Harry Primrose, 6th Earl of Rosebery
Albert Edward Harry Meyer Archibald Primrose, 6th Earl of Rosebery and 2nd Earl of Midlothian (8 January 1882 – 31 May 1974), known by his third name of Harry, was a UK politician who briefly served as Secretary of State for Scotland in 1945. He was known by the courtesy title of Lord Dalmeny from birth until he inherited the family peerages in 1929.
His parents were Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1894 to 1895 and Hannah Primrose, Countess of Rosebery, a member of the Rothschild family. His sister was the writer Lady Sybil Grant. Rosebery attended Eton and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He joined the British Army and became a Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards.
As Lord Dalmeny he was a prominent cricketer and he played two first-class matches for Middlesex in 1902. He served as captain of Surrey County Cricket Club (1905-1907). He played in 102 first-class matches in all, scoring 3551 runs at an average of 22.47, including 2 centuries with a highest score of 138. Rosebery was notable in horseracing circles for twice winning the Epsom Derby, and winning most other classic British flat races, with horses bred at his Mentmore and Crafton Studs.
He commenced his political career by being elected Liberal Member of Parliament for the Scottish seat of Edinburghshire. This was a county, better known by its modern name of Midlothian, which was an area where the Roseberys had long been prominent landowners. Dalmeny was one of almost 400 Liberals returned in the great landslide victory of the 1906 election. He retired from the House of Commons in January 1910. At the time of his death he was the last survivor of the 1906 Liberal MPs.
In 1909, he married Dorothy Alice Margaret Augusta Grosvenor, daughter of Lord Henry George Grosvenor. They had a son, Archibald Ronald Primrose (1910-1931), and a daughter, Helen Dorothy Primrose (born 1913). During the First World War, Rosebery served in France from 1914-1917 as Camp Commandant and ADC to General Allenby and subsequently in Palestine as Allenby's Military Secretary. His brother Neil was killed in Palestine.
With the end of the war came also Rosebery's divorce in 1919. He eventually re-married in 1924, to Eva Isabel Marion Bruce, daughter of the 2nd Baron Aberdare of Duffryn. Their only child, Neil Archibald Primrose, was born in 1929. After the death of the 5th Earl later that same year, Rosebery became a member of the House of Lords and was Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian 1929-1964. In 1931, Rosebery's eldest son Archibald died at the age of 21 from blood poisoning, while at Oxford.
In February 1941, during the Second World War, he was appointed Regional Commissioner for Civil Defence in Scotland. When the wartime coalition government broke up in 1945, Winston Churchill formed a caretaker administration to hold office until the 1945 general election. The new government was composed of members of the Conservative Party and the small groups which had allied with it in the National governments in office 1931-1940. Amongst these allies was the National Liberal Party to which Rosebery belonged.
One of the most unexpected appointments Churchill made was to install Rosebery as a member of the Privy Council and Secretary of State for Scotland. Both men had served together in the Liberal Parliamentary Party in the 1906-1910 Parliament. The caretaker Ministry was in office May to July 1945.
Rosebery was President of the National Liberal Party 1945-1957. He was also appointed Chairman of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland in 1952.
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Vol. II: 1886-1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (The Harvester Press 1978)
- Torrance, D., The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn 2006)
- The Scottish Secretaries A website dedicated to the Scottish Secretaries
- David Torrance David Torrance's Scottish Office blog
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