Gen. Sir Charles Grey

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About Gen. Sir Charles Grey

Sir Charles Grey (15 March 1804 – 31 March 1870) was a British army officer, member of the British House of Commons and political figure in Lower Canada. In later life, he served as private secretary to Prince Albert and later Queen Victoria.

He was born in Northumberland, England in 1804, the second son of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and younger brother of Henry, the 3rd Earl Grey. After a good private education he joined the British Army as a sub-lieutenant in 1820 and commanded the 73rd Regiment from 1833 to 1842.

Grey represented Wycombe in the British House of Commons from 1832 to 1837, defeating Disraeli to win the seat, which he held until 1837.

in 1838 he went to Canada with his brother-in-law, John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, where he was named a member of the Executive Council and Special Council of Lower Canada in June of that year, serving until 2 November. He returned to England with Lambton later that month and later obtained the influential position of secretary to Prince Albert from 1849 to 1861 and secretary to the Queen from 1861 until his death in 1870.

He was given the colonelcy of the 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot in 1860, and transferred to the 71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot in 1863, a position he held until his death. He was promoted full general in 1865.

In 1836, he had married Caroline Eliza, daughter of Sir Thomas Harvie Farquhar, 2nd baronet. Their children included:

Charles (died young in 1855)

Mary Caroline Grey (1858–1940), married the 4th Earl of Minto

Sybil Mary Grey (born 1848), married William Beauclerk, 10th Duke of St Albans

Albert Henry George, the 4th Earl Grey, served as Governor-General of Canada.

Louisa Grey (1855–1949), married William McDonnell, 6th Earl of Antrim, and served as pro tempore Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria

In popular culture

A heavily re-imagined version of Grey appears as a character in popular manga and anime franchise Black Butler, with a key role in Black Butler: Book of Murder.


Lt.-Gen. Hon. Charles Grey was born on 15 March 1804.2 He was the son of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and Hon. Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby.1 He married Caroline Eliza Farquhar, daughter of Sir Thomas Harvie Farquhar, 2nd Bt., on 26 July 1836.2 He died on 31 March 1870 at age 66.

    Lt.-Gen. Hon. Charles Grey gained the rank of Colonel in the service of the 71st Regiment.2 He held the office of Private Secretary to HRH The Prince Consort and HM Queen Victoria.2 He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.3

Children of Lt.-Gen. Hon. Charles Grey and Caroline Eliza Farquhar

Lady Mary Caroline Grey+ d. 14 Jul 1940.4

Lady Victoria Alexandrina Elizabeth Grey+ d. 15 Jan 1922.5

Lady Sybil Mary Grey+ b. 28 Nov 1848, d. 7 Sep 1871.5

Charles Grey b. 6 Apr 1850, d. 23 Jun 1855.5

Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey+ b. 28 Nov 1851, d. 29 Aug 1917.5

Lady Louisa Jane Grey+ b. 15 Feb 1855, d. 2 Apr 1949.1


[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 178. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.

[S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 2, page 1664. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

[S18] Matthew H.C.G., editor, Dictionary of National Biography on CD-ROM (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995). Hereinafter cited as Dictionary of National Biography.

[S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 550.

[S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

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Gen. Sir Charles Grey's Timeline

March 15, 1804
Howick, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
April 23, 1804
Howick, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
November 28, 1848
Age 44
Scotland, United Kingdom
April 6, 1850
Age 46
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
November 28, 1851
Age 47
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Age 48
Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
February 15, 1855
Age 50
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
November 13, 1857
Age 53
Minto, Scottish Borders, Scotland, United Kingdom
March 31, 1870
Age 66
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom