The Earl of Essex
Portrait of Lord Essex, by George Knapton, c. 1735
Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire
In office
Preceded byThe 1st Earl Cowper
Succeeded byThe 2nd Earl Cowper
Personal details
William Capell

(1697-01-11)11 January 1697
Died8 January 1743(1743-01-08) (aged 45)
(m. 1718; died 1724)

(m. 1726; his death 1743)
ChildrenLady Charlotte Capell
Lady Mary Capell
William Capell, 4th Earl of Essex
Parent(s)Algernon Capell, 2nd Earl of Essex
Lady Mary Bentinck

William Capell, 3rd Earl of Essex, KG PC (11 January 1697 – 8 January 1743) was an English courtier and diplomat.[1]

Early life

He was the son of the 2nd Earl of Essex and Lady Mary Bentinck.[2] His younger sister, Lady Mary Capel, married Alan Brodrick, 2nd Viscount Midleton. After his father's death, his mother remarried to Rt. Hon. Sir Conyers Darcy (d. 1758), son of Hon. John Darcy.[3]

His paternal grandparents were Arthur Capell, 1st Earl of Essex and Lady Elizabeth Percy (a daughter of Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland). His mother was the eldest daughter of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland and Anne Villiers (the fourth daughter, by his first wife, of Sir Edward Villiers, Knight Marshal of the Royal Household).[3]


Capell was one of the founding governors of the charity, the Foundling Hospital, created in October 1739 to care for abandoned children.[4]

Lord Essex was a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales from c. 1718 to 1727; Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire from 1722 to c. 1742. He was made a Knight of the Thistle on 2 February 1724 but resigned in 1738. He served as Ranger of St James's Park from 1727 to 1739 and Ranger of Hyde Park from 1728 to 1739.[3]

He served as the British Ambassador to Turin from 1732 to 1737. He was made a Privy Councillor c. 1734, a Knight of the Garter c. 1737, and was Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard from 1739 until his death in 1743.[3]

Personal life

On 27 November 1718, Capell married Lady Jane Hyde, a Lady of the Bedchamber to the Princess of Wales and the third daughter of the 4th Earl of Clarendon. Before Lady Jane died in 1724, they were the parents of two children:[3]

On 3 February 1726, William was married to Lady Elizabeth Russell, a daughter of the 2nd Duke of Bedford and the former Elizabeth Howland (daughter and heiress of John Howland of Streatham). Together, they had one surviving son:[3]

Lord Essex died on 8 January 1743. His titles and estates were inherited by his ten-year-old son, William.[3]


Through his second daughter, he was a grandfather of two girls, Maria Eleanor Forbes who married John Villiers, 3rd Earl of Clarendon, and Katherine Elizabeth Forbes who married William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington.


  1. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1887). "Capel, William" . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 9. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. ^ "Algernon Capel, 2nd Earl of Essex". National Portrait Gallery, London. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Essex, Earl of (E, 1661)". Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  4. ^ Cassiobury Collection, Watford Museum.

 "Capel, William". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Political offices Preceded byThe Duke of Manchester Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard 1739–1743 Succeeded byThe Lord Berkeley of Stratton Honorary titles Preceded byThe 1st Earl Cowper Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire 1722–1743 VacantTitle next held byThe 2nd Earl Cowper Peerage of England Preceded byAlgernon Capell Earl of Essex 1710–1743 Succeeded byWilliam Capell