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Reginald Baliol Brett, 2d Viscount Esher
(June 30, 1852 - January 22, 1930) U.K.

Viscount Esher

General, historian and government official


After sitting in Parliament (1880-1885) as a Liberal, he thereafter preferred to exercise his influence from behind the scenes and withdrew from active politics. He succeeded to the peerage in 1899. As deputy governor (later governor) of Windsor Castle (1901-1930), he was close to the royal family for 30 years.

He was given access to Queen Victoria's papers, from which he edited, with A. C. Benson, The Correspondence of Queen Victoria (1907). He was offered many public offices, among them the viceroyalty of India and the secretaryship for war, but refused them all. His most important service was in the furtherance of army reforms before World War I. He wrote works on King Edward VII (1914) and Lord Kitchener (1921).

Inspired by his teacher and close friend William Johnson Cory, Brett engaged the fifteen year old Ernlé in a romantic but possibly chaste mentorship of many years duration starting in 1874. According to the book "Who's who in World War One" by J. M. Bourne, is said that Brett "was a promiscuous and predatory homosexual."


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