Stanhope was a younger son who, with good connections, built a distinguished career. Queen Anne complained of his ‘insipid sloth’, Lord Hervey of his ‘infinite laziness’. But the earls of Chesterfield were distant cousins and James Stanhope, commander in Spain and briefly first minister, was another cousin. William Stanhope served in the army in Spain, and was soon given a regiment, rising to full general. In 1715 he was returned to Parliament for Derby and began a diplomatic career as ambassador to Spain. In 1730 he joined Walpole's cabinet as secretary of state, receiving a barony. His connections were with the duke of Newcastle and he survived Walpole's fall, gaining promotion to an earldom in 1742 and serving as lord president of the council 1742–5. In 1744 he resumed as secretary of state and finished his career as lord‐lieutenant of Ireland between 1746 and 1750.
Subjects: British History.