Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst

The Right Honourable
The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst
Viceroy of India
In office
23 November 1910  4 April 1916
Monarch George V
Preceded by The Earl of Minto
Succeeded by The Lord Chelmsford
Personal details
Born 20 June 1858 (1858-06-20)
Died 2 August 1944 (1944-08-03) (aged 86)
Penshurst, Kent
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Winifred Selena Sturt
Children 3
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst, KG, GCB, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GCVO, ISO, PC (20 June 1858 – 2 August 1944) was a British diplomat and statesman who served as Viceroy of India from 1910–16.

Background and education

Hardinge was the second son of Charles Hardinge, 2nd Viscount Hardinge, and the grandson of Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge, a former Governor-General of India. He was educated at Harrow School[1] and Trinity College, Cambridge.[2]


1912 assassination attempt on Lord Hardinge

Hardinge entered the diplomatic services in 1880, was appointed first secretary at Tehran in 1896 and first secretary at Saint Petersburg in 1898 when he was promoted over the heads of seventeen of his seniors. After a brief stint as Assistant Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs he became Ambassador to Russia in 1904. In 1906 he was promoted to the position of Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, and despite his own conservatism, worked closely with Liberal Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey. In 1907 he declined the post of Ambassador to the United States. In 1910 Hardinge was raised to the peerage as Baron Hardinge of Penshurst, in the County of Kent,[3] and appointed by the Asquith government as Viceroy of India.

His tenure was a memorable one, seeing the visit of King George V and the Delhi Durbar of 1911, as well as the move of the capital from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1912. Although Hardinge was the target of assassination attempts by Indian nationalists, his tenure generally saw better relations between the British administration and the nationalists, thanks to the implementation of the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909, Hardinge's own admiration for Mohandas Gandhi, and criticism of the South African government's anti-Indian immigration policies.

Hardinge's efforts paid off in 1914 during the First World War. Due to improved colonial relationships, Britain was able to deploy nearly all of the British troops in India as well as many native Indian troops to areas outside of India. In particular the British Indian Army was able to play a significant role in the Mesopotamian campaign[4]

In 1916, Hardinge returned to his former post in England as Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, serving with Arthur Balfour. In 1920 he became ambassador to France before his retirement in 1922.

Personal life

Hardinge family members in ox-cart in Hyderabad State (1911, attending the coronation of Asaf Jah VII)

He married his first cousin Winifred Selina Sturt on 17 April 1890, over the objections of her family, due to the couple's consanguinity[5] and Hardinge's financial status.[6] She was the 2nd daughter of Henry Gerard Sturt, 1st Baron Alington, by his first wife Lady Augusta Bingham, 1st daughter of George Charles Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan. The couple had a daughter, Diamond Hardinge, and two sons, Edward and Alexander (1894–1960), who succeeded him as Baron Hardinge of Penshurst.

The 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst is commemorated at St John the Baptist, Penshurst. His eldest son, The Hon Edward Hardinge, (1892–1914) died in December 1914, from wounds received in battle in France. Diamond Hardinge was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on 3 May 1923.[7]

Styles and honours

Hardinge had the unusual distinction of being a non-royal recipient of six British knighthoods.

Further reading


  1. photo at Harrow Photos and cf List of Old Harrovians
  2. "Hardinge, the Hon. Charles (HRDN876C)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. 1 2 The London Gazette: no. 28403. p. 5581. 2 August 1910.
  4. Lord Hardinge and the Mesopotamia Expedition and Inquiry, 1914–1917; Douglas Goold; The Historical Journal, Vol. 19, No. 4 (Dec., 1976), pp. 919–945
  5. for an explanation of this concept, see Alison Weir, Royal Genealogy (1989)
  6. Prior, Katherine (January 2011) [2004]. "Hardinge, Charles, first Baron Hardinge of Penshurst (1858–1944)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33703. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. Daily Telegraph: royal wedding photograph; accessed 28 March 2014.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 26639. p. 3740. 2 July 1895.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 27560. p. 3524. 2 June 1903.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 27655. p. 1521. 8 March 1904.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 27662. p. 2025. 29 March 1904.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 27674. p. 2923. 6 May 1904.
  13. The London Gazette: no. 27675. p. 3000. 10 May 1904.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 27750. p. 22. 3 January 1905.
  15. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27926. p. 4462. 29 June 1906.
  16. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28388. p. 4476. 24 June 1910.
  17. The London Gazette: no. 29519. p. 3175. 24 March 1916.
  18. The London Gazette: no. 32145. p. 11794. 30 November 1920.



Government offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Minto
Viceroy of India
Succeeded by
The Lord Chelmsford
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Charles Stewart Scott
British Ambassador to Russia
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Nicolson
Preceded by
The Lord Sanderson
Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Nicolson
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Nicolson
Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Eyre Crowe
Preceded by
The Earl of Derby
British Ambassador to France
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Crewe
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Hardinge of Penshurst
Succeeded by
Alexander Hardinge
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