A few things about Lord Salisbury and his Swedish relatives

This story appeared on 21 April 1901 in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter

Rumour has it that Queen Victoria's last prime minister, Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury1, would be considering retiring from political life in the near future. Admittedly, there is still nothing actual regarding the realization of this plan, but everything indicates that the elderly statesman, who last year entered his 71st year of life, now really wishes to enjoy a well-deserved "retirement".

Indeed, there has always been a tenacious flame in the gentlemen of the Cecil family, and neither the progenitor, William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, the faithful servant of the great Elizabeth and all in all, nor his son, Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, who played the same part with King James I Stuart, released the helm of state from his hands until it was wrenched from it by death, after father and son had held it for an uninterrupted period of more than half a century (1558-1612). And probably the current representative of the family would have proved to be in line with the family tradition even in the indicated respect, if not, according to what it sounds like, the grief of the husband who was pushed away from his side a year ago to a significant extent his power. It had been anything but a "reasoning party" that the young Lord Robert Cecil entered into in 1857 with a poor farmer's daughter. That party caused him trouble with the entire proud family, and he was not fully reconciled with his father until three years before his death, when in 1865, on the death of his elder brother, he became presumptive heir to the title of marquis.

It has been said that a more genuinely British type of statesman can scarcely be imagined than the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury. There is nothing of the Semite Disraeli-Beaconsfield in him wild, half-fantastic ideas, none of the impulsive flair of the Celtic Gladstone. Lord Salisbury has the most prominently drew an unshakable calm, a rock-solid conviction that England is and always will remain No. 1 and that, as one biographer slightly jokingly says, the Cecil family is just as indisputably England's No. 1. The former conviction was certainly already in his ancestor in the 10th line, William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, when he defied Philip II's armada and the conviction of the Cecil family's importance and predestination to lead the destinies of England could not but offer itself unsought to the lord of Hatfield, when he in its famous portrait gallery is met by 10 generations of Cecil family features, all painting about entries in England's history.

William Cecil became Elizabeth's first minister as early as her accession to the throne in 1563 and remained in his post until his death forty years later, in 1598. In 1571 he had been created Lord Burleigh. His elder son, Thomas Cecil, became in 1605 earl of Exeter, and that branch won the marquisate in 1801, the younger son again. Robert Cecil, inherited his father's position as leader of England's foreign policy first during Elizabeth's last years, then under King James I until his death in 1612. He had in 1605 been raised to the earldom of Salisbury, and his grandson's grandson's grandson, the 7th earl, became marquess in 1789. He became the grandfather of the current Marquis.

The Marquis of Salisbury is always in the habit of boasting that his family, both in its own origin and in all its matrimonial relations, has been and is so exclusively British. But precisely for this reason we could not help but find it rather piquant that the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury, widow after the present prime minister's father and remarriage with the earl of Exeter, is also with his children a descendant of old Stockholm merchant families during the 16th and 18th centuries as well as richly endowed with numerous Swedish families and individuals, still in life.

The Marquis of Salisbury's father married 2ndly Lady Mary Catherine West2, and her grandmother (married in 1783 to John Richard West, 4th Earl De la Warr) was born Katarina Leijel and belonged to the oldest of the three noble families of this name which was introduced at our knight's house in 1719. In the middle of the 17th century, three Scottish Lyell brothers moved to Stockholm (that's how the name was written in Scotland), who won great wealth here, became among Stockholm's leading merchants and bought Älvkarleby mill, etc. They each had a son, who was ennobled in 1716 and 1717 and was introduced in 1719. One of these, Adam Leijel (that's how the name was written at the introduction to the house of knights) married a daughter of another settled rich merchant, Johan Lohe, German by birth. However, their son, Henrik Leijel, received a large inheritance in England, which led him to sell all the larger Leijel estates in Södermanland and move to England. The sold estates were purchased for the most part by a Celsing and are currently fideicommission within this family. Henrik Leijel became the father of the aforementioned Katarina Leijel, who, as said, in 1783 married the 4th Earl De la Warr in England, became a widow in 1795 and died only in 1826. And a granddaughter of hers is, as said, the dowager Marchioness of Salisbury, among whose children are marked besides the Prime Minister's two youngest brothers also the consort of the Earl of Galloway. A brother of the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury is the father of the present (8th) Earl De la Warr, while a sister was married to 9th Duke of Bedford (widow 1891 and died 1897) and mother of the present Duke and of the former British Ambassador in Berlin's wife, Lady Malet.

In Sweden, the noble families of Leijel are now extinct on the sword side, but one female member still lives, Miss Henriette Leijel. But on the female side there are numerous descendants of the families Leijel and Lohe, blood relatives of the Dowager Marchioness Salisbury and her children. We mention among these the entire Odelstiena family, Mrs. Pantzerhielm, born Odelstiena, with sons, a Tham family in Gothenburg, the Swedish-Norwegian minister in Berlin Count Taube with siblings (among them the late commandant) and their children, widow Skjöldebrand to Norway's fideicommiss with children and grandchildren, most of the Rinman family, ditto of the Fant family, etc.

Yes, thus we see that even the aged British statesman of the "house Cecil" despite his own and his family's exclusive British acquaintance, nevertheless does not lack family relations within our country as well and as a little aside, it can have a kind of curiosity interest at the moment.



This story appeared on 21 April 1901 in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Robert Cecil (1830-1903) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom three times between 1885 and 1902.

2 Lady Mary Catherine Sackville-West (1824-1900) married the 2nd marquess of Salisburyjn 1847. She was the grand-daughter of the 4th Earl De la Warr and Catherine Lyell.