Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy

Edmund Maurice Burke Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy (15 May 1885 – 8 July 1955) was a British Conservative Party politician who held a title in the Peerage of Ireland. He was the maternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Lord Fermoy
Member of Parliament for King's Lynn
In office
Preceded bySomerset Maxwell
Succeeded byFrederick Wise
In office
Preceded byGeorge Woodwark
Succeeded bySomerset Maxwell
Personal details
Edmund Maurice Burke Roche

(1885-05-15)15 May 1885
Chelsea, London
Died8 July 1955(1955-07-08) (aged 70)
(m. 1931)
RelativesDiana, Princess of Wales (granddaughter)
Alma materHarvard University
Known forMaternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales

Early life edit

Roche was born on 15 May 1885 in Chelsea, London.[1] He was the elder of twin sons of the Hon. James Roche (later 3rd Baron Fermoy) and his American wife, Frances Ellen Work.[2] The Roches separated in December 1886, with James Roche agreeing to relinquish custody of his sons to his wife's father, multi-millionaire stockbroker Frank Work, in exchange for Work paying Roche's debts.[3] From his parents' marriage, he had an elder sister, Cynthia Roche (who married Arthur Scott Burden and, after his death, Guy Fairfax Cary).[4]

He was educated at Harvard University and graduated in 1909.[5] As a condition of their inheritance, Work stipulated that Maurice and his twin brother Francis "shall assume and retain the name 'Work' in place of the name 'Roche'", and must not travel to Europe or marry a European; Maurice ignored the edicts.[6] Roche returned to England on succeeding to his father's Irish peerage in 1920.[7] He was a naturalized American citizen, but resumed British nationality following his succession to the title.[5]

Career edit

He rented Park House at Sandringham, Norfolk, from the royal family. At the 1924 general election, he contested and won the local parliamentary constituency, King's Lynn, holding the seat until he stood down at the 1935 general election.[7] He was also elected the town's mayor in 1931.[8]

Later life edit

Lord Fermoy joined the Royal Air Force in 1939 at the start of World War II, but when the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for King's Lynn was killed on active service in 1943, he resigned his commission and stood for re-election.[9] He retired from politics when Parliament was dissolved for the 1945 general election.[7]

Lord Fermoy was a member of the shooting party organized by King George VI on 5 February 1952, on the grounds of Sandringham, which was the King's last full day alive.[10]

Personal life edit

On 17 September 1931, Lord Fermoy married Ruth Sylvia Gill at St. Devenick's, Bieldside, Aberdeenshire with a reception held at Dalhebity.[11] Ruth was the youngest daughter of Ruth (née Littlejohn) Gill and Col. William Smith Gill[1] Before his death, they were the parents of three children:

Lord Fermoy collapsed in a shop at King's Lynn, Norfolk, in June 1955 and died three weeks later.[7] He was succeeded by his only son, Edmund. Lord Fermoy is buried in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham.

Legacy edit

His life was the subject of the book Lilac Days, by Gavan Naden and Maxine Riddington (HarperCollins (ISBN 0-00-719863-9)), where it was claimed he had a 30-year affair with an American, Edith Travis.

References edit

  1. ^ a b Williamson, D The Ancestry of Lady Diana Spencer In: Genealogist's Magazine, 1981; vol. 20 (no. 6) p. 192–199 and vol. 20 (no. 8) p. 281–282
  2. ^ "MRS.BURKE ROCHE DEAD HERE AT 90; Society Notable, Daughter of Frank Work, Banker--Former Wife of Third Baron Fermoy". The New York Times. 27 January 1947. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  3. ^ Million Dollar American Princesses "Cash for Class" Smithsonian Channel (at 43:00) (4 January 2015) Retrieved 24 January 2019
  4. ^ Times, Special to The New York (6 August 1923). "BARON FERMOY IN NEWPORT; Former E.M. Burke-Roche's First Visit Since He Inherited Title". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Queen heads lists guests at wedding". The Montreal Gazette. Montreal. 1 June 1954. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  6. ^ Million Dollar American Princesses "Cash for Class" Smithsonian Channel (at 43:41) (4 January 2015) Retrieved 24 January 2019
  7. ^ a b c d The Times, 9 July 1955; p. 8 col. D
  8. ^ The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "BARON FERMOY ELECTED; Chosen British M.P. -- Churchill Backs Commentator". The New York Times. 14 February 1943. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  10. ^ A. Michie, God Save The Queen, Wm. Sloane & Associates, p. 202 (1952).
  11. ^ TIMES, Wireless to THE NEW YORK (18 September 1931). "LORD FERMOY MARRIES MISS RUTH SYLVIA GILL; Grandson of New Yorker and British M.P. Weds in Scottish Church of Bride's Family". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  12. ^ York, Special to The New (26 November 1954). "MARY BURKE-ROCHE WED; Queen Mother at Marriage to Anthony Berry, Kemsley Son". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  13. ^ "Earl Spencer pays tribute to his 'enormously fun' aunt Mary with poignant photos following her funeral". Tatler. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  14. ^ Borders, William; Times, Special To the New York (25 February 1981). "PRINCE CHARLES TO WED 19-YEAR-OLD FAMILY FRIEND". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  15. ^ "Lord Fermoy Shoots Himself; Uncle of Princess of Wales". The New York Times. 20 August 1984. Retrieved 20 March 2023.

External links edit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for King's Lynn
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for King's Lynn
Succeeded by
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Baron Fermoy
Succeeded by