The Marquess of Lansdowne
Coronet of a British Marquess.svg

Marquess of Lansdowne.svg
Member of Wiltshire County Council
In office
Personal details
Charles Maurice Petty-Fitzmaurice

(1941-02-21) 21 February 1941 (age 81)
Political partyConservative
Lady Frances Helen Mary Eliot
(m. 1965; div. 1987)

Fiona Mary Merritt
(after 1987)
Parent(s)George Petty-Fitzmaurice, 8th Marquess of Lansdowne
Barbara Chase
Residence(s)Bowood House
EducationEton College
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/serviceRoyal Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps

Charles Maurice Petty-Fitzmaurice, 9th Marquess of Lansdowne, LVO, DL (born 21 February 1941), styled Earl of Shelburne between 1944 and 1999, is a British peer, landowner and army officer. He was a member of various local councils in Wiltshire from 1964 to 1985, and chairman of North Wiltshire District Council 1973–1976. He was Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire from 2012 to 2016.

He is also Earl of Kerry in the peerage of Ireland (1722); Earl of Shelburne and Earl of Wycombe in the peerage of Great Britain (1753 and 1784); Viscount Clanmaurice, Viscount Fitzmaurice (1751), and Viscount Calne and Calston; the 30th Baron of Kerry and Lixnaw in the peerage of Ireland (1181); Baron Dunkeron, and Baron Wycombe.[1]

Early life

Lansdowne is the elder son of George Petty-Fitzmaurice, 8th Marquess of Lansdowne, a Conservative politician and landowner, by his marriage to Barbara, daughter of Harold Stuart Chase, of Santa Barbara, California.[2] His father inherited the peerage titles (and the Bowood House estates in Wiltshire) from a cousin, the 7th Marquess of Lansdowne, who was killed in action in 1944, when the present Marquess became known as the Earl of Shelburne, a courtesy title. He was educated at Eton College[1] and was Page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth II in 1956–1957.[3]


Lord Shelburne (as he then was) served in the Kenya Regiment from 1960 to 1961.[1] In 1962 he was gazetted a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry[4] and in 1971 transferred with the rank of Lieutenant to the Royal Yeomanry attached to the Royal Armoured Corps.[1][5]

He was a member of Calne and Chippenham Rural District Council from 1964 to 1973, President of the Wiltshire Playing Fields Association from 1965 to 1974, a member of Wiltshire County Council from 1970 to 1985, and a councillor of North Wiltshire District Council from 1973 to 1976.[1][6] He was chairman of Calne and Chippenham Rural District Council from 1970 to 1973 and of North Wiltshire District Council from 1973 to 1976. Shelburne also served as a member of the South West Economic Planning Council from 1972 to 1977 and chaired its Population Settlement Pattern Working Committee during the same period. He was a member of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (English Heritage) from 1983 to 1989; Deputy President of the Historic Houses Association from 1986 to 1988 and President from 1988 to 1993; President of South West Tourism from 1989 to 2006; President of the Wiltshire Association of Boys Clubs and Youth Clubs from 1976 to 2003; and President of the North Wiltshire Conservative Association from 1986 to 1989.[1]

He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire in 1990,[7] and served as the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire from 2012 to 2016.[8] He has served as President of the Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust since 1994.[9] He was President of the Wiltshire Swindon & Oxfordshire Canal Partnership (overseeing the restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal) from c.2002 to 2019.[10]

At the 1979 general election, he contested Coventry North East for the Conservatives, coming second behind Labour's George Park.[1]

On 25 August 1999, his father died and he became Marquess of Lansdowne and a member of the House of Lords.[1]

In 2001, Lord Lansdowne was appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, shortly after retiring from the Prince's Council of the Duchy of Cornwall where he had been a member since 1996.[11]


On 9 October 1965, he married, firstly, Lady Frances Helen Mary Eliot (6 March 1943 – 6 January 2004), daughter of Nicholas Eliot, 9th Earl of St Germans. They were divorced in 1987, having had four children:[12]

Subsequently, Lord Lansdowne married, secondly, Fiona Mary Merritt (b. 1954), daughter of Donald Merritt and Lady Davies,[1] an interior decorator known by her married name of Fiona Shelburne.[16] She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire in 2019,[17] and as High Sheriff for 2022–2023.[18][19]

The heir apparent to the title is Simon, Earl of Kerry (b. 1970), elder son of the Marquess.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i 'Lansdowne, 9th Marquess of' in Who's Who 2014 (London: A. & C. Black, 2014)
  2. ^ 'LANSDOWNE, 8th Marquess of, George John Charles Mercer Nairne Petty-Fitzmaurice' in Who's Who 1999 (London: A. and C. Black, 1999)
  3. ^ The London Gazette, Issue 40733 of 16 March 1956, page 1583 online
  4. ^ London Gazette, Issue 42793 of 25 September 1962, page 7579 online
  5. ^ London Gazette, Issue 45917 of 26 February 1973 (Supplement), page 2677 online
  6. ^ Charles Maurice Mercer Nairne Petty-FitzMaurice, later Petty-FitzMaurice, 9th Marquess of Lansdowne Archived 3 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine at, accessed 21 May 2010
  7. ^ "No. 52202". The London Gazette. 4 July 1990. p. 11412.
  8. ^ "The Lansdowne Family". Bowood. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  9. ^ Colin Johns, Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust 1967–2007 (2007) online, Appendix 1
  10. ^ "Meeting minutes" (PDF). Wiltshire Swindon & Oxfordshire Canal Partnership. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  11. ^ London Gazette, Issue 56430 of 31 December 2001 (Supplement No. 1), page S3 online
  12. ^ a b "Petty Fitzmaurice (Lansdowne) family tree" (PDF). Bowood House. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2007 – via Internet Archive.
  13. ^ Charles Mosely, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 2003
  14. ^ Simon Kerry (3 February 2020). "Birth announcement: Petty-Fitzmaurice".
  15. ^ Paul Theroff. "News of Other James I Descendants, 2003" in "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-27.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Retrieved 27 September 2007
  16. ^ Fraser, Virginia (23 April 2019). "Why Bowood remains the epitome of an eighteenth-century English country house". House & Garden. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  17. ^ "Lieutenancy of Wiltshire | Deputy Lieutenant Commissions". The London Gazette. 27 September 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  18. ^ "Nomination of Prospective High Sheriffs". The London Gazette. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  19. ^ "New High Sheriff for Wiltshire and Swindon 2022-23". Wiltshire Council. 28 March 2022. Retrieved 31 March 2022.