Francis Douglas, 1st Baron Kelhead, Viscount Drumlanrig

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Francis Douglas, 1st Baron Kelhead, Viscount Drumlanrig

Birthdate: (27)
Death: 1894 (26) (Hunting accident, suicide, or homicide.)
Immediate Family:

Son of John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry and Sibyl Douglas
Partner of Prime Minister Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery
Brother of Percy Sholto Douglas, 10th Marquess of Queensberry; Lord Alfred Douglas; Lord Sholto George Douglas and Lady Gertrude Edith Fox-Pitt

Occupation: Viscount Drumlanrig
Managed by: Ric Dickinson
Last Updated:

About Francis Douglas, 1st Baron Kelhead, Viscount Drumlanrig,_Viscount_Drumlanrig

Francis Archibald Douglas, Viscount Drumlanrig (3 February 1867 – 19 October 1894), also 1st Baron Kelhead in his own right, was a Scottish nobleman and Liberal politician.

Background and education

Drumlanrig was the eldest son of John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, by his first wife Sibyl, daughter of Alfred Montgomery. As the heir apparent of the Marquess, he used the courtesy title Viscount Drumlanrig from 1856 until his death. He was educated at Harrow.

Political career

Drumlanrig later served as private secretary to the Liberal politician Lord Rosebery. Owing to Rosebery's patronage, on 22 June 1893 he was created Baron Kelhead, of Kelhead in the County of Dumfries, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[2] This gave him his own seat in the House of Lords, unlike his father, whose titles were all in the Peerage of Scotland. In July 1893 he was appointed a Lord-in-Waiting by Rosebery.

Lord Queensberry had served in Parliament from 1872 to 1880 as a representative peer, but in 1880 he refused, as an atheist, to take the religious oath of allegiance to the Queen. He was not allowed to take his seat and was never again chosen as representative peer by the Scottish nobles. Drumlanrig's accession to Parliament as the 1st Baron Kelhead precipitated a bitter dispute between him and Queensberry, and also between Queensberry and Rosebery, who became Prime Minister in 1894.

Personal life

On October 18, 1894, eighteen months after his ennoblement, Drumlanrig died in what may have been a hunting accident, suicide, or homicide. He was unmarried and his younger brother Lord Percy Douglas became heir to his father's titles. It was speculated at the time, and evidence suggests that Drumlanrig may have had a homosexual relationship with Rosebery. It has been further suggested that Queensberry had threatened to expose the Prime Minister's supposed proclivities if his government did not vigorously prosecute Oscar Wilde for Wilde's relationship with Drumlanrig's younger brother, Lord Alfred Douglas. Rosebery was, by most accounts, happily married until the death of his wife in 1890, though gossip that Rosebery was homosexual or bisexual was indeed widespread. Queensberry believed, as he put it to Lord Alfred in a letter, that "Snob Queers like Rosebery" had corrupted his sons, and he held Rosebery indirectly responsible for Drumlanrig's death.

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Francis Douglas, 1st Baron Kelhead, Viscount Drumlanrig's Timeline

February 3, 1867
Age 26