George Villiers, 6th Earl of Clarendon

George Herbert Hyde Villiers, 6th Earl of Clarendon, KG GCMG GCVO PC DL (7 June 1877 – 13 December 1955), styled Lord Hyde from 1877 to 1914, was a British Conservative politician from the Villiers family. He served as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 1931 to 1937.

The Earl of Clarendon

5th Governor-General of South Africa
In office
26 January 1931  5 April 1937
MonarchGeorge V
Edward VIII
George VI
Prime MinisterJames Barry Munnik Hertzog
Preceded byThe Earl of Athlone
Succeeded bySir Patrick Duncan
Personal details
George Herbert Hyde Villiers

7 June 1877
Died13 December 1955(1955-12-13) (aged 78)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Adeline Verena Isabel Cocks
OccupationPolitician, Colonial administrator


Clarendon was the only son of Edward Hyde Villiers, 5th Earl of Clarendon and his wife Lady Caroline Elizabeth Agar, daughter of James Agar, 3rd Earl of Normanton. George William Frederick Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, three times Foreign Secretary, was his grandfather.

Political career

Clarendon took his seat on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords on his father's death in 1914. When Bonar Law became Prime Minister in 1922 he appointed Clarendon Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (government chief whip in the House of Lords), a position he also held under Stanley Baldwin until January 1924, and again from December 1924 to 1925. He then served as the first Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs until 1927. In 1931 Clarendon was appointed Governor-General of South Africa, in which position he remained until 1937. During his tenure as Governor-General of South Africa, he also served as Chief Scout of South Africa.[1] Clarendon High School for Girls and its associated schools, Clarendon Primary School and Clarendon Preparatory School in East London, South Africa are named after him.[2]

Clarendon was later Lord Chamberlain of the Household between 1938 and 1952. He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1931 and made a Knight of the Garter in 1937.


Lord Clarendon married Adeline Verena Ishbel Cocks, daughter of Herbert Haldane Somers Cocks, in 1905.[3]

They had three children:

  • George Villiers, Lord Hyde, killed in a shooting accident in South Africa in 1935, leaving a son George Frederick Laurence and a posthumous daughter, Rosemary. [4]
  • (Nina) Joan Villiers, Lady Newman
  • (William) Nicholas Villiers. His daughter, Elizabeth, became the first god-daughter of Queen Elizabeth II.[5]

He died in December 1955, aged 78. His eldest son George Villiers, Lord Hyde, had been killed in a shooting accident in 1935; the earldom was inherited by George's son Laurence.


  1. Wilson, John S. (1959). Scouting Round the World (1st ed.). Blandford Press. p. 94.
  2. Clarendon Primary at the Wayback Machine (archived 2007-09-27)
  4. "Lady Rosemary Steel 1935-2018". Peerage News.
  5. "'Nappy and glorious'". Daily Mail. 1 June 2012.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Ranksborough
1921 – 1922
New government
Preceded by
The Lord Colebrooke
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms
1922 – 1924
Succeeded by
The Earl of Dunmore
Preceded by
The Lord Colebrooke and The Lord Hylton
Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords
1922 – 1924
Succeeded by
The Lord Muir-Mackenzie
Preceded by
The Earl of Dunmore
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms
1924 – 1925
Succeeded by
The Earl of Plymouth
Preceded by
The Lord Muir-Mackenzie
Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords
1924 – 1925
New office Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
1925 – 1927
Succeeded by
The Lord Lovat
Preceded by
The Earl of Athlone
Governor-General of South Africa
1931 – 1937
Succeeded by
Sir Patrick Duncan
Court offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Cromer
Lord Chamberlain
1938 – 1952
Succeeded by
The Earl of Scarbrough
Media offices
Preceded by
Jack Pease
Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors
Succeeded by
John Henry Whitley
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Edward Villiers
Earl of Clarendon
1914 – 1955
Succeeded by
George Villiers
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