Sir Alec Douglas-Home: Right Man, Wrong Century?
The 14th Prime Minister of the twentieth century was a 14th Earl, an improbable occurrence and one never likely to be repeated. Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home was born on 2 July 1903, the eldest of seven children of the 13th Earl of Home (pronounced ‘Hume’). He himself was to undergo several name changes, becoming successively Lord Dunglass, Earl of Home, Sir Alec Douglas-Home and, finally, Lord Home of the Hirsel. According to his official biographer, D.R. Thorpe, his ‘upbringing was privileged even by the standards of the upper classes of the time’ (Thorpe 1996). He was descended from two of the most powerful and wealthy families in Scotland. The Douglases, famous robber barons, had been the scourge of the English for several centuries; the Homes had betrayed their own countrymen to collaborate with their English oppressors, and, in 1603, the first Earl came down to London with King James I, as one of his most trusted advisers. The Douglas and Home families were united by marriage in 1832, and, when Alec was born, his grandfather, the 12th Earl, owned well over 100,000 acres, with estates in Berwickshire and Lanarkshire — the latter containing valuable coal deposits — as well as several grouse moors, valuable fishing rights over a long stretch of the River Tweed, and castles at Douglas and the Hirsel, near Coldstream.
KeywordsEurope Tuberculosis Resis Fishing Prep
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