Meade, Richard Charles Francis (DNB00)

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MEADE, RICHARD CHARLES FRANCIS, third Earl of Clanwilliam in the peerage of Ireland, and first Baron Clanwilliam in the peerage of the United Kingdom (1795–1879), born on 15 Aug. 1795, was the only son of the second earl by his first wife, Caroline, third daughter of Joseph, count Thun. He succeeded to the title in September 1805. After education at Eton he entered the diplomatic service at an early age. In August 1814 he attended Lord Castlereagh, plenipotentiary at the congress of Vienna, and in February of the following year was there with Castlereagh's half-brother, Lord Stewart. He was private secretary to Castlereagh at the foreign office from 5 Jan. 1817 to 11 July 1819, and acted as under-secretary for fifteen months before being formally appointed to the office on 22 Jan. 1822 (cf. Buckingham, Memoirs of Court of George IV, ii. 284). On 12 Aug. he resigned in order to become chef de chancellerie to the Duke of Wellington's mission at the congress of Verona. Clanwilliam served as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Berlin from 1 Feb. 1823 to 25 Dec. 1827, and was created grand cross of the royal Hanoverian Guelphic order (G.C.H.) in 1826. In a letter dated 14 Aug. 1827, from Sir H. Hardinge to the Duke of Wellington, Clanwilliam was described as ‘up to his neck’ in the preliminary arrangements for the formation of the Goderich ministry, but incredulous as to its duration (Wellington Correspondence, iv. 93). On 28 Jan. 1828 he became a peer of the United Kingdom by the title of Baron Clanwilliam of Tipperary county (cf. Lord Chesterfield, Diary, iii. 533). He took little part in public affairs after this date. On 3 Jan. 1830 Wellington wrote to ask him to second the address in the lords; but he does not appear to have consented (Wellington Correspondence, vi. 458). The degree of D.C.L. was conferred on him by Oxford University on 11 June 1834.

Clanwilliam died at his house, 32 Belgrave Square, London, on 7 Oct. 1879, having lately returned from Deal Castle, of which he was captain. He married, on 3 July 1830, Lady Elizabeth Herbert (d. 20 Sept. 1858), daughter of George, eleventh earl of Pembroke, and had four sons and one daughter. The eldest son, Richard James (1832–1907), succeeded to the peerage, and is a distinguished naval officer. The second son, Robert Henry, became in 1892 permanent under-secretary for the colonies.

[Burke's Peerage; G. E. C.'s Peerage, ii. 262; Foster's Peerage and Alumni Oxonienses, 1715–1886; Rush's Diary of the Court of London, 1819–25; Morning Post, 8 Oct. 1879; Illustrated London News, 18 Oct. 1879; Boase's Modern Engl. Biog.]

G. Le G. N.