The Earl of Albemarle
Viscount Bury, by Carlo Pellegrini, 1875.
Under-Secretary of State for War
In office
4 March 1878 – 21 April 1880
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Beaconsfield
Preceded byThe Earl Cadogan
Succeeded byThe Earl of Morley
In office
26 June 1885 – 28 June 1886
Prime MinisterThe Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded byThe Earl of Morley
Succeeded byThe Lord Sandhurst
Personal details
William Coutts Keppel

15 April 1832
London, England
Died28 August 1894(1894-08-28) (aged 62)
Political party
Sophia MacNab
(m. 1855)

Lieutenant-Colonel William Coutts Keppel, 7th Earl of Albemarle, KCMG, PC, MP, ADC (15 April 1832 - 28 August 1894), styled Viscount Bury between 1851 and 1891, was a British soldier and politician. He served in the British Army before entering Parliament in 1857. Initially a Liberal, he served as Treasurer of the Household between 1859 and 1866 in the Liberal administrations headed by Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell. He later switched to the Conservatives and held office as Under-Secretary of State for War under Lord Beaconsfield between 1878 and 1880 and under Lord Salisbury between 1885 and 1886.

Lord Albemarle was sixth in direct line of descent from King Charles II, and he was the great-great-grandfather of Queen Camilla.

Early life

Keppel was born in London, England on 15 April 1832. He was the only son of General George Keppel, 6th Earl of Albemarle, by his wife Susan Coutts Trotter, daughter of Sir Coutts Trotter, 1st Baronet of Westville.

He was educated at Eton. He became known by the courtesy title Viscount Bury when his father succeeded in the earldom of Albemarle in 1851.[1]


Keppel became an ensign and lieutenant in the 43rd (Regiment of) Foot in 1843, a lieutenant in the Scots Guards in 1848 and an Aide-de-camp to Lord Frederick FitzClarence in India in 1853. From 1854 until 1856, he was Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Canada.[1]

He raised the 21st Middlesex Rifles Volunteer Corps (Civil Service Rifles) in 1860.

Political career

Initially a Liberal, Lord Bury was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Norwich in 1857,[2] and later represented Wick Burghs from 1860 to 1865[3] and Berwick-upon-Tweed from 1868 to 1874.[4] In 1859 he was sworn of the Privy Council[5] and appointed Treasurer of the Household of Queen Victoria, under Lord Palmerston,[6] a post he held until 1866, the last year under the premiership of Lord Russell.[7] In 1870, he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.[8] On 6 September 1876 he was summoned to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in his father's barony of Ashford.[9]

Two years later Lord Bury was appointed Under-Secretary of State for War in Lord Beaconsfield's Conservative administration which he remained until the government fell in 1880. In 1881, he became a Volunteer Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the Queen. He was once again Under-Secretary of State for War from 1885 to 1886 under Lord Salisbury.

He wrote a history of the American colonization called Exodus of the Western Nations (1865), A Report on the Condition of the Indians of British North America, and was the principal author, with George Lacy Hillier, of the Cycling volume of the Badminton Library (1887). In 1891 he succeeded his father in the earldom.[1]

Personal life

Sophia Keppel, Countess of Albemarle

Lord Albemarle married Sophia Mary MacNab at Dundurn Castle, Hamilton, Canada, on 15 November 1855. MacNab was the daughter of Allan MacNab, a Joint Premier of the Province of Canada, and a descendant of Loyalist Ephraim Jones. [10] Together, they had ten children:[11]

Lord Albemarle was received into the Roman Catholic Church on Easter Sunday, 13 April 1879. He died in August 1894, aged 62, of paralysis, and was buried at Quidenham in Norfolk. His eldest son Arnold succeeded in the earldom. The Countess of Albemarle died in April 1917, aged 84.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d William Coutts Keppel, 7th Earl of Albemarle
  2. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "N" (part 3)
  3. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 3)
  4. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "B" (part 2)
  5. ^ "No. 22283". The London Gazette. 8 July 1859. p. 2628.
  6. ^ "No. 22280". The London Gazette. 28 June 1859. p. 2513.
  7. ^ "No. 23115". The London Gazette. 11 May 1866. p. 2899.
  8. ^ "No. 23649". The London Gazette. 26 August 1870. p. 3947.
  9. ^ "No. 24360". The London Gazette. 5 September 1876. p. 4867.
  10. ^ Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 6.
  11. ^ "Albemarle, Earl of (E, 1696/7)". Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 25 August 2019.