Earl of Hardwicke is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1754 for Philip Yorke, 1st Baron Hardwicke, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain from 1737 to 1756. He had already been created Baron Hardwicke, of Hardwicke in the County of Gloucestershire, in 1733, and was made Viscount Royston at the same time as he was given the earldom. These titles were also in the Peerage of Great Britain. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Earl. He represented Reigate and Cambridgeshire in the House of Commons and served as Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire. Lord Hardwicke married Lady Jemima Campbell, only daughter of John Campbell, 3rd Earl of Breadalbane, and granddaughter and heiress of Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Kent, who succeeded her grandfather as Marchioness Grey in 1722 (a title which became extinct on her death). They had two daughters of whom the eldest, Lady Amabel, was created Countess De Grey in her own right in 1816.
Lord Hardwicke was succeeded by his nephew, the third Earl. He was the son of the Hon. Charles Yorke, second son of the first Earl. He was a prominent politician and served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland between 1801 and 1805. Lord Hardwicke died without surviving male issue and was succeeded by his nephew, the fourth Earl. He was the son of Vice-Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, third son of the aforementioned Charles Yorke. Like his father he was a Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy and also held political office in the first two Conservative administrations of the Earl of Derby as Postmaster General and as Lord Privy Seal.
His son, the fifth Earl, was also a Conservative politician and served under Derby as Comptroller of the Household and under Benjamin Disraeli as Master of the Buckhounds. He was succeeded by his son, the sixth Earl. He also held political office and served in the Conservative administrations of Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and Under-Secretary of State for War. However, he died unmarried at an early age and was succeeded by his uncle, the seventh Earl. He was a Captain in the Royal Navy. His eldest son, the eighth Earl, was succeeded by his nephew, the ninth Earl. He was the son of the Hon. Alfred Ernest Frederick Yorke, second son of the seventh Earl. As of 2017[update] the titles are held by the ninth Earl's grandson, the tenth Earl, who succeeded in 1974. He is the only son of Philip Yorke, Viscount Royston (d. 1973), only son of the ninth Earl.
Numerous other members of the Yorke family have also gained distinction. The Honourable Charles Yorke, second son of the first Earl, was also Lord Chancellor of Great Britain. He was the father of 1) the third Earl, 2) Charles Philip Yorke, Home Secretary between 1803 and 1804, and 3) Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, an Admiral in the Royal Navy, who was the father of the Honourable Eliot Yorke, Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire. The Honourable Joseph Yorke, third son of the first Earl, was a soldier, politician and diplomat and was created Baron Dover in 1788. The Honourable John Yorke, fourth son of the first Earl, sat as Member of Parliament for Reigate and Higham Ferrers. The Right Reverend the Honourable James Yorke, fifth son of the first Earl, was Bishop of Ely. He was the father of 1) Joseph Yorke, who was the father of Joseph Yorke, Member of Parliament for Reigate, who was the father of John Yorke, a Conservative politician, who was the grandfather of the author Henry Green; and 2) Reverend Philip Yorke, who was the father of Colonel Philip James Yorke (1799-1874), a Fellow of the Royal Society, and Reginald Yorke (1803-1870), a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy.
Lady Jemima Yorke, wife of the second Earl, succeeded her maternal grandfather as Marchioness Grey in 1740. Lady Amabel Yorke, elder daughter of the second Earl, was created Countess de Grey in 1816 (see Marquess of Ripon). Lady Mary Yorke, younger daughter of the second Earl, was the mother of Prime Minister F. J. Robinson, 1st Earl of Ripon. Philip Yorke, Viscount Royston, eldest son of the third Earl, was Member of Parliament for Reigate. The Honourable Elliot Yorke, fourth son of the fourth Earl, was Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire. Sir William Yorke, 1st Baronet, cousin of the first Earl, was a judge in Ireland.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Philip Alexander Joseph Yorke, Viscount Royston (b. 2009).