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Canting arms of Fox, Baron Holland: Ermine, on a chevron azure three fox's heads and necks erased or on a canton of the second a fleur-de-lys of the third
Monument to Henry Fox, 4th Baron Holland, San Giuseppe a Chiaia Church, Naples

Henry Edward Fox, 4th Baron Holland of Holland, 4th Baron Holland of Foxley, MP (7 May 1802 – 18 December 1859), was briefly a British Whig politician and later an ambassador.

Early lifeEdit

Fox was born at Holland House, London, the eldest legitimate child of the 3rd Baron Holland and his wife, Elizabeth Vassall, and was educated at Christ Church, Oxford.[1]


Selections from the entertaining journal he kept from 1818 to 1830 were published in 1923, edited by his cousin and eventual heir Lord Ilchester (The Journal of the Hon. Henry Edward Fox). In it, he records his life in British high society and his travels, his encounters with such notables as Talleyrand, Samuel Rodgers, Sydney Smith and Lord Byron (and Byron's mistress, Teresa Guiccioli, with whom Fox had an affair which he recounts in some detail).

He briefly held the seat of Horsham from 1826 to 1827 before joining the Diplomatic Service in 1831, after which he was Secretary to the Legation at Turin from 1832 to 1835, Attaché at St Petersburg, Secretary at the Embassy in Vienna from 1835 1838, to the German Confederation in 1838, and to Florence from 1839 to 1846.[1]

Marriage and progenyEdit

On 9 May 1833 he married Lady Mary Augusta Coventry (11 May 1812 – 23 September 1889), a daughter of George Coventry, 8th Earl of Coventry, by whom he three children, who all died as infants:[2]

  • Stillborn son (10 October 1838).
  • A son (born and died 7 March 1842).
  • Stillborn daughter (8 August 1844).

Adopted daughterEdit

Unable to have surviving offspring, they adopted a 3 month old girl born in France, Marie Fox,[1] later Princess of Liechtenstein, the wife of Prince Louis of Liechtenstein. Her mother's name was given as Frenchwoman Victoire Magny of Soissons, but the identity of her father was unspecified.[1][3][4] She was baptised at the Church of St. Augustine as Marie Henriette Adélaïde.[3] When she was three months old, she was found by a physician called Dr. Séguin, who arranged for her to be adopted by Henry Edward Fox, 4th Baron Holland, and his wife, the former Lady Mary Augusta Coventry.[4] Lord and Lady Holland had no biological children of their own, having gone through two stillbirths[1] and one short-lived child. Lady Holland was in her late thirties and Lord Holland insisted on adopting the girl.[4][5] Her biological paternity remains a mystery; one rumour had it that she was her adoptive father's biological daughter born by his servant.[4] She wrote a two-volume history of Holland House, published in 1874.

As Lord Holland died without male issue, in Naples, his titles became extinct.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Fox, Hon. Henry Edward". 2004. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  2. ^ The peerage and baronetage of the british empire as at present existing arranged and printed..., 1859, p. 307. [retrieved 6 December 2014].
  3. ^ a b Ilchester, 6th Earl of (1937). Chronicles of Holland House: 1820–1900. John Murray.
  4. ^ a b c d Bryant, Barbara (2004). G.F. Watts portraits: fame & beauty in Victorian society. National Portrait Gallery. ISBN 185514347X.
  5. ^ "Fox, Henry Edward". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.

External linksEdit