Catalogue description Diaries of Sir Richard Frederick Molyneux; (1873 - 1954)

This record is held by Liverpool Record Office

Details of 920 SEF/6
Reference: 920 SEF/6
Title: Diaries of Sir Richard Frederick Molyneux; (1873 - 1954)

These diaries give a picture of the writer's involvement with the Royal family. Entries relating to his times at Windsor, Sandringham etc. provide an affectionate (though not sycophantic) portrait of (now) past and present members of that family ("... the Queen has put the charming Hopner child, which I found in dark passage, in her sitting room - without a word to me, most ungrateful and she knows it ...", 29th April 1931, 920 SEF/6/15). He spent many Christmases with the Royal family, the last recorded in his diaries being 1946. His interest in paintings and the decorative arts - china, furniture etc. - is reflected throughout the diaries. Although there are many references to riding, hunting and shooting, there are more to social pursuits - friends, family, luncheons, dinners, shopping, clubs, bridge, theatres etc. - and to interests such as reading, "arranging books", going to Christie's, visiting art galleries, churches etc. From the 1920's the diaries include a list of books read during the year, with a brief (often one word) critical comment. Most entries are full and detailed.

Date: 1891, 1900, 1901, 1918 - 1922, 1925 - 1953
Held by: Liverpool Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Physical description: 37 vols.
Administrative / biographical background:

Richard Molyneux was the third son of William, 4th Earl of Sefton and younger brother of the 5th and 6th Earls of Sefton. He was born on 24th March 1873. He entered the Royal Horse Guards as 2nd Lieutenant in 1895 and became Lieutenant in November of the following year.


In 1897 he saw active service on the northwest frontier of India with the Tirah Expeditionary Force, when he served as orderly officer to Sir William Lockhart. In the Sudan, during the Nile campaign of 1898 he was attached to the 21st Lancers and took part in their charge at the Battle of Omdurman.


In this he was severely wounded in the right arm, "... dismounted, disarmed and streaming with blood ..." and beset by "... pursuing Dervishes ...", he was helped to safety by a Private Thomas Byrne of the 21st Lancers, himself wounded, who later received the V.C. for his bravery. The muscles of Richard Molyneux' arm had been severed and the "... damage was repaired by a graft taken from the forearm of ... Winston Churchill then a fellow subaltern also attached to the 21st Lancers ..."


In 1899 - 1901 he served in South Africa and was A.D.C. to Lord Errol. He went on the officers' Reserve list in 1904 but at the outbreak of the first World War in 1914 he was re-employed on active service with his regiment and fought in France and Belgium in 1914 and 1915.


After the war he finally retired from the army in 1919 with the rank of Major.


In 1919 he was appointed groom in ordinary to King George V "... and began his long and happy connexion with the Royal Family which ripened as the years went by into close friendship ..." He was groom in waiting to King George from 1933 to 1936 and in 1935 was created K.C.V.O. (Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order).


After the death of King George V in 1936 he became, until her own death, extra equerry to Queen Mary, whose interests "he shared to the full ... in furniture and pictures and had more than an amateur's knowledge of the subject. Gifted with a high and equal degree of taste and tact he proved an admirable and always helpful adviser to her in her self-imposed task of arranging the many treasurer in the royal residences to show them to the best advantage. From time to time such was his taste and skill, he was even able to make small but effective additions to the royal collections ..."


Sir Richard Molyneux was unmarried and lived in London, in Berkeley Square. His Clubs are listed as "Turf, Brooks's, Guards". He died in London on 20th January 1954 at the age of eighty. His funeral took place at Kirkby on 23rd January.


Sources: Burke's Peerage


Cuttings book, 920 SEF/10/4, pp. [6 - 7]


Times, 21 Jan. 1954, p. 9, col. 2 and 25 Jan. 1954, p. 8, col. 2


Who was Who, 1951 - 1960

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research