|First Commissioner of Woods |
1823 – 9 April 1827
|Prime Minister||The Earl of Liverpool|
|Preceded by||William Huskisson|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Carlisle|
11 February 1828 – 2 June 1828
|Prime Minister||The Duke of Wellington|
|Preceded by||William Sturges Bourne|
|Succeeded by||Viscount Lowther|
|Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster|
2 June 1828 – 15 November 1830
|Prime Minister||The Duke of Wellington|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Aberdeen|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Holland|
|Born||14 March 1767|
Rockfleet, County Mayo
|Died||18 August 1850 (aged 83)|
Apsley House, Piccadilly, London
|Spouse(s)||(1) Marcia Clapcott-Lisle |
(2) Harriet Fane
Charles Arbuthnot (14 March 1767 – 18 August 1850) was a British diplomat and Tory politician. He was Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire between 1804 and 1807 and held a number of political offices. He was a good friend of the Duke of Wellington. His second wife, Harriet, became a hostess at Wellington's society dinners, and wrote an important diary cataloging contemporary political intrigues.
Arbuthnot was son of John Arbuthnot, FRS of Rockfleet and brother of bishop Alexander Arbuthnot, General Sir Thomas Arbuthnot and General Sir Robert Arbuthnot. He was born in Rockfleet, County Mayo, Ireland, but much of his upbringing was with his mother's relations, the Stone family.
Arbuthnot sat as Member of Parliament for East Looe between 1795 and 1796, for Eye between 1809 and 1812, for Orford between 1812 and 1818, for St Germans between 1818 and 1827, for St Ives between 1828 and 1830 and for Ashburton between 1830 and 1831. He served under Henry Addington as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between November 1803 – June 1804, under Spencer Perceval and the Earl of Liverpool as Joint Secretary to the Treasury between 1809 and 1823, under Liverpool as First Commissioner of Woods and Forests between 1823 and 1827 and under the Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington as First Commissioner of Woods and Forests in 1828 and as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1828 and 1830.
Arbuthnot also held a number of diplomatic postings, notably as consul general in Portugal between 1800 and 1801, as Minister to Sweden. He was appointed on 6 June 1804 as Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and left Constantinople on 29 January 1807. In 1804 he was sworn of the Privy Council.
Arbuthnot was first married on 28 February 1799 to Marcia Mary Anne Clapcott Lisle, at Cholmondeley House, Piccadilly. His first wife was born on 9 July 1774, and had been Lady-in-Waiting since 1795 to Caroline of Brunswick, Princess of Wales. Marcia's portrait was painted by John Hoppner and an engraving of the portrait was made by Joshua Reynolds. The couple's four children included General Charles George James Arbuthnot and Marcia Arbuthnot, who later married William Cholmondeley, 3rd Marquess of Cholmondeley. She died in Constantinople on 24 May 1806.
After being widowed, Arbuthnot married a second time on 31 January 1814 at Fulbeck, Lincolnshire, to Harriet Fane (1793–1834), a daughter of the Hon. Henry Fane. Harriet was fascinated by politics. During her marriage to Arbuthnot, she became a hostess at society dinners given by Arbuthnot's good friend, the Duke of Wellington. During the latter years of Arbuthnot's life, after the death of Harriet, he turned over the family home to his eldest son, and moved into the Duke's London residence, Apsley House, as his confidential friend. Their story is told in Wellington and the Arbuthnots by E. A. Smith. which rejects the suggestion that Harriet was Wellington's mistress.
Harriet's portrait was also painted by John Hoppner and it is now in Foundation Lazzaro Galdiano, Madrid. Sir Thomas Lawrence's portrait of her is at Woodford, Northamptonshire. Her diaries were published as The Journal of Mrs Arbuthnot in 1950.
Arbuthnot died at Apsley House in August 1850, aged 83. S. Gambardello's portrait of him is at Apsley House.
His children (all by his first wife, Marcia) were:
By January 1835, Charles handed his estate at Woodford to his son, and followed the diaries to Aspley House. He and Wellington lived there together, surrounded by the legacy of Harriet’s influence, until Charles died in 1850.