought that his colleagues would be "Unenthusiastic, I am sure".


At that stage in his career, Anthony Eden was considered as something of a leader of fashion.


Anthony Eden regularly wore a Homburg hat, which became known in Britain as an "Anthony Eden".


Anthony Eden became Foreign Secretary after Samuel Hoare had resigned.


Anthony Eden supported the policy of non-interference in the Spanish Civil War through conferences such as the Nyon Conference and supported Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his National Government in their efforts to preserve peace through reasonable concessions to Nazi Germany.


The Italian-Ethiopian War was brewing, and Anthony Eden tried in vain to persuade Mussolini to submit the dispute to the League of Nations.


Anthony Eden did not protest when Britain and France failed to oppose Hitler's reoccupation of the Rhineland on 7 March 1936.


Anthony Eden resigned on 20 February 1938 as a public protest against Chamberlain's policy of coming to friendly terms with Fascist Italy.


Anthony Eden used secret intelligence reports to conclude that the Mussolini regime in Italy posed a threat to Britain.


Anthony Eden still had no complaints about the appeasement of Nazi Germany.


Anthony Eden became a Conservative dissenter, leading a group that Conservative whip David Margesson called the "Glamour Boys".


Anthony Eden was often both critical of the emphasis Churchill put on the special relationship with the United States and disappointed by the American treatment of its British allies.


In 1942, Anthony Eden was given the additional role of Leader of the House of Commons.


Anthony Eden was considered for various other major jobs during and after the war, including Commander-in-Chief Middle East in 1942, Viceroy of India in 1943 or Secretary-General of the newly formed United Nations Organisation in 1945.


In 1943, with the revelation of the Katyn massacre, Anthony Eden refused to help the Polish Government in Exile.


Anthony Eden supported the idea of postwar expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia.


In early 1943, Anthony Eden blocked a request from the Bulgarian authorities to aid with deporting part of the Jewish population from newly acquired Bulgarian territories to British-controlled Palestine.


In 1944, Anthony Eden went to Moscow to negotiate with the Soviet Union at the Tolstoy Conference.


Mrs Anthony Eden reportedly reacted to the loss of her son differently, which led to a breakdown in the marriage.


Many felt that Churchill should have retired and allowed Anthony Eden to become party leader, but Churchill refused to consider the idea.


Anthony Eden was in any case depressed by the end of his first marriage and the death of his eldest son.


Churchill was, in many ways, only "part-time Leader of the Opposition" because of his many journeys abroad and his literary work, and left the day-to-day work largely to Anthony Eden, who was largely regarded as lacking a sense of party politics and contact with the common man.


In 1951 the Conservatives returned to office and Anthony Eden became Foreign Secretary for a third time.


Churchill was largely a figurehead in the government, and Anthony Eden had effective control of British foreign policy for the second time, with the decline of the empire and the intensifying of the Cold War.


Anthony Eden was less Atlanticist than Churchill and had little time for European federalism.


Anthony Eden wanted firm alliances with France and other Western European powers to contain Germany.


Anthony Eden was irritated by Churchill's hankering for a summit meeting with the Soviet Union in 1953 after Stalin's death.


Anthony Eden became seriously ill from a series of botched bile duct operations in April 1953 that nearly killed him.


Anthony Eden was irked by Dulles's policy of "brinkmanship", the display of muscle, in relations with the communist world.


Anthony Eden was a very popular figure as a result of his long wartime service and his famous good looks and charm.


However, Anthony Eden had never held a domestic portfolio and had little experience in economic matters.


Anthony Eden left these areas to his lieutenants such as Rab Butler, and concentrated largely on foreign policy, forming a close relationship with US President Dwight Eisenhower.


Anthony Eden believed the nationalisation was in violation of the Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1954 that Nasser had signed with the British and French governments on 19 October 1954.


Anthony Eden feared that Nasser intended to form an Arab Alliance that would threaten to cut off oil supplies to Europe and, in conjunction with France, decided he should be removed from power.


Anthony Eden initially considered using British forces in the Kingdom of Libya to regain the Canal, but then decided this risked inflaming Arab opinion.


Unlike the French prime minister Guy Mollet, who saw regaining the Canal as the primary objective, Anthony Eden believed the real need was to remove Nasser from office.


Anthony Eden hoped that if the Egyptian army was swiftly and humiliatingly defeated by the Anglo-French forces the Egyptian people would rise up against Nasser.


Anthony Eden believed that if Nasser were seen to get away with seizing the Canal then Egypt and other Arab countries might move closer to the Soviet Union.


Anthony Eden was energetic during the crisis in using the media, including the BBC, to incite public opinion to support his views of the need to overthrow Nasser.


At the root of the problem was the fact that Anthony Eden felt that Britain was still an independent world power.


Anthony Eden did not see Nasser as a serious threat to the West, but he was concerned that the Soviets, who were well known to want a permanent warm water base for their Black Sea Fleet in the Mediterranean, might side with Egypt.


Anthony Eden, who faced domestic pressure from his party to take action, as well as stopping the decline of British influence in the Middle East, had ignored Britain's financial dependence on the US in the wake of the Second World War, and had assumed the US would automatically endorse whatever action taken by its closest ally.


Anthony Eden was forced to bow to American diplomatic and financial pressure, and protests at home, by calling a ceasefire when Anglo-French forces had captured only 23 of the 120 miles of the canal.


Anthony Eden considered defying the calls until the commander on the ground told him it could take up to six days for the Anglo-French troops to secure the entire Canal zone.


Anthony Eden went on vacation to Jamaica in November 1956, at a time when he was still determined to soldier on as prime minister.


Anthony Eden's health did not improve, and during his absence from London his Chancellor Harold Macmillan and Rab Butler worked to manoeuvre him out of office.


The Observer newspaper accused Anthony Eden of lying to Parliament over the Suez Crisis, while MPs from all parties criticised his calling a ceasefire before the Canal was taken.


Anthony Eden had lost his traditional base of support on the Tory left and amongst moderate opinion nationally, but appears to have hoped to rebuild a new base of support amongst the Tory right.


Anthony Eden wished to make a statement attacking Nasser as a puppet of the Soviets, attacking the United Nations and speaking of the "lessons of the 1930s", but was prevented from doing so by Macmillan, Butler and Lord Salisbury.


Anthony Eden resigned on 9 January 1957, after his doctors warned him his life was at stake if he continued in office.


Thorpe, another of Anthony Eden's biographers, writes that Suez was "a truly tragic end to his premiership, and one that came to assume a disproportionate importance in any assessment of his careers"; he suggests that had the Suez venture succeeded, "there would almost certainly have been no Middle East war in 1967, and probably no Yom Kippur War in 1973 ".


Anthony Eden was a liberal supporter of nationalist ambitions, including over Sudanese independence, and his 1954 Suez Canal Base Agreement, which withdrew British troops from Suez in return for certain guarantees, was negotiated with the Conservative Party against Churchill's wishes.


Rothwell believes that Anthony Eden should have cancelled the Suez Invasion plans in mid-October, when the Anglo-French negotiations at the United Nations were making some headway, and that in 1956 the Arab countries threw away a chance to make peace with Israel on her existing borders.


Anthony Eden resigned from the House of Commons when he stood down as prime minister.


Anthony Eden kept in touch with Lord Salisbury, agreeing with him that Macmillan had been the better choice as prime minister, but sympathising with his resignation over Macmillan's Cyprus policy.


Anthony Eden retained much of his personal popularity in Britain and contemplated returning to Parliament.


Anthony Eden finally gave up such hopes in late 1960 after an exhausting speaking tour of Yorkshire.


Macmillan initially offered to recommend him for a viscountcy, which Anthony Eden assumed to be a calculated insult, and he was granted an earldom after reminding Macmillan that he had already been offered one by the Queen.


Anthony Eden entered the House of Lords as the Earl of Avon in 1961.


Anthony Eden featured frequently in Marcel Ophuls' 1969 documentary Le chagrin et la pitie, discussing the occupation of France in a wider geopolitical context.


Anthony Eden was even accidentally omitted from a list of Conservative prime ministers by Margaret Thatcher when she became Conservative leader in 1975, although she later went out of her way to establish relations with Lord Avon, and later, his widow.


Between 1946 and 1950, whilst separated from his wife, Anthony Eden conducted an open affair with Dorothy, Countess Beatty, the wife of David, Earl Beatty.


Anthony Eden was the great-great-grandnephew of author Emily Anthony Eden and in 1947, wrote an introduction to her novel The Semi-Attached Couple.


Anthony Eden had a stomach ulcer, exacerbated by overwork, as early as the 1920s.


Anthony Eden had gallstones, requiring surgery to remove the gallbladder.


Three surgeons were recommended and Anthony Eden chose the one that had previously performed his appendectomy, John Basil Hume, surgeon from St Bartholomew's Hospital.


Anthony Eden was re-operated in London in an attempt to correct the injury with placement of a surgical drain.


Anthony Eden suffered further with symptoms of biliary obstruction and required further revisional surgery on three more occasions in Boston, Massachusetts to treat recurrent stricturing of the right hepatic duct.


Anthony Eden was prescribed Benzedrine, the wonder drug of the 1950s.


However, in his book The Suez Affair, historian Hugh Thomas, quoted by David Owen, claimed that Anthony Eden had revealed to a colleague that he was "practically living on Benzedrine" at the time.


In December 1976, Lord Avon, as Anthony Eden now was, felt well enough to travel with his wife to the United States to spend Christmas and New Year with Averell and Pamela Harriman; however, after reaching the States, his health rapidly deteriorated.


Avon's surviving son, Nicholas Anthony Eden, 2nd Earl of Avon, known as Viscount Anthony Eden from 1961 to 1977, was a politician and a minister in the Margaret Thatcher government until his death from AIDS at the age of 54.


Sir Oswald Mosley, for example, said he never understood why Anthony Eden was so strongly pushed by the Tory party, as he felt that Anthony Eden's abilities were very much inferior to those of Harold Macmillan and Oliver Stanley.


In contrast, Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev commented that until his Suez adventure Anthony Eden had been "in the top world class".


Anthony Eden was heavily influenced by Stanley Baldwin when he first entered Parliament.


That was deliberate since Anthony Eden often struck out original phrases from speech drafts and replaced them with cliches.


Anthony Eden is known to have been much more direct in meeting with his secretaries and advisers than in cabinet meetings and public speeches and sometimes tended to become enraged and behave "like a child", only to regain his temper within a few minutes.


Anthony Eden was notoriously "unclubbable" and offended Churchill by declining to join The Other Club.


However, he maintained friendly relations with Opposition MPs; for example, George Thomas received a kind two-page letter from Anthony Eden on learning that his stepfather had died.


Anthony Eden was a Trustee of the National Gallery between 1935 and 1949.


Anthony Eden had a deep knowledge of Persian poetry and of Shakespeare and would bond with anybody who could display similar knowledge.


Rothwell wrote that although Anthony Eden was capable of acting with ruthlessness, for instance over the repatriation of the Cossacks in 1945, his main concern was to avoid being seen as "an appeaser", such as over the Soviet reluctance to accept a democratic Poland in October 1944.