Henry Howard, 12th Earl of Suffolk

British politician

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The Earl of Suffolk

Henry Howard, Painting by Joshua Reynolds, c. 1770s
Lord Privy Seal
In office
22 January 1771 – 12 June 1771
Preceded by The Earl of Halifax
Succeeded by The Duke of Grafton
Personal details
Born (1739-05-16)16 May 1739
Died 7 March 1779(1779-03-07) (aged 39)

Henry Howard, 12th Earl of Suffolk, 5th Earl of Berkshire, KG, PC (16 May 1739 – 7 March 1779), was a British politician, styled Viscount Andover from 1756 to 1757.

Educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford, he succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Suffolk in 1757. He was awarded a MA degree from Oxford in 1759 and a DCL degree in 1761. He was High Steward of Malmesbury from 1763 to 1767, and Deputy Earl Marshal from 1763 to 1765. On 25 May 1764, he married Hon. Maria Constantia Hampden-Trevor, daughter of Robert Hampden-Trevor, 1st Viscount Hampden, who died on 7 February 1767 giving birth to their only child:

  • Maria Constantia Howard (7 February 1767 – 21 July 1775)

In 1771, he was appointed a Privy Counsellor (PC) and briefly served as Lord Privy Seal before becoming Secretary of State for the Northern Department under Lord North from 1771 to 1779. In this capacity, he secured the use of Hessian and Hanoverian mercenaries to help suppress the American Revolution. In the same capacity he helped to secure the survival of Sweden as an independent nation by counteracting Russia‘s plan to undo the Revolution of Gustavus III in 1772. He was made a Knight of the Garter (KG) in 1778.

On 14 August 1777, Suffolk married Lady Charlotte Finch, daughter of Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Aylesford, by whom he had two children:

He died on 7 March 1779; his posthumous son Henry succeeded him for two days in August.

He is buried in Charlton Church, Wiltshire, together with his first wife.


Political offices
Preceded by

Deputy Earl Marshal
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Northern Secretary
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Leader of the House of Lords
Succeeded by

Peerage of England
Preceded by

Earl of Suffolk,
Earl of Berkshire

Succeeded by

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