Archibald Gavin Hamilton,
Baron Hamilton Of Epsom
Archibald Gavin Hamilton
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum
I think we are probably allowed to call him Archie, since that is how he is referred to more often than not. He was born on 30 December 1941 at Beckington Castle, Beckington, Somerset, son of John d'Henin Hamilton (1911-90), who succeeded to the barony of Dalzell, Lanarkshire in 1952. For all the Scottish connections, John lived in Surrey for many years and was Lord Lieutenant from 1973 until 1986. He served in the Coldstream Guards during the Second World War and was awarded the MC; he was also a Lord in Waiting to the present Queen. Archie's mother was Rosemary Olive Coke (1910-93).
Archie was educated at Eton and followed his father into the Coldstream Guards (1960-62); he was a Conservative councillor in Kensington and Chelsea from 1868-71. Why he then decided to stand as a candidate in the Labour stronghold of Dagenham in the two general Elections held in 1974 is something known only to him, but he was virtually annihilated on both occasions. However, when Sir Peter Rawlinson
was elevated to the peerage in 1978 Archie contested the by-election in Epsom & Ewell and romped home by 28,242 votes to Labour's 7,314. He held the seat until he retired from Parliament in 2001 and was created Baron Hamilton of Epsom in 2005.
He was a Junior Minister at the Ministry of Defence for most of the period from 1986-93, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Margaret Thatcher from 1987 to 1988 and Chairman of the 1922 Committee from 1997 until 2001. Archie has had various company directorships and owns property in both Devon and Surrey. He currently sits in the House of Lords and is a Trustee of the National Army Museum.
He married Anne Catherine Napier (born 1940 Devon) in 1968 and they have three daughters - Laura Katherine, Iona Janet and Alice Rose Alethea. Anne is the daughter of Commander Trevylyan Michael Napier DSC, RN and the poet and author Priscilla Hayter. Commander Napier, born 1901, was a career naval officer and was awarded the DSC for gallantry and resource in operations on the coast of Norway during the Second World War. Whilst commanding the destroyer HMS Jackal he became ill, but refused to go on sick leave - he died on 30 August 1940 of septic endocarditis. Priscilla (born 1908) was left with two young children and her third, Anne, was born a few days after Commander Napier's death. Priscilla was struggling financially but started a career in writing, producing books about the Napier ancestors, poetry and an autobiography; she died in 1998.