As a follow-up to my last post, I thought I’d tell you a bit more about a sexy historical George. I’m talking about George Hamilton Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen.
I’d actually never heard of him before last week when I did an image search in my quest for sexy guys named George and when I saw his picture come up—even before I knew his name—I did a double take. A sort of “Oh my goodness, who are you, and why have I never seen that face before?” type reaction. You know the one. Similar to the reaction many Lord of the Rings fans had during the first movie when Figwit flashed on the screen during the Council of Elrond.
But I digress. Back to George, er, the Earl of Aberdeen. If he looks a bit Byronic, that’s no accident. He and Lord Bryon (hey, another George) were cousins. Born in 1784, the fourth Earl of Aberdeen had a long political and diplomatic career beginning in the Regency era, serving twice as Foreign Secretary, and extending to Victoria’s reign. I wanted to say he enjoyed a long political career, but I’m not certain that’s entirely accurate. He served as Prime Minister at the outset of the Crimean War—a conflict which he tried unsuccessfully to avoid.
His personal life was also filled with tragedy. Orphaned at age eleven, he married his first wife at age 21, only to see her die within seven years. He also survived their four children. His second marriage produced five more children, at least one of whom lived long enough to succeed him, but that marriage was said to be considerably less happy than his first.
During his political career, he was said to have a “dour, awkward, occasionally sarcastic exterior.” Given my penchant for heroes with smart mouths (see Sebastian St. Vincent of Lisa Kleypas’s The Devil in Winter), this quote combined with the heavy layer of personal angst only makes him more intriguing. He was doubtless intelligent and well read, as well. Beyond his travels upon joining the Foreign Service, he, like many men of his era, became a scholar of classical civilizations. In 1822, he published a book on Grecian Architecture, and his cousin Lord Byron referred to him as an Athenian. In 1827, he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen and also served as President of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
An all-round Renaissance man. What’s not sexy about that?