Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy

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The Lord Fermoy
Maurice Roche 2163448066 13967c95e5 o EDIT.jpg
Edmund Maurice Burke Roche

(1885-05-15)15 May 1885
Chelsea, London
Died8 July 1955(1955-07-08) (aged 70)
EducationHarvard University
Known forMaternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales
Title4th Baron Fermoy
Predecessor3rd Baron Fermoy
Successor5th Baron Fermoy
(m. 1931)
RelativesDiana, Princess of Wales (granddaughter)

Edmund Maurice Burke Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy (15 May 1885 – 8 July 1955) was a British Conservative Party politician who held a title in the Peerage of Ireland. He was the maternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Life and career[edit]

Roche was born on 15 May 1885 in Chelsea, London, the elder of twin sons of the Hon. James Roche (later 3rd Baron Fermoy) and his American wife, Frances Ellen Work.[1] The Roches separated in December 1886, with James Roche agreeing to relinquish custody of his sons to his wife's father, multi-millionaire stockbroker Frank Work, in exchange for Work paying Roche's debts.[2]

He was educated at Harvard University and graduated in 1909.[3] As a condition of their inheritance, Work stipulated that Maurice and his twin brother Francis "shall assume and retain the name 'Work' in place of the name 'Roche'", and must not travel to Europe or marry a European; Maurice ignored the edicts.[4] Roche returned to England on succeeding to his father's Irish peerage in 1920.[5] He was a naturalized American citizen, but resumed British nationality following his succession to the title.[3]

He rented Park House at Sandringham, Norfolk, from the royal family. At the 1924 general election, he contested and won the local parliamentary constituency, King's Lynn, holding the seat until he stood down at the 1935 general election.[5] He was also elected the town's mayor in 1931.[6]

Marriage and children[edit]

On 17 September 1931, Lord Fermoy married Ruth Sylvia Gill, the youngest daughter of Col. William Gill, at St. Devenick's, Bieldside, Aberdeenshire,[1] and they had three children:

Later life[edit]

Lord Fermoy joined the Royal Air Force in 1939 at the start of World War II, but when the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for King's Lynn was killed on active service in 1943, he resigned his commission and stood for re-election. He retired from politics when Parliament was dissolved for the 1945 general election.[5]

Lord Fermoy was a member of the shooting party organized by King George VI on 5 February 1952, on the grounds of Sandringham, which was the King's last full day alive.[7]


Lord Fermoy collapsed in a shop at King's Lynn, Norfolk, in June 1955 and died three weeks later.[5] He was succeeded by his only son.


His life was the subject of the book Lilac Days, by Gavan Naden and Maxine Riddington (HarperCollins (ISBN 0-00-719863-9)), where it was claimed he had a 30-year affair with an American, Edith Travis.


  1. ^ a b Williamson, D The Ancestry of Lady Diana Spencer In: Genealogist's Magazine, 1981; vol. 20 (no. 6) p. 192–199 and vol. 20 (no. 8) p. 281–282
  2. ^ Million Dollar American Princesses "Cash for Class" Smithsonian Channel (at 43:00) (4 January 2015) Retrieved 24 January 2019
  3. ^ a b "Queen heads lists guests at wedding". The Montreal Gazette. Montreal. 1 June 1954. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  4. ^ Million Dollar American Princesses "Cash for Class" Smithsonian Channel (at 43:41) (4 January 2015) Retrieved 24 January 2019
  5. ^ a b c d The Times, 9 July 1955; p. 8 col. D
  6. ^ The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ A. Michie, God Save The Queen, Wm. Sloane & Associates, p. 202 (1952).

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for King's Lynn
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for King's Lynn
Succeeded by
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Baron Fermoy
Succeeded by