February 23, 2018

Notable Descendant of Sir Robert Belknap: Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour

Notable Descendant of Sir Robert Belknap (abt 1330-1401): Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour. Born 15 July 1848 in East Lothian, Scotland, Balfour served as Conservative Party Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from July 1902 to December 1905. Other significant posts and titles held included Lord President of the Council, Foreign Secretary, Lord Privy Seal, First Lord of the Admiralty, Chief Secretary for Ireland, Secretary for Scotland, Knight of the Order of the Garter, and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Nephew of another UK Prime Minister (Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury), Balfour, who died at age 81 on 19 March 1930, is perhaps most known today for the “Balfour Declaration,” a document written on 2 November 1917 as Foreign Secretary affirming UK support for the establishment in Palestine of a national homeland for the Jewish people–a key moment in the lead-up to the Arab–Israeli conflict, often referred to as the world’s “most intractable conflict.”  Balfour is a direct descendant of Sir Robert Belknap through at least three well-documented ways–once through the “Cecil-Cooke” line via Sir Robert Belknap’s great granddaughter Eleanor (or Elizabeth) Belknap, and twice through the “Howard-Audley-Audley-Wotton” line via another great granddaughter of Sir Robert, Anne (sister to Eleanor/Elizabeth).  Through two lineages, Balfour is 18 generations from Sir Robert Belknap and through one lineage Balfour is 17 generations from Sir Robert Belknap, making him Sir Robert’s 14th great grandson once and 15th great grandson twice!  For further information on Balfour, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Balfour

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