Geoffrey FitzClarence, 5th Earl of Munster

The family's estate in the Greensand Ridge in the parish of Bletchingley in Surrey, the reduced modern county which is south and south-west of London

Geoffrey William Richard Hugh FitzClarence, 5th Earl of Munster, KBE, PC (17 February 1906 – 26 August 1975) was a British peer and Conservative politician.


Munster was the son of Major the Honourable Harold Edward FitzClarence, seventh son of William FitzClarence, 2nd Earl of Munster, and his wife, Frances Isabel Eleanor (née Keppel) (1874–1951), whose paternal grandfather, Rev. William Arnold Walpole Keppel, was a male-line great-grandson of Willem van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle.[1] Munster was educated at Charterhouse School. The 2nd Earl was the son of George FitzClarence, 1st Earl of Munster, the eldest illegitimate child of William IV of the United Kingdom and his mistress Dorothea Jordan.

Political careerEdit

Munster succeeded his uncle as fifth Earl of Munster in 1928 and took his seat on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords. In 1934 he was appointed a Lord-in-waiting (government whip in the House of Lords) in the National Government of Ramsay MacDonald, a post he held until 1938, the last three years under the premiership firstly of Stanley Baldwin and secondly of Neville Chamberlain. In June 1938 Chamberlain appointed Munster Paymaster-General, an office he held until January 1939, when he was made Under-Secretary of State for War. He remained in this position until September 1939.[citation needed]

Munster returned to the government in January 1943 when Winston Churchill appointed him Parliamentary Secretary for India and Burma, a post he held until October 1944, and then served as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department until July 1945 when Labour came to power. When Churchill became Prime Minister for a second time in 1951 Munster was appointed Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, an office he retained until 1954, and was then Minister without Portfolio between 1954 and 1957. In 1954 he was admitted to the Privy Council.


Apart from his political career, Lord Munster was also Lord Lieutenant of Surrey from 1957 to 1973. In 1957 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Lord Munster married Hilary Wilson in 1928. Lord Munster died in August 1975, aged 69, and was succeeded in his titles by his second cousin, Edward Charles FitzClarence, 6th Earl of Munster.

Hilary, Lady Munster, was an accomplished musician who, in 1958, founded the Countess of Munster Musical Trust; she died in 1979 just as her husband living at Sandhills, Bletchingley. Her estate was sworn for probate as £799,392 (equivalent to £4,100,000 in 2019). The house which had at the time more than 10 acres was built in 1893 by Mervyn Macartney in free Tudor style and is protected under UK law with Grade II listing.[3][4][5]



  1. ^ Frances Isabel Eleanor Keppel
  2. ^ London Gazette, 13 June 1957, page 3377
  3. ^ "History of the Trust". Countess of Munster Musical Trust. Archived from the original on 12 August 2013.
  4. ^ England and Wales Probate Calendar for 1980 page 6170
  5. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1204642)". National Heritage List for England.


  • Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990,[page needed]

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Templemore
Succeeded by
The Earl of Birkenhead
Preceded by
The Lord Hutchison of Montrose
Succeeded by
The Earl Winterton
Preceded by
The Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal
Under-Secretary of State for War
Succeeded by
The Viscount Cobham
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Parliamentary Secretary for India and Burma
Succeeded by
The Earl of Listowel
Preceded by
Osbert Peake
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
Succeeded by
George Oliver
Preceded by
Thomas Fotheringham-Cook
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
The Lord Lloyd
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Robert Haining
Lord Lieutenant of Surrey
Succeeded by
The Lord Hamilton of Dalzell
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Aubrey FitzClarence
Earl of Munster
Succeeded by
Edward FitzClarence