Achieving rapid promotion as a young Member of Parliament, he was Foreign Secretary at the age of 38, before resigning in protest at Neville Chamberlains appeasement policy towards Mussolinis Italy. He again held that position for most of the Second World War, having been Winston Churchills deputy for almost 15 years, he succeeded him as Prime Minister in 1955, and a month later won a general election. Most historians argue that he made a series of blunders, especially not realising the depth of U. S. opposition to military action. Eden is generally ranked among the least successful British Prime Ministers of the 20th century, thorpe says the Suez Crisis was a truly tragic end to his premiership, and one that came to assume a disproportionate importance in any assessment of his career. Eden was born at Windlestone Hall, County Durham, England and he was born into a very conservative family of landed gentry. He was a son of Sir William Eden, 7th and 5th Baronet. Sir William, an eccentric and often foul-tempered man, was a talented watercolourist, Edens mother, Sybil Frances Grey, was a member of the famous Grey family of Northumberland. She had wanted to marry Francis Knollys, later an important Royal adviser, although she was a popular figure locally, she had a strained relationship with her children, and her profligacy ruined the family fortunes. Eden’s older brother Tim had to sell Windlestone in 1936, Rab Butler would later quip that Eden—a handsome but ill-tempered man—was half mad baronet, half beautiful woman. Edens great-grandfather was William Iremonger who commanded the 2nd Regiment of Foot during the Peninsular War, fighting under Wellington at Vimiero. He was also descended from Governor Sir Robert Eden, 1st Baronet, of Maryland, the Calvert Family of Maryland, the Schaffalitzky de Muckadell family of Denmark, and Bie family of Norway. Eden was once amused to learn one of his ancestors had, like Churchill’s ancestor the Duke of Marlborough. His mother was rumoured to have had an affair with Wyndham, Eden was educated at two independent schools. The first was Sandroyd School in Cobham from 1907 to 1910 and he then started at Eton College in January 1911. There he won a Divinity prize and excelled at cricket, rugby, Eden learned French and German on continental holidays and, at one stage, as a child spoke French better than English. g. When he met Hitler in February 1934, although Eden later claimed to have had no interest in politics until the early 1920s, his teenage letters and diaries show him to have been obsessed with the subject. By 1914 he was a member of the Eton Society, during the First World War, Edens older brother John was killed on 17 October 1914 whilst serving with the 17th Lancers. His uncle Robin was later shot down and captured whilst serving with the RFC and he was commissioned a temporary second lieutenant on 2 November 1915
Image: Sir Anthony Eden number 10 Official
The Uffizi Society Oxford, ca. 1920. First row standing: later Sir Henry Studholme (5th from left). Seated: Lord Balniel, later 28th Earl of Crawford (2nd from left); Ralph Dutton, later 8th Baron Sherborne (3rd from left); Anthony Eden, later Earl of Avon (4th from left); Lord David Cecil (5th from left).