Plantagenet Palliser

Plantagenet Palliser, Duke of Omnium and Earl of Silverbridge, is a main character in the Palliser series of novels, also known as the "Parliamentary Novels," by Anthony Trollope.

Palliser, first introduced as a minor character in The Small House at Allington, one of the Barsetshire Novels, is the heir presumptive to the dukedom of Omnium. Palliser is a quiet, hardworking, conscientious man whose chief ambition in life is to become Chancellor of the Exchequer. After an unwise flirtation with the married Lady Dumbello (daughter of Dr. Grantly and granddaughter of Reverend Harding from The Warden and Barchester Towers), he agrees to an arranged marriage with the great heiress of the day, the free-spirited, spontaneous Lady Glencora M'Cluskie. She at first finds him boring and considers running away with her dangerous other suitor, the dashing, but penniless Burgo Fitzgerald. Palliser persuades his wife to travel in Europe to cement their relationship after he learns of this—and is promptly offered the post of Chancellor, which he must decline, since his first priority is his wife.

He is eventually given the post anyway. Despite their greatly different natures, the couple settles down to a happy married life, and the last book in the series, The Duke's Children, deals with the lives and loves of their three children.

Upon inheriting the dukedom, he is forced to relinquish his beloved post at the exchequer, as it is against constitutional practice for members of the House of Lords to hold that post.

In The Prime Minister, when neither the Whigs nor the Tories are able to form a majority, a weak coalition government is the only solution. He is asked to become Prime Minister because he is an undivisive figure. He does not enjoy his tenure. His socially awkward personality is especially vexed by his wife's lavish parties - her attempt to help influence others to support him. Due to the fragile nature of the coalition, he accomplishes little other than to keep the kingdom on an even keel. Thus, when he has to leave office, it is with little regret. He declines a place in the Liberal cabinet which follows his, feeling it inappropriate to serve in a cabinet once he has led one, but after some thoughts leaves the door open to a return to participation in the government in future, and when the Liberals regain power at the end of The Duke's Children, accepts a Cabinet post.

The duchess dies suddenly. Only then does he realize how necessary she was to his happiness. In addition, she was his only true friend; all others were either merely political allies or her friends. The widower is left to deal with the marriage choice of two of their three grown children, neither of which initially meets with his approval.

In the BBC's 1974 adaptation of the Palliser novels, the role of Plantagenet Palliser was played by Philip Latham.


The Omnium Government

Cabinet members



Sir Orlando Drought resigned ostensibly over disagreements with Government policy, but in reality because he believed the Leader of the House of Commons should be Prime Minister, and his political ambitions were frustrated. He was replaced as First Lord of the Admiralty by Phineas Finn and as Leader of the House of Commons by Joshua Monk, who retained his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer. The name of Finn's replacement as Chief Secretary for Ireland is not mentioned.

Sir Timothy Beeswax resigned over the County Suffrage Bill. No replacement for him is mentioned prior to the end of the Omnium government.

See also

  • List of minor characters from the Palliser novels
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mr. Daubeny
Fictional Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Succeeded by
Mr. Gresham
Preceded by
Mr. Finespun
Fictional Chancellor of the Exchequer Succeeded by
Legge Wilson
Preceded by
Fictional President of the Board of Trade Succeeded by
Preceded by
Fictional Lord Privy Seal Succeeded by
Preceded by
Fictional Lord President of the Council Succeeded by
Preceded by
Member of Parliament (fictional) for Silverbridge Succeeded by
John Grey
Preceded by
Member of Parliament (fictional) for West Barsetshire Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by
George Plantagenet Palliser, Duke of Omnium[1]
Fictional Lord Lieutenant of Barsetshire
Succeeded by
  1. ^ Anthony Trollope, Phineas Redux, Ch. LVII

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