The Peerages of Edward VIII

His Majesty Edward VIII, Dei Gratia Magnae Britanniae, Hiberniae et terrarum transmarinarum quae in ditione sunt Britannica Rex, Fidei Defensor, Indiae Imperator, reigned for only 10 months and 20 days, from 20 January to 10 December of 1936. In his reign he created only nine peerages: six barons, two viscounts and a marquess.

The first two peerages were issued twelve days into his reign, on 1 February. One went to Sir Arthur Benn, Bt., who was a Tory MP on and off from 1910 to 1935 and a member of the London County Council from 1907 to 1911, was made Baron Glenravel, but the title went extinct when Lord Glenravel died without sons the following June. The other was given to Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Hugh Trenchard, Bt., 1st Baron Trenchard, the first commander of the Royal Air Force and Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police from 1931 to 1935, who was made Viscount  Trenchard. His grandson, the 3rd Viscount Trenchard, is currently one of the 90 hereditary peers elected to sit in the House of Lords.

Two days later Sir Gomer Berry, Bt., publisher of the Sunday Times, was made Baron Kemsley. He was later made Viscount Kemsley in 1945. The title is now held by his grandson, the 3rd Viscount.

On the 24th of February Thomas Catto, chairman of the Indian industrial conglomerate Andrew Yule & Co., Calcutta, was made Baron Catto. Lord Catto was later Governor of the Bank of England from 1944 to 1949; his grandson is now the 3rd Baron Catto.

On the 26th of May the King awarded the title of Marquess of Willingdon to Major Sir Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Earl of Willingdon, Viscount Willingdon and Baron Willingdon, Governor-General of Canada (1926-31) and Viceroy of India (1931-36). All his titles went extinct upon the death of his son Inigo in 1979. This was the last time (so far) that a marquessate was given out in Britain.

Between July 14 and 17 Edward VIII approved baronies to 4 people on consecutive days. On the 14th, Sir Henry Cautley, Bt., a Conservative MP for 22 years and a  judge in Sunderland, Durham, was made Baron Cautley; on the 15th, Sir Malcolm Hailey, a governor of the Indian Empire, was made Baron Hailey; on the 16th, Sir Herbert Austin, founder of Austin Motors, became Baron Austin; and on the 17th, Beaumont Pease, a prominent banker, was made Baron Wardington. Of these four, the first three went extinct with their recipients’ deaths, in 1946, 1969 and 1941; the fourth is held by the 3rd Baron Wardington, younger son of the 1st Baron, and has no heirs.

The last peerage Edward VIII ever approved was on 30 October 1936, 41 days before his abdication. It went to Sir Bertrand Dawson, 1st Baron Dawson of Penn, who was made Viscount Dawson of Penn. Lord Dawson was President of the Royal College of Physicians from 1931 to 1937 and was personal physician to King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI. His diaries later revealed that he had euthanized a dying George V with an overdose of cocaine and morphine. Lord Dawson died childless in 1945 and his titles died with him.


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