Frank Russell, 2nd Earl Russell

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John Francis Stanley Russell, 2nd Earl Russell ( August 12, 1865 - March 3, 1931 ) was a British peer and politician . Because of his bigamy conviction , he was known as the "wicked earl" ( Eng : the wicked earl ).


He was the eldest son of John Russell, Viscount Amberley (1842–1876) and his wife Katharine Russel (1844–1874). His grandfather was former British Prime Minister John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (1792–1878). His parents both died early; from 1876 he and his younger brother Bertrand were orphans and were raised by their paternal grandparents.

Russell was married a total of three times, including to Elizabeth von Arnim , who included him in her novels. His first wife was Mary Edith Scott , whom he married in 1890. She tried to get a divorce in 1891, but failed. In 1895 Russell wanted to force a judicial divorce, but this attempt also failed.

In 1900 he married Marion Cooke Somerville in Nevada , after his first marriage had previously been divorced under local law. However, this divorce was not recognized under British law. He was therefore convicted of bigamy in the House of Lords on July 18, 1901 , because in order to convict a peer of crimes, he had to be tried in the House of Lords . Because of the "extreme torture" he suffered in his first marriage, he was sentenced to only three months in prison. The marriage was then divorced and Russell remarried on October 31, 1901, three days after his release, his second wife, now also effective under British law.

The marriage with Marion Cooke Somerville lasted until 1915, after which he married Elisabeth von Arnim a year later. They separated in 1919 without a divorce ensuing. He had no children of his own, but stepchildren from his second and third marriage. His younger brother Bertrand was heir to his title of nobility.


When his grandfather died in 1878, he inherited his title of nobility, as well as the associated hereditary seat in the House of Lords . He was the first peer to join the Labor Party and was the Labor leader in the House of Lords. He was State Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and India in the Ramsay MacDonald government . He supported his brother's pacifism and was a close friend of George Santayana .

He was particularly interested in road traffic. He received the UK's first vehicle registration number at Christmas 1901 . His efforts to reform divorce law were unsuccessful.

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predecessor Office successor
John Russell Earl Russell
Bertrand Russell