Frederick Smith, 2nd Earl of Birkenhead

Frederick Winston Furneaux Smith, 2nd Earl of Birkenhead (7 December 1907 – 10 June 1975) was a British historian. He is best known for writing a controversial biography of Rudyard Kipling that was suppressed by the Kipling family for many years, and which he never lived to see in print. The son of F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead, he was known as Viscount Furneaux from 1922, when his father, then 1st Viscount Birkenhead, was created Earl of Birkenhead. Lord Furneaux was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford and inherited his father's peerages in 1930.[citation needed]

The Earl of Birkenhead
Frederick Smith, 2nd Earl of Birkenhead.jpg
Government Whip
In office
5 November 1951 – 28 January 1955
MonarchGeorge VI
Elizabeth II
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThe Lord Burden
Succeeded byThe Lord Chesham
In office
12 July 1938 – 10 May 1940
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Preceded byThe Earl of Munster
Succeeded byThe Viscount Clifden
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
30 September 1930 – 10 June 1975
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 1st Earl of Birkenhead
Succeeded byThe 3rd Earl of Birkenhead
Personal details
Born7 December 1907
Died10 June 1975
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Sheila Berry (1913 - 1992)
EducationEton College
Christ Church, Oxford

In 1935 he married The Hon Sheila Berry (1913-1992), second daughter of the 1st Viscount Camrose. The couple had a son, Frederick William Robin Smith, 3rd Earl of Birkenhead, in 1936 and a daughter, Lady Juliet Margaret Smith (later Lady Juliet Townsend), in 1941. Lady Juliet served as Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret from 1965 to 2002; her daughter Eleanor Townsend is a god-child of the Princess.[1] Lady Juliet was made a Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (DCVO) in the 2014 Birthday Honours having previously received the LVO in 1981 and was Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire from 1998 to 2014.[2] She died on 29 November 2014.[3]

For the first three years of the Second War, Lord Birkenhead served with a Territorial Army Anti-Tank unit. Following a course at the Staff College, Camberley, Major 'Freddy' Birkenhead was assigned to the Foreign Office's Political Intelligence Department, popularly known as the Political Warfare Executive, or PWE for short. He saw action in Croatia, as second-in-command of a sub-mission headed by Randolph Churchill, under Brigadier Fitzroy Maclean's 37th Military Mission, which included Evelyn Waugh. As a result, he plays a prominent role in Waugh's diaries.

Lord Birkenhead served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Halifax (1938–39), and as Lord-in-waiting to King George VI (1938–40 and 1951–52) and Queen Elizabeth II (1952–55).


  • F.E.: The Life of F.E. Smith, first Earl of Birkenhead" (London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1960).
  • Furneaux-Smith, F. (1961). The Professor and the Prime Minister: The Official Life of Professor F. A. Lindemann Viscount Cherwell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Frederick Edwin Earl of Birkenhead (1933 and 1936)
  • Strafford (Hutchinson & Co. Ltd, 1938)
  • Lady Eleanor Smith: a memoir (1953)
  • Life of Lord Halifax (1965)
  • The life of Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (1969)
  • Rudyard Kipling (1978) ISBN 978-0297775355


Coat of arms of Frederick Smith, 2nd Earl of Birkenhead
A cubit arm couped fessways vested Gules cuffed Argent the hand Proper grasping a sword erect also Argent pommel and hilt Or.
Ermine on a pale Gules between four cross crosslets of the second a like cross Or.
Dexter a griffin Or wings per fess Or and Sable, sinister a lion Azure charged on the shoulder with a crozier Or.
Faber Meæ Fortunæ [4]


  1. ^ Genealogy site Archived 2 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 3 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Birthday Honours lists 2014". Honours. HM Government. 14 June 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  3. ^ The Daily Telegraph, Obituary, 4 December 2014
  4. ^ Burke's Peerage. 1959.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Munster
1938 – 1940
Succeeded by
New government
Preceded by
New government
1951 – 1955
Succeeded by
The Lord Chesham
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
F. E. Smith
Earl of Birkenhead
1930 – 1975
Succeeded by
Frederick Smith