The Earl of Munster
Lord Lieutenant of Surrey
In office
Preceded bySir Robert Haining
Succeeded byThe Lord Hamilton of Dalzell
Ministerial offices 1938-57
Minister without Portfolio
In office
Prime MinisterAnthony Eden
Winston Churchill
Preceded byArthur Greenwood
Succeeded byThe Lord Bancroft
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThomas Fotheringham-Cook
Succeeded byThe Lord Lloyd
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
In office
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byOsbert Peake
Succeeded byGeorge Oliver
Parliamentary Secretary for India and Burma
In office
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThe Duke of Devonshire
Succeeded byThe Earl of Listowel
Under-Secretary of State for War
In office
January 1939 – September 1939
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Preceded byThe Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal
Succeeded byThe Viscount Cobham
Paymaster General
In office
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Preceded byThe Lord Hutchison of Montrose
Succeeded byThe Earl Winterton
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
1928 – 1975
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byAubrey FitzClarence, 4th Earl of Munster
Succeeded byEdward FitzClarence, 6th Earl of Munster
Personal details
Geoffrey William Richard Hugh FitzClarence

(1906-02-17)17 February 1906
Died26 August 1975(1975-08-26) (aged 69)
Political partyConservative
(m. 1928)
Parent(s)The Hon. Harold FitzClarence
Frances Keppel
EducationCharterhouse School

Geoffrey William Richard Hugh FitzClarence, 5th Earl of Munster, KBE, PC (17 February 1906 – 26 August 1975) was a British peer and Conservative politician.


Munster was the son of Major the Honourable Harold Edward FitzClarence (seventh son of William FitzClarence, 2nd Earl of Munster and Wilhelmina FitzClarence, Countess of Munster) and his wife, Frances Isabel Eleanor (née Keppel) (1874–1951). Through the line of his paternal grandfather, he was a great-great-grandson of William IV, King of the United Kingdom and Hanover. His mother's paternal grandfather, Rev. William Arnold Walpole Keppel, was a male-line great-grandson of Willem van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle.[1]

Geoffrey Munster was educated at Charterhouse School.[2]

Political career

Munster succeeded his uncle as fifth Earl of Munster in 1928 and took his seat on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords. In 1934, he was appointed a Lord-in-waiting (government whip in the House of Lords) in the National Government of Ramsay MacDonald, a post he held until 1938, the last three years under the premiership firstly of Stanley Baldwin and secondly of Neville Chamberlain. In June 1938, Chamberlain appointed Munster Paymaster General, an office he held until February 1939, when he was made Under-Secretary of State for War. He remained in this position until September 1939.[2]

Munster returned to the government in January 1943 when Winston Churchill appointed him Parliamentary Secretary for India and Burma, a post he held until October 1944, and then served as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department until July 1945 when Labour came to power. When Churchill became Prime Minister for a second time in 1951, Munster was appointed Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, an office he retained until 1954, and was then Minister without Portfolio between 1954 and 1957. In 1954, he was admitted to the Privy Council.


Apart from his political career, Lord Munster was also Lord Lieutenant of Surrey from 1957 to 1973. In 1957 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)[3]

Personal life

The family's estate in the Greensand Ridge in the parish of Bletchingley in Surrey

Lord Munster married Hilary Wilson in 1928. Lord Munster died in August 1975, aged 69, and was succeeded in his titles by his second cousin, Edward Charles FitzClarence, 6th Earl of Munster.[2]

Hilary FitzClarence, Countess of Munster, was an accomplished musician who founded the Countess of Munster Musical Trust in 1958. She died in 1979[4] at Sandhills, Bletchingley. Her estate was sworn for probate as £799,392 (equivalent to £4,300,000 in 2021). The house which had at the time more than 10 acres was built in 1893 by Mervyn Macartney in free Tudor style and is protected under UK law with Grade II listing.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ Frances Isabel Eleanor Keppel
  2. ^ a b c "The Earl of Munster". The Times. No. 59487. London. 29 August 1975. p. 14.
  3. ^ London Gazette, 13 June 1957, page 3377
  4. ^ "About the Trust". The Countess of Munster Musical Trust. 20 December 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  5. ^ "History of the Trust". Countess of Munster Musical Trust. Archived from the original on 12 August 2013.
  6. ^ England and Wales Probate Calendar for 1980 page 6170
  7. ^ Historic England. "Sandhills, including entrance walls to front (Grade II) (1204642)". National Heritage List for England.