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Robert John Graham Boothby, Baron Boothby

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Robert John Graham Boothby, Baron Boothby, KBE (also known as Bob Boothby) (1900 February 121986 July 16) was a British Conservative politician.

The only son of Sir Robert Tuite Boothby, KBE, of Edinburgh and a cousin of the broadcaster Sir Ludovic Kennedy, Boothby was educated at Eton College and at Magdalen College, Oxford. He became a partner in a firm of stockbrokers.

He was an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate for Orkney and Shetland in 1923 and was elected as Member of Parliament for East Aberdeenshire in 1924, holding the seat until 1958. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Winston Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1926 to 1929 and held junior ministerial office as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food in 1940–41. During World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, retiring with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

Boothby advocated the UK's entry into the European Community (now the European Union) and was a British delegate to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1949 until 1957. He was a prominent commentator on public affairs on radio and television. He also advocated the virtues of herring as a food.

He was Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Economic Affairs, 1952–56; Honorary President of the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture, 1934, Rector of St Andrew's University , 1958–61; Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1961–63, and President, Anglo-Israel Association, 1962–75. He was awarded an Honorary LLD by St Andrew's, 1959 and was made an Honorary Burgess of the Burghs of Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Turriff and Rosehearty. He was appointed an Officer of the Legion of Honour in 1950, a KBE in 1953.

Boothby was raised to the peerage as a life peer with the title Baron Boothby of Buchan and Rattray Head in the County of Aberdeen, on 22 August 1958.

There is a blue plaque on his house in Eaton Square, London.

Private life[edit]

Boothby had a colourful, if reasonably discreet private life. He was described as "a bounder but not a cad" by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.[1] He was twice married; in 1935 to Diana Cavendish (marriage dissolved in 1937) and in 1967 to Wanda Sanna. He also had a long affair with Dorothy Macmillan, wife of his fellow Conservative politician Harold Macmillan and they had a daughter Sarah, who was raised by the Macmillans as their own daughter.[unverified] He also had an alleged homosexual relationship with Ronald Kray, one of the notorious Kray brothers. The writer and broadcaster Sir Ludovic Kennedy has said "... to my certain knowledge he [Boothby] fathered at least three children by the wives of other men (two by one woman, one by another)."[unverified]

After his death his ashes were scattered at Rattray Head near Crimond, Aberdeenshire.


Cited references[edit]

  1. Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9


  • The New Economy, 1943;
  • I Fight to Live, 1947;
  • My Yesterday, Your Tomorrow, 1962;
  • Boothby: recollections of a rebel, 1978.

This article is based on a GNU FDL LGBT Wikia article: Boothby, Baron Boothby Robert Boothby, Baron Boothby LGBT