Edward, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, was the devoted custodian of his family’s 7,000-acre Beaulieu Estate in Hampshire. He was also a champion of the historic vehicle movement and founder of the National Motor Museum. He played a major role in the preservation of England’s historic houses and the development of the UK tourism industry. He passed away Monday at the age of 88.
Edward Montagu inherited the Beaulieu Estate on the death of his father, John Montagu, a motoring pioneer, when he was just two years old. The family seat, Palace House, was built around the original gatehouse of Beaulieu Abbey, a Cistercian monastery founded on land granted to the Order by King John in 1204. The Estate was sold to Lord Montagu’s ancestor, Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, by Henry VIII in 1538.
Lord Montagu was an active in many clubs, associations and organisations and held the Presidencies of the Tourism Society (1991-2000), the Southern Tourist Board (1977-2004), the Museums Association (1982-1984) and the Institute of Journalists (2000). He was Chancellor of the Wine Guild of the UK from 1983 and President of the UK Vineyards Association from 1996. He was also instrumental in setting up an advisory group that became the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, of which he was President. In 2012 Lord Montagu received the accolade of a lifetime achievement award for his dedication to preserving automotive history over many decades.
Lord Montagu played as hard as he worked. He was a keen shot, loved foreign travel, went wind-surfing off his own foreshore and regularly competed in historic motorsport events. He also had a passion for the theatre, opera, gourmet restaurants and parties, for which he never lost enthusiasm despite mobility difficulties in later life.
Edward Montagu was first married in 1959, to Belinda Crossley. They had a son, Ralph, in 1961 and a daughter, Mary, in 1964. The marriage was dissolved in 1974, after which he married Fiona Herbert in 1974 with whom he had a second son, Jonathan, in 1975. His elder son, Ralph, succeeds to the barony.