William Radcliffe Van Staubenzee

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Sir William van Straubenzee was the only son of Brigadier Arthur Bowen van Straubenzee DSO MC. and his wife Margaret Joan Radcliffe. He had a sister, Viv. He was a British Conservative Party politician. The family name had come to the United Kingdom when Philip William Casimir van Straubenzee, a Belgian captain in the Dutch Blue Guards, came with Bonnie Prince Charlie to support the Jacobite rising of 1745.
He was educated at Westminster School. His family had a noted military background and he served in his father's regiment, the Royal Artillery (1942–47), He left the military in 1947 with the rank of Major. He became a solicitor in 1952, and later a partner in a law firm. He never married.
He unsuccessfully contested Clapham in 1955, after which he was elected to serve as a councillor of Richmond Borough Council 1955-58. He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Wokingham from 1959 to 1987, when he retired and was succeeded by John Redwood. On September 13th 1980 he was granted the status of Honorary Townsperson of Wokingham in recognition and appreciation of the services rendered to this town, and of his meritorious service as a Member of Parliament for this constituency over a continuous period of twenty years.
He was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary from 1960 to 1962. In opposition from 1964, he served as spokesman on labour and social services, and then as an education spokesman. He served in Edward Heath's government as junior higher education minister for Education and Science from 1970 to 1972, under Secretary of State Margaret Thatcher. He was promoted to Northern Ireland minister from 1972 to 1974. He joined Heath's shadow cabinet in March 1974 as shadow Education Secretary. He chaired the Conservative backbench Education Committee from 1979 until he stepped down, and was personally recommended for a Knighthood by Margaret Thatcher in 1981.

The associated photograph 2 shows the Wokingham MP, Mr. W. R. van STRAUBENZEE, M.B.E. attending the British Red Cross Society Service at the All Saints Church in October 1962.

The associated photograph 3 shows Mr. W. R. van STRAUBENZEE, M.B.E. (7th from the left) on the terrace of the House of Commons with members of the Anglo-Benelux Parliamentary Group, during their visit to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.

The associated photograph 4 shows Mr. W. R. van STRAUBENZEE, M.B.E. (first on the right) next to Mr. Franz Camilleri, Editor of "Malta News", Valetta, Malta who was visiting Britain for a programme of arrangements made for him by the Central Office of Information, on behalf of the Commonwealth Office.
Also in the photograph is Mr. Hugh Jenkins, MP.


Honorary Freeman of Wokingham, by J. Bell
Wokingham Times Citizens Guide, 1982




“William Radcliffe Van Staubenzee,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed September 24, 2020, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0236.


made Freeman in 1980

Related Resource

Ceremony Programme

Main Hall Clock