Henry Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort

His Grace
The Duke of Beaufort
Master of the Horse
In office
26 February 1858  11 June 1859
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Derby
Preceded by The Duke of Wellington
Succeeded by The Marquess of Ailesbury
In office
June 1866  1 December 1868
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Derby
Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by The Marquess of Ailesbury
Succeeded by The Marquess of Ailesbury
Personal details
Born 1 February 1824 (1824-02)
Died 30 April 1899 (1899-05-01) (aged 75)
Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Georgiana Curzon (1825–1906)

Captain Henry Charles FitzRoy Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort KG, PC, DL (1 February 1824 – 30 April 1899), styled Earl of Glamorgan until 1835 and Marquess of Worcester from 1835 to 1853,[1] was a British peer, soldier and Conservative Party politician. He served as Master of the Horse between 1858 and 1859 and again between 1866 and 1868.

Background and education

Born at Paris, he was the only son of Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort by his second wife Emily Frances, daughter of Charles Culling Smith and his wife Lady Anne Wellesley.[2] He was educated at Eton College.[3]

Military career

Beaufort was commissioned a Cornet and Sublieutenant in the 1st Life Guards on 17 August 1841. From 1842 to 1852, he was an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington, then Commander-in-Chief of the Forces[2] (Beaufort's father had also been Wellington's aide-de-camp during the Peninsular War). He was promoted lieutenant on 7 July 1843. On 13 August 1847, he purchased a captaincy in the 7th Hussars.[4]

On 15 June 1852, Beaufort was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and after the death of Wellington in September, he continued to serve as aide-de-camp to the new Commander-in-Chief, Viscount Hardinge, until the latter's death in 1856.[2]

On 21 April 1854, Beaufort purchased a commission as an unattached major,[5] and on 5 May, he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the Royal Gloucestershire Yeomanry, replacing his late father.[6] During this time it was proposed to start "a cattle show" in Monmouth, and in 1857 Beaufort and John Etherington Welch Rolls each put money into a fund to start the show. Rolls was the greater financial contributor and he became President of the show.[7] This cattle show is now known as the Monmouthshire Show.

Beaufort was breveted lieutenant colonel on 26 October 1858,[8] but sold his commission and left the Army on 11 June 1861.[9] On 16 September 1863, he was made a deputy lieutenant of Monmouthshire. He was also appointed Honorary Colonel of the 1st Gloucestershire Engineer Volunteers on 20 November 1867. On 29 April 1874, he resigned the lieutenant-colonelcy of the Gloucestershire Yeomanry and became Honorary Colonel of the regiment.[10] He resigned that commission on 2 July 1887.[11] He also resigned the honorary colonelcy of the 1st Gloucestershire Engineer Volunteers on 2 December 1888.[12]

Political career

In 1846, Beaufort was returned as a Member of Parliament (MP) for East Gloucestershire, holding the seat until succeeding his father in the dukedom in November 1853. He was appointed Master of the Horse on 26 February 1858, as part of Lord Derby's second government and was made a Privy Counsellor the same day. He left office in 1859, when Derby's ministry fell.[1] Beaufort was again appointed Master of the Horse in Derby's third government in 1866. On 19 March 1867, he was made a Knight of the Garter and appointed Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire later that year. He lost the Mastership of the Horse in 1868 when the government fell, but remained Lord Lieutenant for the remainder of his life.[1]

Beaufort conceived and planned the Badminton Library series of sporting books, the publication of which began in 1885 with a volume on Hunting,[13] and acted as its overseeing editor.


Beaufort married Lady Georgiana Charlotte Curzon (29 September 1825 – 14 May 1906), daughter of Richard Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe, on 3 July 1845. They had five children:

Somerset died in 1899, aged 75 at Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire, from gout and was buried on 5 May 1899 at St Michael and All Angels Church, Badminton.



  1. 1 2 3 Doyle, James E. (1886). The Official Baronage of England. Vol. I. Longmans, Green and Co. p. 139. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. p. 110.
  3. thepeerage.com Henry Charles FitzRoy Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort
  4. The London Gazette: no. 20764. p. 2953. 13 August 1847. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 21545. p. 1253. 21 April 1854. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 21550. p. 1404. 5 May 1854. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  7. "Monmouthshire Show History". Monmouthshire Show. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 22199. p. 4789. 12 November 1858. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 22519. p. 2449. 11 June 1861. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 24090. p. 2300. 28 April 1874. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 25717. p. 3563. 1 July 1887. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 25768. p. 7067. 20 December 1887. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  13. His Grace the Duke of, Beaufort; Morris, K.G.; Morris, Mowbray (1885). Hunting. Boston: Little Brown. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Henry Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Christopher Codrington
Hon. Francis Charteris
Member of Parliament for East Gloucestershire
With: Sir Christopher Codrington
Succeeded by
Sir Christopher Codrington
Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Wellington
Master of the Horse
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Ailesbury
Preceded by
The Marquess of Ailesbury
Master of the Horse
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Llanover
Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire
Succeeded by
The Lord Tredegar
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Henry Somerset
Duke of Beaufort
Succeeded by
Henry Somerset
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