Nicholas Eden

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Person.png Nicholas Eden  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(soldier, politician)
No image available (photo).jpg
Born3 October 1930
Died17 August 1985 (Age 54)
Cause of death
AIDS, meningoencephalitis
Alma materat Ludgrove School, Eton College
Parents • Anthony Eden
• Beatrice Beckett
Son of UK PM Anthony Eden

Nicholas Eden, 2nd Earl of Avon was a British Army officer and, later, a Conservative politician. He was the younger son of Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden and his first wife, Beatrice (née Beckett).


Eden was educated at Ludgrove School[1] and Eton College.[2] Called up for National Service, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, his father's former regiment, on 20 May 1950.[3] He transferred to a Territorial Army commission with effect from 6 August 1953, in the same rank (seniority from 20 May 1950), and was promoted to acting lieutenant from the same date (seniority from 17 January 1952).[4] He was ADC to the Governor General of Canada from 1952 to 1953.[2] He was promoted to acting captain on 1 March 1956,[5] to the substantive rank on 3 October 1957 (seniority from 1 March 1956),[6] to acting major on 1 November 1959 and to substantive major on 3 October 1964 (seniority from 1 November 1959.[7][8] He was awarded the Territorial Decoration (TD) in 1965[2] and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1970 New Year Honours for his military service. Regimentally within the Territorial Army he served from 1953 with Queen Victoria's Rifles and from 1961 to 1970 its successor the Queen's Royal Rifles.[2] He was appointed an ADC (TAVR) to the Queen in 1978.[2]

He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the Greater London county in 1973 and Vice Chairman of the Greater London TAVR Association.[2]

Eden succeeded to the earldom on the death of his father in 1977, his elder brother Pilot Officer Simon Gascoigne Eden having been killed in action in June 1945, while serving as a navigator with the RAF in Burma.[9]

Government service

Having risen to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Green Jackets, Lord Avon served under Margaret Thatcher as British Parliamentary delegate to the North Atlantic Assembly from 1979,[2] a Lord-in-waiting from 1980 to 1983, as Under-Secretary of State for Energy from 1983 to 1984 and as Under-Secretary of State for the Environment from 1984 until his resignation because of ill health in March 1985, shortly before his death.[10]

Personal life

Widely known to have been homosexual,[11] Lord Avon was unmarried and died from complications related to AIDS, or the treatment of AIDS, at the age of 54.[10] The cause of death on the death certificate was stated as meningoencephalitis or "inflammation of the brain."[12] Upon his death, his titles became extinct.[11] At the time of his death, The News of the World identified a man "listed as authorizing cremation of Avon’s body as an antiques dealer who lived with Avon in Holland Park."[12]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/197927 April 197929 April 1979Austria
Clubhotel Schloss Weikersdorf
27th Bilderberg, 95 guests, Austria
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