Arthur Christopher John Soames, Baron Soames, British Conservative politician who served as a European Commissioner and the last Governor of Southern Rhodesia. He was previously Member of Parliament (MP) for Bedford from 1950 to 1966. He held several government posts and attained Cabinet rank.(12 October 1920 – 16 September 1987) was a
The Lord Soames
Soames in 1966
|Governor of Southern Rhodesia|
11 December 1979 – 18 April 1980
|Succeeded by||Canaan Banana[nb 2]|
|Member of the House of Lords|
19 April 1978 – 16 September 1987
|Member of Parliament|
23 February 1950 – 10 March 1966
|Preceded by||Tom Skeffington-Lodge|
|Succeeded by||Brian Parkyn|
Arthur Christopher John Soames
12 October 1920
Penn, Buckinghamshire, England
|Died||16 September 1987 (aged 66)|
Odiham, Hampshire, England
|Resting place||St Martin's Church, Bladon|
|Relations||Winston Churchill (father‑in‑law)|
|Children||5; including Sir Nicholas, Emma and Rupert|
|Parents||Arthur Granville Soames (father)|
|Alma mater||Royal Military College, Sandhurst|
Early life and educationEdit
Soames was born in Penn, Buckinghamshire, England, the son of Captain Arthur Granville Soames (the brother of Olave Baden-Powell, World Chief Guide, both descendants of a brewing family which had joined the landed gentry) by his marriage to Hope Mary Woodbine Parish. His parents divorced while he was a boy, and his mother married as her second husband Charles Rhys (later 8th Baron Dynevor), by whom she had further children including Richard Rhys, 9th Baron Dynevor.
After military service during the Second World War, Soames served as the Assistant Military Attaché in Paris. He was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Bedford from 1950 to 1966 and served under Sir Anthony Eden as Under-Secretary of State for Air from 1955 to 1957 and under Harold Macmillan as Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty from 1957 to 1958. In the 1955 Birthday Honours he was invested as Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
In 1958 he was admitted to the Privy Council. He served under Macmillan as Secretary of State for War (outside the Cabinet) from 1958 to 1960 and then in the Cabinets of Macmillan and his successor Sir Alec Douglas-Home as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from July 1960 to 1964. Home had promised to promote him to Foreign Secretary if the Conservatives won the 1964 election, but they did not.
Between 1965 and 1966, Soames was Shadow Foreign Secretary under Edward Heath. He lost his seat in Parliament in the 1966 general election. In 1968 Harold Wilson appointed him Ambassador to France, where he served until 1972. During his tenure as ambassador, he was involved in the February 1969 "Soames affair", following a private meeting between Soames and French president Charles De Gaulle, the latter offering bilateral talks concerning partnership for Britain in a larger and looser European Union, the talks not involving other members. An offer the British government eventually refused and that for a time strained Franco-British relations. He was then a Vice-President of the European Commission from 1973 to 1976. He was created a life peer on 19 April 1978 as Baron Soames, of Fletching in the County of East Sussex.
He served as the interim Governor of Southern Rhodesia from 1979 to 1980, charged with administering the terms of the Lancaster House Agreement and overseeing its governmental transition into Zimbabwe. From 1979 to 1981, he was Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords under Margaret Thatcher, concurrent with his duties in Rhodesia.
In date order:
- Croix de Guerre 1939–1945 (France) – 1942
- Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) (Civil division) – 1955
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) – 1972
- Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) – 1972
- Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour (France) – 1972
- Robert Schuman Prize – 1976
- Companion of Honour (CH) – 1980
- Sir Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames (b. 12 February 1948), former Conservative and independent member of Parliament, former Shadow Secretary of State for Defence;
- Emma Mary Soames (b. 6 September 1949), editor of Saga magazine;
- Jeremy Bernard Soames (b. 25 May 1952);
- Charlotte Clementine Soames, the Countess Peel (b. 17 July 1954), married to the Earl Peel, the Lord Chamberlain;
- Rupert Christopher Soames (b. 18 May 1959).
- "The Papers of Baron Soames". Janus Library, Cambridge. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "No. 40497". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 June 1955. p. 3269.
- Jago 2015, p.401
- "No. 44723". The London Gazette. 26 November 1968. p. 12676.
- "No. 45876". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 January 1973. p. 480.
- "No. 47519". The London Gazette. 24 April 1978. p. 4731.
- Mosley, Nicholas (editor) (1982). Debrett's Handbook 1982, Distinguished People in British Life. Debrett's Peerage Limited. p. 1435. ISBN 0-905649-38-9.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- "No. 45713". The London Gazette. 27 June 1972. p. 7689.
- "No. 45554". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1972. p. 4.
- The Papers of Baron Soames – Website Janus
- "No. 48212". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1980. p. 5.
- Debrett's Peerage. 1985.
- Jago, Michael Rab Butler: The Best Prime Minister We Never Had?, Biteback Publishing 2015 ISBN 978-1849549202
- Stevan Pavlowitch, Apologising for the Empire, Oxford University Press, England (1996)
- Claire Sanderson, Perfide Albion ? L’affaire Soames et les arcanes de la diplomatie britannique, Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Christopher Soames.|
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Christopher Soames
- Portraits of Christopher Soames at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- Time:Festive Birth of a Nation (Zimbabwe)
- Maximilian Genealogy Master Database 2000
- Nicholas Soames – MP for Mid Sussex