Politicians and Statesmen

This is just a sample of some of the famous politicians and statesmen known to have Hatfield connections or have visited Hatfield. Given the number of distinguished people involved, Royalty have been recorded in a separate section. Also, as most – if not all – British Prime Ministers have visited Hatfield only a select few are recorded here.


Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington – the hero of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's nemesis, later Prime Minister, was a regular visitor to Hatfield. He even had six of his horses stabled here so that he could hunt with the Hatfield hounds.


Li Hongzhang (Li Hung-Chang) – Chinese 19th Century statesman. An associate of General Gordon, he is credited with having a major impact on Chinese commerce and industry. For a long time he conducted China's relationship with the West, and it was during a state visit that he attended a Garden Party held in his honour at Hatfield House in August 1896. Special trains were arranged to bring the dignitaries, including main ambassadors to and from Hatfield.


William Lamb – 2nd Viscount Melbourne and Queen Victoria's first Prime Minister. Twice appointed Prime Minister. His family were resident at Brocket Hall, Lemsford, Hatfield. Melbourne in Australia's Victoria State is named after him.


Henry John Temple – 3rd Viscount Palmerston, married Emily (widow of the 5th Earl of Cowper, and sister of William Lamb) in 1839. Served as Foreign Secretary before becoming another of Queen Victoria's Prime Ministers. He served his first term 1851-58, and died in office, at Brocket Hall, during his second term in 1865.


Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne Cecil – 3rd Marquis of Salisbury and Queen Victoria's last Prime Minister. The man whose statue can be seen outside the gates of Hatfield House. Served three terms as Prime Minister and four as Foreign Secretary - truly one of the giants of the Victorian era. Salisbury, the capital of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), was named after him. Was succeeded as Prime Minister by his nephew Arthur Balfour.


Mr Nothin, Governor-General of Stockholm visited Hatfield as part of the 1934 Swedish Commission in England.


Ramsay MacDonald first Labour Party Prime Minister in 1924; re-elected in 1929(-31). He offered to resign in 1931 but was asked by King George V to head a coalition government with the Conservatives and Liberals. He finally stood down as Prime Minister on 7 June 1935. On 3 August he flew from Hatfield, with his daughter, to his home town of Lossiemouth for a six week holiday. He died at sea in 1937 while on a voyage to South America.


Sir Winston Spencer Churchill – his father Randolph was in the Marquess of Salisbury's government, and mother Jennie was a resident of Salisbury Hall. As First Sea Lord of the Admiralty he attended the field trials of the first tank during WWI at Hatfield (at one stage the Navy were leading on its development and called them landships). As Prime Minister he attended a demonstration of new aircraft at Hatfield (apart from the DH.98 Mosquito he also saw Britain's first jet the Gloster E.28/40) during WWII.


Sir Harold Macmillan (Later Earl of Stockton) – opened the first completed housing project by the Welwyn Hatfield Development Corporation in Hatfield in 1952. He was Minister for Housing and Local Government in Sir Winston Churchill's last government at the time. He he went on to serve as Minister for Defence; Foreign Secretary; and Chancellor of the Exchequer; before becoming Prime Minister (1957-63).


Tunku Abdul Rahman, Prime Minister of Malaysia – visited the Hawker Siddeley factory at Hatfield in Spring 1969.


Pai Hsiang-kuo, Chinese Minister for Foreign Trade visited the Hawker Siddeley factory at Hatfield in 1973.


Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (1984-89), grandson of Pundit Nehru and son of Indira Gandhi – visited the British Aerospace factory at Hatfield in October 1985.


Lech Walesa, President of Poland (1990-95) – the 1983 Noble Peace Prize Winner attended a private meeting at Hatfield on Thursday, 31 March, and a public one on Friday, 1 April 2011.

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