Henry Temple, Viscount Palmerston
Born: 20 Oct, 1784
Died: 18 Oct, 1865
Field: Statesman
Location in the Abbey: North transept
Type of memorial: Grave; statue
Type of material: Marble

Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, Prime Minister, is buried with his wife in the north transept of Westminster Abbey and there is an over life-size statue of him nearby. The stone is of Peterhead red granite designed by Gilbert Scott and made by Poole & sons. There is a floriated cross in the centre and the inscription around the edge reads:

HENRY JOHN VISCOUNT PALMERSTON OCTr 18 1865

EMILY VISCOUNTESS PALMERSTON SEPT.11th 1869

The statue is signed by Robert Jackson, 1870 and shows Palmerston dressed in robes of the Order of the Garter, on a pedestal. The inscriptions read:

"Born 1784 - Died 1865

Erected by authority of Parliament to Viscount Palmerston in testimony of the public admiration and attachment and the heavy loss which the country sustained by his death"

He was the eldest son of Henry (Temple) 2nd Viscount Palmerston in the peerage of Ireland and his second wife Mary (Mee). He was born on 20 October 1784 in Westminster and baptised at St Margaret's Westminster on 23 November (his brother and three sisters were also baptised there). After touring Europe with his parents and attending Harrow School and Edinburgh and Cambridge universities he followed his father into politics. In 1802 he succeeded as 3rd Viscount Palmerston. His wife Emily Mary was the eldest daughter of Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne and was born on 2 April 1787 (she was the sister of Lord Melbourne). She married firstly Peter, 5th Earl Cowper and secondly on 16 December 1839 Henry, Viscount Palmerston. There were no children of the second marriage but it is thought Henry was probably the father of three of her children while she was still married to Cowper. Henry was Foreign Secretary in 1830 and served as Prime Minister 1855-58 and 1859-65. He was also Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Rector of Glasgow university. He died at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire on 18 October 1865 and had a state funeral. His widow was initially reluctant for him to be buried in the Abbey. His title became extinct and his estates passed to William Cowper-Temple.

A photo of the gravestone and statue can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.

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