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Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland

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Prime Minister  Stanley Baldwin
Name  Lawrence 2nd
Preceded by  Sir Samuel Hoare, Bt
Role  Politician

Monarch  George VI
Spouse  Cicely Archdale (m. 1907)
Books  The heart of Aryavarta
Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland
Monarch  George V Edward VIII George VI
Succeeded by  Office renamed Secretary of State for India and Burma
Died  February 6, 1961, Aske, United Kingdom
Education  Trinity College, Cambridge
Children  Lawrence Dundas, 3rd Marquess of Zetland, Viola Mary Dundas, Jean Agatha Dundas
Parents  Lawrence Dundas, 1st Marquess of Zetland, Lilian Lumley

Prime Minister  Neville Chamberlain

Lawrence John Lumley Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland, (11 June 1876 – 6 February 1961), styled Lord Dundas until 1892 and Earl of Ronaldshay between 1892 and 1929, was a British Conservative politician. An expert on India, he served as Secretary of State for India in the late 1930s.


Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Background and education

Zetland, born in London, was the son of Lawrence Dundas, 1st Marquess of Zetland, and Lady Lillian, daughter of Richard Lumley, 9th Earl of Scarbrough. He was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, he was a member of the University Pitt Club.

Political career

Zetland was returned to Parliament for Hornsey in 1907, a seat he held until 1916. Much of his public career centred on British India. In September 1912, he was appointed (with Lord Islington, Herbert Fisher, Mr Justice Abdur Rahim, and others) as a member of the Royal Commission on the Public Services in India of 1912–1915. He was Governor of Bengal between 1917 and 1922 and Secretary of State for India between 1935 and 1940. Although a member of the Conservative Party, his belief was that Indians should be allowed to take ever-increasing responsibility for the government of the country, culminating in Dominion status (enjoyed by Canada, Australia, and other formally self-governing parts of the British Empire).

Zetland played an important role in the protracted negotiations which led to the Government of India Act 1935, which began, subject to the implacable opposition of Winston Churchill and the "diehards" to anything that might imperil direct British rule over India, to implement those ideals.

Zetland was also an author: Rab Butler, who served as his Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the India Office, records that he asked how he could understand better his chief's thinking about the future of India and received the answer: "Read my books!" Zetland kept Butler, who had helped to pass the Government of India Act and had enjoyed great influence under Zetland's predecessor Samuel Hoare, at arm's length, requiring him to book an appointment in advance if he wanted to see him. Butler continued to serve under him for another two years, but devotes only a single paragraph to this period in his memoirs.

Zetland was ideally placed as Secretary of State for India to implement the new Act, although the two Viceroys with whom he served, Lords Willingdon and Linlithgow, were rather less idealistic than he. In the event, Willingdon and Linlithgow were proved right when the Congress Party won the 1937 Provincial elections, much to the dismay of Zetland. Zetland's term as Secretary of State — and the experiment with democracy represented by the 1935 Act — came to an end with Churchill's assumption of the Prime Ministership in 1940: Zetland then offered his resignation, feeling that his ideas and Churchill's regarding India were so different that "I could only end by becoming an embarrassment to him."

Zetland, who was known to favour good relations between the UK and Germany, was associated with the Anglo-German Fellowship during the late 1930s.

Zetland was sworn of the Privy Council in 1922 and made a Knight of the Garter in 1942. He also bore the Sword of State at the coronation of George VI in 1937 and was Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire between 1945 and 1951. He was elected President of the Royal Geographical Society in 1922.


Lord Zetland married Cicely, daughter of Mervyn Henry Archdale, on 3 December 1907 and lived at Snelsmore at Chieveley in Berkshire. Zetland died in February 1961, aged 84, and was succeeded by his son, Lawrence Dundas, 3rd Marquess of Zetland. The Marchioness of Zetland died in January 1973. They had five children:

  • Lawrence Aldred Mervyn Dundas, 3rd Marquess of Zetland (b. 12 November 1908 - d. 5 October 1989)
  • Lady Viola Mary Dundas (4 January 1910 - d. 21 March 1995)
  • Lady Lavinia Margaret Dundas (b. 31 December 1914 - d. 4 January 1974)
  • Lady Jean Agatha Dundas (b. 4 May 1916 - d. 13 May 1995) married on 2 September 1939 to Hector Lorenzo Christie.
  • Lord Bruce Thomas Dundas (b. 18 October 1920 - d. 24 February 1942), killed on active service.
  • Publications

  • The heart of Âryâvarta; a study of the psychology of Indian unrest. Constable, London, 1925
  • Lands of the Thunderbolt: Sikhim, Chumbi & Bhutan. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1923
  • The Life Of Lord Curzon. (2 vols). Ernest Benn Ltd, London, 1928
  • Book

  • Jago, Michael Rab Butler: The Best Prime Minister We Never Had?, Biteback Publishing 2015 ISBN 978-1849549202
  • References

    Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland Wikipedia