Reginald McKenna

Reginald McKenna

Reginald McKenna (6 July 1863 – 6 September 1943) was a Liberal British statesman. He was educated at King's College London

Elected at the 1895 general election as Member of Parliament (MP) for North Monmouthshire, he served in the Liberal governments of Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Herbert Henry Asquith as President of the Board of Education, First Lord of the Admiralty and Home Secretary. As Chancellor of the Exchequer in Asquith's coalition government, he opposed the introduction of conscription, and retired into opposition upon the fall of Asquith at the end of 1916. He lost his seat in the 1918 general election and became Chairman of the Midland Bank. In 1922, the new Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law hoped to persuade him to come out of retirement and serve once again at the Exchequer, but he refused, and remained in private life. The following year Law's successor Stanley Baldwin made the repeated request and McKenna was more agreeable. However he wished to enter Parliament as MP for the City of London and neither of the incumbent MPs would agree to vacate in order to make room. As a result McKenna declined.

It is said that he refused offers of a peerage throughout the rest of his life so as to always be in a position to be offered the Exchequer so he could refuse.


McKenna was married in 1908 to Pamela Jekyll (who d. November 1943), younger daughter of Sir Herbert Jekyll KCMG (brother of the landscape gardener Gertrude Jekyll and his wife Agnes, Lady Jekyll, née Graham. [ [ Details of the Jekyll family] and [ BBC: Making History: Sir Herbert Jekyll] . Retrieved 4 December 2007. Sir Herbert's elder daughter Barbara married as her 2nd husband, Field Marshal Lord Freyberg; her grandson holds the peerage today.] They had two sons - Michael (who d. 1931) and David who married 1934 Lady Cecilia Keppel (b. 12 April 1910), a daughter of the the 9th Earl of Albemarle and had issue. [Darryl Landy (2003). [ Lady Cecilia Elizabeth Keppel] . "The Peerage" database, retrieved 4 December 2007.]

McKenna died in London on 6 September 1943 and was buried at Mells, Somerset (the home of his old friend Sir John Horner). His wife died two months later, and is buried beside him.



* Martin Farr, "Reginald McKenna 1863-1916: Financier Among Statesmen", New York: Routledge, 2007.
* [;sib0=240 Janus: The Papers of Reginald McKenna] includes a short biography. Retrieved 4 December 2007.

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