Elspeth Howe

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The Baroness Howe of Idlicote
Official portrait, 2018
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
29 June 2001 – 2 June 2020
Life peerage
Personal details
Elspeth Rosamund Morton Shand

(1932-02-08)8 February 1932
Marylebone, London, England
Died22 March 2022(2022-03-22) (aged 90)
Idlicote, Warwickshire, England
Political partyCrossbencher
(m. 1953; died 2015)

Elspeth Rosamund Morton Howe, Baroness Howe of Idlicote,[1] CBE (née Shand; 8 February 1932 – 22 March 2022) was a British life peer and crossbench member of the House of Lords (2001–2020) who served in many capacities in public life. As the widow of Geoffrey Howe, she was formerly known as Lady Howe of Aberavon before receiving a peerage in her own right. She was the paternal half-aunt of Queen Camilla.

Early life[edit]

Born Elspeth R. M. Shand in Marylebone,[2] London, she was the daughter of the writer Philip Morton Shand by his fourth wife, Sybil Mary Shand (née Sissons, formerly Slee).[3][4] As such, she was a half-aunt to Queen Camilla (née Shand, formerly Parker Bowles), whose father, Bruce Shand, was son of Philip Morton Shand by a previous marriage.[3] She grew up in Bath, Somerset,[3] and was educated at Wycombe Abbey, a leading private school for girls, and at the London School of Economics.[3] She married the rising politician Geoffrey Howe in 1953, and had three children, Caroline (Cary), and twins, Amanda and Alec.[5]


Howe served as deputy chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission from 1975 to 1979,[3] and in various other capacities from 1980. She was later made chair of the Broadcasting Standards Commission. In the 1999 New Year Honours she was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).[6] Lady Howe was a Justice of the Peace in Inner London from 1964 until her retirement from the Bench in 2002. She sat in the Youth Court at Camberwell where she was a bench chairman.

On 29 June 2001, at the age of 69, she was made a life peer, as Baroness Howe of Idlicote, of Shipston-on-Stour in the County of Warwickshire,[7] in her own right, becoming one of the first People's Peers. She and her husband were one of the few couples each of whom held a peerage in their own right. Having already been styled Lady Howe by dint of her husband's knighthood and then his peerage, it was quipped when she received her own peerage that she was "once, twice, three times a Lady".[8]

Howe retired from Parliament on 2 June 2020.[1] She died at her home in Idlicote, Warwickshire, on 22 March 2022, aged 90, following a battle with cancer.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Parliamentary career for Baroness Howe of Idlicote". MPs and Lords. UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 18 December 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2022.
  2. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 16 April 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e Langdon, Julia (23 March 2022). "Lady Howe of Idlicote obituary". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 March 2022. Retrieved 27 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Baroness Howe of Idlicote obituary". The Times. 23 March 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2023.
  5. ^ Langdon, Julia (10 October 2015). "Lord Howe of Aberavon obituary". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 November 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  6. ^ "No. 55354". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1998. p. 8.
  7. ^ "No. 56274". The London Gazette. 13 July 2001. p. 8309.
  8. ^ Hoggart, Simon (5 February 2003). "So much to discuss, so little time". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Baroness Elspeth Howe dies aged 90". BBC News. 23 March 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2023.

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