Rowland Baring, 3rd Earl of Cromer

Rowland Baring, 3rd Earl of Cromer bigraphy, stories - British diplomat

Rowland Baring, 3rd Earl of Cromer : biography

28 July 1918 – 16 March 1991

Lieutenant-Colonel (George) Rowland Stanley Baring, 3rd Earl of Cromer, (28 July 1918 – 16 March 1991), styled Viscount Errington before 1953, was a British banker and diplomat. After serving during World War II, he was Governor of the Bank of England (1961–1966) and British Ambassador to the United States (1971–1974).


Banking and diplomatic career

After serving as private secretary to the Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon in 1938, he joined Barings Bank, founded by his ancestor Sir Francis Baring, as a clerk. After military service during the war, he was managing director of Barings between 1949 and 1959 He then served as Economic Minister at the British Embassy in Washington as well as holding executive directorships at the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Finance Corporation.

In 1961, he was appointed Governor of the Bank of England, a position he held until 1966. During his governorship, he clashed with the incoming Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, over Cromer’s desire to see government spending contained, which may have contributed to his decision not to seek a second term. He was subsequently appointed to the Privy Council. He was responsible for the Cromer Report into Lloyd’s of London.

From 1971 to 1974 he served as British Ambassador to the United States. Following his appointment he became a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, and was raised to the rank of Knight Grand Cross in 1974. He was a Governor of the pro-NATO Atlantic Institute, and a member of the Pilgrims Society executive committee.

In 1977, he was made a Knight of the Garter.

Personal life

Cromer married Esmé Mary Gabriel Harmsworth (1922–2011) in 1942, daughter of Esmond Harmsworth, 2nd Viscount Rothermere. At their wedding, she walked barefoot down the aisle to avoid appearing taller than her husband. They had three children:

  • Lana Mary Gabriel (1943–1974)
  • Evelyn Rowland Esmond (born 1946), who succeeded as 4th Earl of Cromer
  • Vivian John Rowland (born 1950), married his second cousin Lavinia Baring.

Both the Countess of Cromer and her daughter-in-law were royal attendants. Esme Harmsworth was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth II, while Lavinia Baring was a Lady-in-Waiting to Diana, Princess of Wales.

In 1964, during the period he was at the Bank of England, Cromer purchased a Fairey Huntsman 28 sports cruiser from Fairey Marine, Hamble. Bearing the name Le Reve, the vessel was taken to France. The boat still exists and details can be seen on the Fairey Owners Club website.

The 3rd Earl died on 16 March 1991 in London. Esme remarried in 1993 to Gerrit van der Woude.

Early life and military career

The eldest son of the 2nd Earl of Cromer and his wife Ruby Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, he was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he left after a year. He served with the Grenadier Guards during the Second World War, where he gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and became a Member of the Order of the British Empire.