William Waldegrave Palmer, Second Earl of Selborne

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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE William Waldegrave Palmer, Second Earl of Selborne, K.G., G.C.M.G., D.C.L., L.L.D., P.C. (17 October 1859 – 26 February, 1942) was a Conservative Unionist politician who served as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1900 to 1905.

Life & Career

First Lord of the Admiralty

The Permanent Secretary, Sir Evan MacGregor, in a 1902 letter to the Commander-in-Chief on the China Station, Sir Cyprian A. G. Bridge, wrote of Selborne:

The First Lord works very hard and is very pleasant to serve under I find. Of course it takes some time for any new comer to appreciate the traditions and customs of the Service.[1]

The German Naval Attaché in London, von Coerper, wrote to Tirpitz that Selborne:

is easily influenced by men whom he has recognised as efficient … he is entirely subservient to the influence of Sir John Fisher and subscribes blindly to his proposals.[2]

South Africa and After


  • "Earl of Selborne" (Obituaries). The Times. Friday, 27 February, 1942. Issue 49171, col D, p. 7.
  • Boyce, D. George. Ed. (1990). The Crisis of British Power: The Imperial and Naval Papers of the Second Earl of Selborne, 1895-1910. London: The Historians' Press. ISBN 0950890081.


See Also

Political Appointments
Preceded by
The Rt. Hon. George J. Goschen
First Lord of the Admiralty
1900 – 1905
Succeeded by
The Rt. Hon. The Earl Cawdor


  1. MacGregor to Bridge. Letter of 1 January, 1902. Bridge Papers. National Maritime Museum. BRI/15. Part 1.
  2. Letter of 25 January, 1905. Quoted in Marder. pp. 21-22.