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Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds

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Title: Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds  
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Language: English
Subject: Thomas Osborne, 4th Duke of Leeds, Amelia Osborne, Marchioness of Carmarthen, George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham, Duke of Leeds, William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville
Collection: 1751 Births, 1799 Deaths, Alumni of Christ Church, Oxford, British Mps 1774–80, British Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, Captains of Deal Castle, Dukes of Leeds, Fellows of the Royal Society, Knights of the Garter, Lord-Lieutenants of the East Riding of Yorkshire, Members of the Parliament of Great Britain for Constituencies in Cornwall, Members of the Parliament of Great Britain for English Constituencies, Members of the Privy Council of Great Britain, Osborne Family, People Educated at Westminster School, London
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds

His Grace
The Duke of Leeds
Portrait by Benjamin West, circa 1769
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
23 December 1783 – May 1791
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Right Hon. William Pitt
Preceded by The Earl Temple
Succeeded by The Lord Grenville
Leader of the House of Lords
In office
Preceded by The Lord Sydney
Succeeded by The Lord Grenville
Personal details
Born 29 January 1751 (2016-06-20T18:26:41)
Died 31 January 1799(1799-01-31) (aged 48)
London, Great Britain
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) (1) Lady Amelia Darcy
Catherine Anguish
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

Francis Godolphin Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds KG PC (29 January 1751 – 31 January 1799), styled Marquess of Carmarthen until 1789, was a British politician. He notably served as Foreign Secretary under William Pitt the Younger from 1783 to 1791.


  • Background and education 1
  • Political career 2
  • Family 3
  • References 4

Background and education

Leeds was the son of Thomas Osborne, 4th Duke of Leeds, by his wife Lady Mary, daughter of Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin, and Henrietta Godolphin, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough. He was educated at Westminster School and at Christ Church, Oxford.

Political career

Leeds was a Member of Parliament for Eye in 1774 and for Helston from 1774 to 1775; in 1776 having received a writ of acceleration as Baron Osborne, he entered the House of Lords, and in 1777 Lord Chamberlain of the Queen's Household. In the House of Lords he was prominent as a determined foe of the prime minister, Lord North, who, after he had resigned his position as chamberlain, deprived him of the office of Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire in 1780. He regained this, however, two years later.

Early in 1783 Leeds was selected as ambassador to France, but he did not take up this appointment, becoming instead Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under William Pitt the Younger in December of the same year. As secretary he was little more than a cipher: although they were friends of long standing, Pitt developed a poor opinion of Leeds' judgement and frequently had to restrain his bellicose instincts. The abandonment of his anti-Russian policy was the final blow and he left office in April 1791. He had done nothing to foster good relations with the newly independent United States of America: both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson complained of his obstructive attitude and " aversion to having anything to do with us ".[1] Subsequently he took little part in politics: in 1792, hearing rumours that a new coalition might be formed, he unwisely offered himself as its head and met with a firm rebuff from both Pitt and the King.[2]


Leeds married firstly in 1773 Lady Amelia Darcy, daughter of Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness on 29 November 1773. Lady Amelia became Baroness Darcy de Knayth and Baroness Conyers in her own right in 1778. They were divorced in 1779. Their marriage produced three children:

  • 1st Marquess Townshend, on 17 August 1797 and had issue.
  • Lord Francis Osborne (18 October 1777 – 15 February 1850), later 1st Baron Godolphin; married The Hon. Elizabeth Eden, third daughter of the 1st Baron Auckland, on 31 March 1800 and had issue.
  • Lady Mary Henrietta Juliana Osborne (1776-1862); married Thomas Pelham, 2nd Earl of Chichester (28 April 1756 – 4 July 1826) in 1801 and had issue.

He married secondly Catherine, daughter of Thomas Anguish, in 1788 and had two more children:

  • Lord Sidney Godolphin Osborne (1789-1861); unmarried.
  • Lady Catherine Anne Sarah Osborne (1791-1878); married Major John Whyte-Melville on 1 June 1819 and had issue. .

Leeds died in London in January 1799, aged 48, and was succeeded in the dukedom by his eldest son from his first marriage, Lord Francis Osborne, was created Baron Godolphin in 1832. The dowager Duchess of Leeds died in October 1837, aged 73. Leeds's Political Memoranda were edited by Oscar Browning for the Camden Society in 1884, and there are eight volumes of his official correspondence in the British Museum.


  1. ^ McCullough, David John Adams Simon and Schuster New York 2001
  2. ^ Hague, William William Pitt the Younger Harper Collins 2004
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Richard Burton Phillipson
William Cornwallis
Member of Parliament for Eye
With: Richard Burton Phillipson
Succeeded by
Richard Burton Phillipson
John St John
Preceded by
William Evelyn
The Earl of Clanbrassil
Member of Parliament for Helston
1774 – 1775
With: Francis Owen
Succeeded by
Francis Cockayne Cust
Philip Yorke
Court offices
Preceded by
The Earl De La Warr
Lord Chamberlain to The Queen
Succeeded by
The Earl of Ailesbury
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl Temple
Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
The Lord Grenville
Preceded by
The Lord Sydney
Leader of the House of Lords
Honorary titles
Title last held by
The Viscount of Irvine
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Carlisle
Preceded by
The Earl of Carlisle
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Carlisle
Title last held by
The Marquess of Rockingham
Vice-Admiral of Yorkshire
Title next held by
The Lord Mulgrave
Preceded by
Thomas Osborne
Governor of the Isles of Scilly
Succeeded by
George Osborne
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Thomas Osborne
Duke of Leeds
Succeeded by
George Osborne
Baron Osborne
(writ in acceleration)

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