HARDINGE, Lord CHARLES, First Baron Hardinge of Penshurst, (b. London, 1858, d. Penshurst, Kent, 1944.) Charles, the second son of Viscount Hardinge, entered the British Diplomatic Service in 1880 after attending Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge. Able, well-connected, and a friend of King Edward VII, he rose rapidly after a slow start to high office: he held the positions of Ambassador to Russia (1904-06), Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office (1906-10), Viceroy of India (1910-16), Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office again (1916-20) and Ambassador to France (1920-22). He was deeply involved, first in St. Petersburg then in London, in the negotiation of the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907.
The turning point in Hardinge’s career had been his fifteen months as First Secretary at the British Legation in Tehran when, as chargé d’affaires from February 1897 to March 1898, he won the good opinion of Lord Salisbury, the Prime Minister, and others for his part in settling a number of outstanding issues. He was knighted in 1904, raised to the peerage in 1910, and made a Knight of the Garter in 1916.
Archives: Hardinge papers, U927, 2348, Cambridge University Library. Correspondence with C. Spring Rice, CASR, Cambridge University Library. Foreign Office Papers, esp. FO800/192, Public Record Office, Kew, UK. H. Rumbold Papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford. Oriental and India Office Collections, British Library.
Published works. Briton Cooper Busch, Hardinge of Penshurst, South Bend, Ind., 1980.
Charles Hardinge, Old Diplomacy: The Reminiscences of Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, London, 1947.
Idem, On Hill and Plain, London, 1933.
Idem, My Indian Years 1910-1916, London, 1948.
Idem, Speeches of Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, 3 vols., Calcutta, 1913-16.
Leopold G. Wickham Legg and Edgar T. Williams, eds., Dictionary of National Biography 1941-50, Oxford, 1959.
The Times (Obituaries), London, 3 and 7 August 1944.
Originally Published: December 15, 2003
Last Updated: March 6, 2012
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Vol. XI, Fasc. 6, p. 671