William Astor, 4th Viscount Astor

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The Viscount Astor
Official portrait, 2017
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage
In office
20 July 1994 – 6 July 1995
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byIain Sproat
Succeeded byThe Lord Inglewood
Junior ministerial offices 1990–1994
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security
In office
16 September 1993 – 20 July 1994
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byAnn Widdecombe
Succeeded byJames Arbuthnot
Government Whip
In office
11 October 1990 – 16 September 1993
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded byThe Lord Cavendish of Furness
Succeeded byThe Lord MacKay of Ardbrecknish
Member of the House of Lords
as a hereditary peer
4 July 1973 – 11 November 1999
Preceded byThe 3rd Viscount Astor
Succeeded bySeat abolished
as an elected hereditary peer
11 November 1999
Preceded bySeat established
Personal details
William Waldorf Astor III

(1951-12-27) 27 December 1951 (age 71)
Political partyConservative
(m. 1976)
RelativesSee Astor family
Alma materEton College
OccupationPolitician, businessman

William Waldorf Astor III, 4th Viscount Astor (born 27 December 1951) is an English businessman and politician who sits as a Conservative hereditary Lord Temporal in the House of Lords. He is a member of the Astor family, which is known for its prominence in business, society, and politics in both the United States and the United Kingdom.


Astor was a Lord-in-waiting (a House of Lords whip) from 1990 to 1993. He was then made a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Social Security. In 1994, he moved to the Department of National Heritage where he served until leaving the government in 1995.

He was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford.[1]

Viscount Astor is Chairman of Silvergate Media and director of Networkers Plc (since 2007) and trustee of Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham.

Political positions[edit]

Astor was an early opponent of the HS2 high-speed rail project.[2]

Marriage and children[edit]

Astor married Annabel Lucy Veronica Jones (born 1948), daughter of Timothy Angus Jones and Patricia David Pandora Clifford on 14 January 1976. They have three children:

  • Hon Flora Katherine Astor (born 7 June 1976). She is married to Theo Rycroft. They have three children: Nelson (born 2008), Pandora (born 2011) and Lydia (born 2016).
  • Hon William Waldorf "Will" Astor IV (born 18 January 1979). He is married to Lohralee Stutz. They have four children: William Waldorf (born 2012), Allegra Annabel (born 2013), Conrad Charles (born 2016) and India Isabel (born 2017).
  • Hon James Jacob "Jake" Astor (born 4 March 1981). He is married to Victoria L. Hargreaves. They have two children: Sibyl (born 2015) and Atalanta (born 2017).

The heir to the viscountcy is his elder son, Will.[3]

His wife Annabel's stepfather was his uncle Michael Langhorne Astor.

Viscountess Astor was previously married to Sir Reginald Sheffield, 8th Baronet by whom she is the mother of Samantha Cameron, wife of former Prime Minister David Cameron.


Coat of arms of William Astor, 4th Viscount Astor
A Coronet of a Viscount
From a Mount Vert a Falcon rising proper ensigned by three Mullets Gold
Or, a falcon resting on a dexter hand couped at the wrist proper and gauntleted gules in chief two fleurs-de-lys of the last
Dexter: a North American Indian; Sinister: a North American fur trapper; each habited accoutred and holding in the exterior hand a Rifle all proper
Ad Astra (To the stars)


  1. ^ "Founding Council | The Rothermere American Institute". Rothermere American Institute. Archived from the original on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  2. ^ Cohen, Nick (15 January 2012). "Viscount Astor, you really are a class apart | Nick Cohen". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Allegra Annabel Astor Birth Announcement". The Times. 21 August 2013.

External links[edit]

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Viscount Astor
Member of the House of Lords
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New office
Elected hereditary peer to the House of Lords
under the House of Lords Act 1999