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Ian Gilmour

Ian Gilmour Autobiography front coverIan Gilmour
Ian Gilmour’s autobiography covers his life up Suez in 1956, but sadly does not cover the remaining part of his fascinating life. A foreword and afterword by his son, the author David Gimour, put his life into context and cover the missing parts of his career, not included in this memoir. He was an important social liberal and an inspired editor of The Spectator.

Ian Gilmour was the son of stockbroker Lieutenant Colonel Sir John Gilmour, 2nd Baronet and his wife, Victoria, a granddaughter of the 5th Earl of Cadogan. His parents divorced in 1929, and his father married Mary, the eldest daughter of the 3rd Duke of Abercorn. The family had land in Scotland and he inherited a substantial estate and shares from his grandfather, Admiral of the Fleet, the Hon. Sir Herdworth Meux.
He was educated at Eton and read history at Balliol College, Oxford. He served with the Grenadier Guards 1944 to 1947 and was called to the bar at Inner Temple in 1952 and became a tenant in the chambers of Quintin Hogg. He acquired The Spectator in 1959, which he claimed was the wisest choice he made and was its editor from 1954 to 1959. His editorship of the magazine is seen as one of the highlights of that paper’s long history.

On 10 July 1951, Gilmour married Lady Caroline Margaret Montagu-Douglas-Scott, the youngest daughter of the 8th Duke of Buccleuch. Their wedding was attended by Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), and the future Elizabeth II. They lived in the grounds of Syon Park in London, with a house in Tuscany and had four sons and one daughter.
He was elected as Member of Parliament in 1962, sitting as its MP from 1974 until his retirement in 1992. He held several junior posts under Edward Heath, becoming Secretary of Defence. Under Margaret Thatcher he served as Lord Privy Seal from 1979-81, becoming a life peer in 1992. In parliament, he was a social liberal, voting to abolish the death penalty, and legalise abortion and homosexuality. He also supported the campaign to join the EEC. He was a ‘one nation’ politician, a social liberal, and was identified by Thatcher as a ‘wet’.

In 2004 his wife died and Ian Gilmour died in 2007, aged 81.

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