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Women Board Members and the Falkland Islands

23rd November 2012

Following Wednesday 21st November 2012 Master Class in London I had a meeting with my MP at the Palace of Westminster. He kindly gave me a brief tour and as we had discussed Women Board Members, he showed me Viscount Falkland and his broken sword.

Viscount of Falkland is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1620 for Sir Henry Cary, although he was actually English and had no connection to Scotland. He was made Lord Cary at the same time, also in the Peerage of Scotland. His son, the second Viscount, was a prominent statesman. The latter's younger son, the fourth Viscount (who succeeded his elder brother), notably served as Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire. His son, the fifth Viscount, represented several constituencies in the House of Commons and held office as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1693 to 1694.

On his death the line of the second Viscount failed and the peerages were inherited by the late Viscount's second cousin, the sixth Viscount. He was the grandson of the Hon. Patrick Cary, fifth son of the first Viscount. A lifelong adherent of the exiled Royal Family of Stuart, he was created, on 13 December 1722, by James Francis Edward Stuart (recognised by Jacobites as "King James III") Earl of Falkland, in the Jacobite Peerage. He also embraced the Roman Catholic faith. His great-great-grandson, the tenth Viscount, was a colonial administrator and Liberal politician. In 1832 he was created Baron Hunsdon, of Scutterskelfe in the County of York, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. This title gave him an automatic seat in the House of Lords but became extinct on his death in 1884. The Scottish titles were inherited by his younger brother, the eleventh Viscount. He was an Admiral in the Royal Navy.

His nephew, the twelfth Viscount, sat in the House of Lords as a Scottish Representative Peer from 1894 to 1922. He was succeeded by his son, the thirteenth Viscount, who served as a Scottish Representative Peer between 1922 and 1931. As of 2010 the titles are held by the latter's grandson, the fifteenth Viscount, who succeeded his father in 1984. He is one of the ninety elected hereditary peers that were allowed to remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999. Lord Falkland sits on the Liberal Democrat benches.

The Viscounts Falkland take their title from the Scottish royal residence Falkland Palace, Falkland, Fife, Scotland. However, despite holding two Scottish peerages, the Cary family are of English origin.

There is a statue of Viscount Falkland in St Stephens Hall, in the Houses of Parliament. On the 27 April 1909, a suffragette named Marjory Hume, chained herself to the statue, shouting "Deeds not words". When the chains were removed the top half of the spur on Falklands's right boot was broken off, the damage can be seen to this day. It is a common misconception that the Falkland's sword was broken during this incident. Instead the sword broke shortly after the statue was installed in St Stephens Hall.

The Falkland Islands are named after Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland.

Therefore, a woman struggling to have her voice heard (not quite today's women board members but a bit of "dramatic effect" never hurt anyone!) connects female non executive directors to the Falkland Islands.

In the case of some Boards making appointments, "deeds not words" could still be true.

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