Snow Eden Biography & Facts
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, (12 June 1897 – 14 January 1977), was a British Conservative politician who served three periods as Foreign Secretary and then as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1955 to 1957.
Achieving rapid promotion as a young Conservative Member of Parliament, he became Foreign Secretary aged 38, before resigning in protest at Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy towards Mussolini's Italy. He again held that position for most of the Second World War, and a third time in the early 1950s. Having been deputy to Winston Churchill for almost 15 years, Eden succeeded him as the Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister in April 1955, and a month later won a general election.
Eden's reputation was overshadowed in 1956 when the United States refused to support the Anglo-French military response to the Suez Crisis, which critics across party lines regarded as a historic setback for British foreign policy, signalling the end of British predominance in the Middle East. Most historians argue that he made a series of blunders, especially not realising the depth of American opposition to military action. Two months after ordering an end to the Suez operation, he resigned as prime minister on grounds of ill health and because he was widely suspected of having misled the House of Commons over the degree of collusion with France and Israel.Eden is generally ranked among the least successful British prime ministers of the 20th century, although two broadly sympathetic biographies (in 1986 and 2003) have gone some way to shifting the balance of opinion. Biographer D. R. Thorpe described the Suez Crisis as "a truly tragic end to his premiership, and one that came to assume a disproportionate importance in any assessment of his career."
Eden was born on 12 June 1897 at Windlestone Hall, County Durham, into a conservative family of landed gentry. He 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. Sir William was a former colonel and local magistrate from an old titled family. An eccentric and often foul-tempered man, he was a talented watercolourist, portraitist and collector of Impressionists. 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. Although she was a popular figure locally, she had a strained relationship with her children, and her profligacy ruined the family fortunes, meaning Eden's elder brother Tim had to sell Windlestone in 1936. Referring to his parentage, Rab Butler would later quip that Anthony Eden— a handsome but ill-tempered man— was "half mad baronet, half beautiful woman".Eden's great-grandfather was William Iremonger, who commanded the 2nd Regiment of Foot during the Peninsular War and fought under Wellington (as he became) at Vimeiro. He was also 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 (including the Dukes of Norfolk), as well as Anglican families including as the earls of Carlisle, Effingham and Suffolk. The Calverts had converted to the Established Church early in the 18th century to regain the proprietorship of Maryland. He also had some Danish (the Schaffalitzky de Muckadell family) and Norwegian (the Bie family) descent. 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.There was speculation for many years that Eden's biological father was the politician and man of letters George Wyndham, but this is considered impossible as Wyndham was in South Africa at the time of Eden's conception. Eden's mother was rumoured to have had an affair with Wyndham. His mother and Wyndham exchanged affectionate communications in 1896 but Wyndham was an infrequent visitor to Windlestone and probably did not reciprocate Sybil's feelings. Eden was amused by the rumours but, according to his biographer Rhodes James, probably did not believe them. He did not resemble his siblings, but his father Sir William attributed this to his being "a Grey, not an Eden".Eden had an elder brother, John, who was killed in action in 1914, and a younger brother, Nicholas, who was killed when the battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable blew up and sank at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
Eden was educated at two independent schools. He attended Sandroyd School in Cobham from 1907 to 1910, where he excelled in languages. He then started at Eton College in January 1911. There, he won a Divinity prize and excelled at cricket, rugby and rowing, winning House colours in the last.Eden learned French and German on continental holidays and, as a child, is said to have spoken French better than English. Although Eden was able to converse with Hitler in German in February 1934 and with Chinese Premier Chou En-lai in French at Geneva in 1954, he preferred, out of a sense of professionalism, to have interpreters translate at formal meetings.Although Eden later claimed to have had no interest in politics until the early 1920s, his biographer writes that his teenage letters and diaries "only really come to life" when discussing the subject. He 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. He 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. By 1914 he was a member of the Eton Society ("Pop").
First World War
During the First World War, Eden's elder brother, Lieutenant John Eden, was killed in action on 17 October 1914, at the age of 26, while serving with the 12th (Prince of Wales's Royal) Lancers. He is buried in Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Belgium. His uncle Robin was later shot down and captured whilst serving with the Royal Flying Corps.Volunteering for service in the British Army, like many others of his generation, Eden served with the 21st (Yeoman Rifles) Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC), 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. He was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant on 2 November 1915 (antedated to 29 September 1915). His battalion transferred to the Western Front on 4 May 1916 as part of the 41st Division. On 31 May 1916, Eden's younger brother, Midshipman William Nicholas Eden, was killed in action, aged 16, on board HMS Indefatigable during the Battle of Ju.... Discover the Snow Eden popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Snow Eden books.