The Foreign Secretary: Two Centuries of Conflict and Personalities

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Choose your WeaponsIn their lecture, the Rt Hon Lord Hurd of Westwell CH CBE and Edward Young will examine eleven of the most colourful and controversial Foreign Secretaries of the past two centuries including: Castlereagh and Canning; Aberdeen and Palmerston; Derby; Salisbury; Edward Grey; Austen Chamberlain; Ramsay MacDonald; Anthony Eden and Ernest Bevin. They will assess how they argued, succeeded and failed, and in the process draw conclusions with enormous relevance for today. This lecture will provide a fascinating history of British political life and foreign policy as the country climbed to its peak of Empire and became for a few decades ‘chance guardian of the globe’.
The Rt Hon Lord Hurd of Westwell CH CBE was Private Secretary to Edward Heath (as Leader of the Opposition and as Prime Minister), and an MP between 1974 and 1997. He served Margaret Thatcher as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. As an author he has written thrillers and in 2002 published his autobiography, Memoirs. His highly acclaimed biography Robert Peel was published in 2007.

Edward Young gained a First in History at Cambridge and won a Mellon Scholarship to Yale where he studied history and international relations as part of the Grand Strategy Program.

An optional £10 sandwich lunch shall be available from 1215.

Following their lecture, Lord Hurd of Westwell and Edward Young will be on hand to sign copies of their book, Choose Your Weapons: The British Foreign Secretary – 200 Years of Arguments, Successes and Failures (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, February 2010), which will be on sale.

This event is open to all RUSI members. To become a member, please click here.

To attend this event, please register online using the “Book your place” button above. If you have any queries please contact Sabrina Downey, Events Director, at or call +44 (0)20 7747 2622.


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