Wellesley, Henry Richard Charles, 1st Earl of Cowley (1804 -1884)
Henry Richard Charles Wellesley was born at Hertford Street, Mayfair, London, the eldest son of Henry Wellesley, 1st Baron Cowley, and Lady Charlotte, daughter of Charles Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan. He was a nephew of the 1st Duke of Wellington and the 1st Marquess Wellesley. Following his education at Eton and Brasenose College, Oxford, he entered the diplomatic service in 1824, receiving his first important appointment in 1848, when he became Minister Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Cantons. In July 1848 he was sent on a special mission to the provisional central power of Germany in Frankfurt. In June 1851 he was appointed as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the reinstated diet of the German Confederation, a position which he only held for a short time, as he was chosen in 1852 to succeed Lord Normanby as the British Ambassador in Paris, a post he held for fifteen years.
On his father's death in 1847, he became known as Lord Cowley, and in 1857 was created Viscount Dangan, in the County of Meath, and Earl Cowley. He was further honoured in 1866 when he was made a Knight of the Garter. Having assisted Richard Cobden to conclude the commercial treaty between Great Britain and France in 1860, he retired as ambassador in 1867. Lord Cowley married on 23 October 1833 the Honourable Olivia Cecilia (d. 1885), daughter of Lord Henry FitzGerald (fourth son of the 1st Duke of Leinster) and the 20th Baroness de Ros, by whom he had three sons and two daughters, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, William Cowley, Viscount Dangan. One of his daughters, Lady Feodorowna Cecilia Wellesley (1838-1920), married Francis Bertie, a British diplomat and a future British ambassador to France. In 1863 Cowley inherited the former Long family estate of Draycot Cerne in Wiltshire from his kinsman the 5th Earl of Mornington, where he lived in retirement until his death on 15 July 1884.