Christopher Soames, Baron Soames

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Christopher John Soames

Birthdate: (66)
Birthplace: Ashwell Manor, Penn, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: September 16, 1987 (66)
N E Hants, England (pancreatitis)
Place of Burial: St Martin Churchyard, Oxfordshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Captain Arthur Granville Soames and Hope Mary Woodbine Rhys
Husband of Mary Soames, Baroness Soames
Father of Sir Nicholas Soames; <private> Soames; <private> Soames; <private> Peel (Soames); Rupert Christopher Soames and 1 other
Brother of Diana Katherine Cairns and <private> Soames
Half brother of Richard Charles Uryan Rhys, 9th Baron Dynevor

Occupation: Politician
Managed by: Vance Barrett Mathis
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Christopher Soames, Baron Soames

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  • Lord Soames was a British politician belonging to the Conservative Party and the son-in-law of Winston Churchill. A European Commissioner and the last Governor of Southern Rhodesia, he had previously been the longtime Member of Parliament for Bedford from 1950 to 1966. He held several government posts and attained Cabinet rank.

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 the 8th Baron Dynevor (a descendant of the 1st and last Earl Talbot), by whom she had further children including Richard Rhys, 9th Baron Dynevor.

Education Soames was educated at West Downs School, Eton College, and RMC Sandhurst.

Political career After military service in 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. In 1972 Soames was subsequently made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO), a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG),[7] and a Grand Officer of the French Legion d'Honneur. 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 1980 he was invested as a Companion of Honour.

Family Lord Soames married Mary Churchill, the youngest child of Winston Churchill and Clementine Hozier, on 11 February 1947. They had five children:

The Rt Hon. Sir Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames (b. 12 February 1948) – Conservative Member of Parliament and former Shadow Secretary of State for Defence The Hon. Emma Mary Soames (b. 6 September 1949) – editor of Saga magazine The Hon. Jeremy Bernard Soames (b. 25 May 1952) The Hon. Charlotte Clementine Soames, the Countess Peel (b. 17 July 1954), is married to The Earl Peel, the Lord Chamberlain The Hon. Rupert Christopher Soames (b. 18 May 1959). Death[edit] Lord Soames died from pancreatitis, aged 66. His ashes were buried within the Churchill plot at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

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Christopher Soames, Baron Soames's Timeline

October 12, 1920
Penn, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
February 12, 1948
Age 27
Croydon, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
May 18, 1959
Age 38
Croydon, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
September 16, 1987
Age 66
N E Hants, England
St Martin Churchyard, Oxfordshire, England