William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp of Madresfield, Malvern Worcestershire, was part of Prime Minister Asquith’s Cabinet on the outbreak of the First World War.
When Cabinet met on 3rd August 1914 at 11am, there were four ministers on the verge of resigning over Britain’s entry into war – John Burns, John Simon, Lord Beauchamp and John Morley.
“The Cabinet was very moving. Most of us could hardly speak at all for emotion.”
After much debate, on 4th August 1914 at 10.45pm, King George V and the Privy Council met at Buckingham Palace to authorise a declaration of war.
From the following day, Lord Beauchamp held a new role in Cabinet, that of Lord President of the Council. The fourth of the great officers of state, the Lord President attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch’s approval.
This portrait of the 7th Earl hangs in the Guildhall, Worcester.