Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington

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Peter Alexander Rupert Carington

Immediate Family:

Son of Rupert Victor John Carington, 5th Baron Carrington of Upton and Sybil Marion, Baroness Carrington
Widower of Iona Carington, Baroness Carrington
Father of <private> de Bunsen (Carington); <private> Carington; <private> Cubitt (Carington) and Alexandra de Bunsen

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Immediate Family

About Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington,_6th_Baron_Carrington

Peter Alexander Rupert Carington, 6th Baron Carrington, KG, GCMG, CH, MC, PC, DL (born 6 June 1919) is a British Conservative politician. He served as British Foreign Secretary between 1979 and 1982 and as the sixth Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988. He is the last surviving member of the Cabinets of both Harold Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home. Following the House of Lords Act 1999, which removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, Carington was created a life peer as Baron Carington of Upton, of Upton in the County of Nottinghamshire, to enable him to continue to sit there.

Background, education and military career

Carrington is the only son of Rupert Carington, 5th Baron Carrington, by his wife Sybil Marion, daughter of Charles Colville, 2nd Viscount Colville of Culross. He is a great-nephew of the Liberal statesman Robert Wynn-Carington, 1st Marquess of Lincolnshire and the politician and courtier Sir William Carington. He was educated at two independent schools: at Sandroyd School from 1928–1932, at the time based in the town of Cobham in Surrey (and now the home of Reed's School), and Eton College, followed by RMC Sandhurst (since renamed RMA Sandhurst).

Following Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards as a second lieutenant on 26 January 1939. He served with the regiment during the Second World War, he was promoted lieutenant on 1 January 1941, and later rose to the rank of temporary captain and acting major, and was awarded the Military Cross (MC) on 1 March 1945. The MC was awarded for his part in the capture and holding of a vital bridge in Nijmegen. After the war Lord Carrington remained in the army until 1949, though he was on the unemployed list from October 1945.

Political career 1946–1982

In 1938, Carrington succeeded his father as 6th Baron Carrington and took his seat in the House of Lords on his 21st birthday in 1940. He became involved in politics and served in the Conservative governments of Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food from November 1951 to October 1954 and to the Ministry of Defence from October 1954 to October 1956. The latter year Carrington was appointed High Commissioner to Australia, a post he held until October 1959. He was also appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire on 2 July 1951.

After his return to Britain he served under Harold Macmillan as First Lord of the Admiralty until October 1963, and was then Minister without Portfolio and Leader of the House of Lords under Sir Alec Douglas-Home until October 1964, when the Conservatives fell from power. From 1964 to 1970 he was Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords. When the Conservatives returned to power in 1970 under Edward Heath, Carrington became Defence Secretary, where he remained until 1974 when the Tories were voted out in favour of Harold Wilson's Labour.

Carrington had become Shadow Defence Secretary in 1968 following the dismissal of Enoch Powell from the position following his controversial Rivers of Blood speech on immigration.

He also served as Chairman of the Conservative Party from 1972 to 1974, and was briefly Secretary of State for Energy from January to March 1974.

Carrington was again Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords from 1974 to 1979. In 1979 he was made Foreign Secretary and Minister for Overseas Development as part of the first Cabinet of Margaret Thatcher. He chaired the Lancaster House conference in 1979, attended by Ian Smith, Abel Muzorewa, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, and Josiah Tongogara, which brought to an end Zimbabwe's revolutionary war. He was Foreign Secretary in 1982 when the Falkland Islands were invaded by Argentina. He took full responsibility for the complacency and failures in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to foresee this development and resigned. Ministerial resignations in such circumstances are rare, and Carrington's attracted animated press discussion of the principles involved; it may be no coincidence that he had in 1954 been junior minister to Sir Thomas Dugdale at the time of the latter's landmark resignation as Minister of Agriculture over the Crichel Down affair, and had then himself offered his resignation but been persuaded to withdraw it.

Later career

Lord Carrington then served as Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988. He was also appointed Chancellor of the Order of St Michael and St George on 1 August 1984. In 1991, he presided over diplomatic talks about the breakup of the Former Yugoslavia and attempted to pass a plan that would end the wars and result in each republic becoming an independent nation.

Apart from his political posts, he was the Chancellor of the University of Reading and has served as chairman of several companies, including Christie's, and as a director of many others, including Barclays Bank, Schweppes and the Daily Telegraph. He also chaired the Bilderberg conferences for several years in the late 1990s, being succeeded in 1999 by Étienne Davignon. In 1983 he became president of the Pilgrims Society. He relinquished the Chancellorship of the Order of St Michael and St George on 7 June 1994 and was appointed Chancellor of the Order of the Garter on 8 November 1994.

After the House of Lords Act 1999 removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, Carrington (along with all former Leaders of the House of Lords) was given a life peerage on 17 November 1999 as Baron Carington of Upton, of Upton in the County of Nottinghamshire,[16] and therefore still sits in the House of Lords. He is currently the longest-serving member of the House of Lords and is the second longest-serving member of the Privy Council after HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

His surname (which the family assumed in 1839 in lieu of Smith) and life peerage are both spelt Carington (single "r"), and the hereditary peerage is spelt Baron Carrington (double "r").


Military Cross, 1945.
Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG), 1958.
Lord of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, 1959.
Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH), 1983.
Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter (KG), 1985; Chancellor of the Order from 1994.
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (GCMG), 1988;[20] Chancellor of the Order 1984–94.
Life peerage, as Baron Carington of Upton, 1999.
Medal of Honour, for his contribution regarding Serbian war crimes committed against civilians in Croatia (especially in the Vukovar massacre and rough displacement of citizens), 1999.
Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1988

Honorary degrees

University of Essex (DUniv) in 1983
University of Reading (DLitt) in December 1989
Harvard University (LLD) in 1986
University of Nottingham (LLD) in 1993
University of Newcastle upon Tyne (DCL) 14 December 1998
University of Oxford (DCL) 21 November 2003[27]

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