Ralph Palmer, 12th Baron Lucas
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Ralph Palmer, 12th Baron Lucas

The Lord Lucas

Official portrait of Lord Lucas crop 2.jpg
Lord Lucas
Member of the House of Lords

MonarchElizabeth II
Personal details
Ralph Matthew Palmer

(1951-06-07) 7 June 1951 (age 70)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)(1) Clarissa Marie Lockett;
(2) Amanda Atha;
(3) Antonia Kennedy Rubinstein
Alma mater

Ralph Matthew Palmer, 12th Baron Lucas and 8th Lord Dingwall (born 7 June 1951), addressed formally as Lord Lucas and Dingwall, is one of the hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, sitting as a Conservative. He inherited his titles on the death of his mother in 1991, served as a Tory whip in the Lords 1994-7 for the last three years of the John Major government, and continues to serve as a backbencher. Known generally and professionally as Ralph Lucas, in 2000 he became owner and publisher of The Good Schools Guide.


Lady Florence Amabel Cowper, daughter of George Cowper, 6th Earl Cowper married Auberon Herbert and inherited the Barony of Lucas of Crudwell (from her grandfather, Thomas de Grey, 2nd Earl de Grey), and the Lordship of Dingwall (from her uncle Francis Cowper, 7th Earl Cowper). They were the parents of four children, including Nan Ino Cooper, 10th Baroness Lucas (Ralph Lucas's maternal grandmother), and her elder daughter, Anne Rosemary, married Major The Hon Robert Jocelyn Palmer MC (son of Roundell Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne).

Early life

Lucas is the son of the Anne Palmer, 11th Baroness Lucas and 7th Lady Dingwall and Major Hon Robert Jocelyn Palmer (fifth child and third son of the 3rd Earl of Selborne). He attended Twyford School and Eton College.

During his gap year in 1969, he accompanied Professor Thomas Frederick Hewer and Brigadier Brian Mortimer Archibald across Afghanistan and Iran, collecting plants for Kew Gardens and the Royal Horticultural Society as a private expedition.[1] He returned to study physics at Balliol College, Oxford.[2]

Ensuing interest in physics and botany should have helped garner a win on University Challenge years later when he competed on the House of Lords team for the 2004 "Professionals" series. It did not.[3]

Work and Interests

He took articles as a chartered accountant with Farrow, Bersey, Gain, Vincent & Co and successor firms, and worked at S. G. Warburg & Co. Ltd. from 1976 to 1988.[4]

On the death of his mother in 1991, he succeeded her as 12th Baron Lucas and 8th Lord Dingwall. He is the current owner of The Good Schools Guide.[5]

He was a Lord in Waiting (Government Whip in the House of Lords) during 1994-97, and the shadow Lords minister for International Development during 1997-98.[6] He remains an active backbencher, taking a particular interest in education, liberty, electronic government, planning, finance and parking regulation.[7]

In 1995, Ralph Lucas married Amanda Atha, the co-founder with Sarah Drummond of The Good Schools Guide, became owner, publisher and editor of the guide in 2000; he added international schools overseas to the guide in 2006.[8]

As editor of The Good Schools Guide, Ralph Lucas has highlighted the continued improvement of state and Special Education Needs schools: the first edition of The Good Schools Guide in 1986 listed just ten state schools - 4 per cent of the total; by the 2016 edition, more than 300 state schools were reviewed, a quarter of the 1,200 schools reviewed that year.[9] In the 2019 edition, nearly 400 of the 1,297 schools selected for review were state schools and 140 were SEN schools.[10]

Ralph Lucas has commented on state schools as strong competitors for the most talented students,[11] saying, 'Many prep schools are facing a "slow and gentle good night" as a result of rapidly improving state primaries and private tutors'.[12] He has expressed his concerns over the dangers of charlatan tutors for very young children [13] and rung warning bells over the ever rising fees of independent schools.[14][15]

Asked by a journalist why historians make the best school leaders, he replied, 'The subject combines a fascination with humanity (pretty essential to running a school well), a disciplined way with words and stories, and a deep study of how to succeed as a dictator.'[16]

Since inheriting his title and remaining through election by his peers, Ralph Lucas continues to be active in the House of Lords. He has served on committees that addressed digital skills, the regeneration of seaside towns,[17] and digital technology & democracy.[18] He chairs the Enforcement Law Reform Group. He was instrumental in adding what became known as the Lucas amendment, 'An apology, an offer of treatment or other redress, shall not of itself amount to an admission of negligence or breach of statutory duty' to the Compensation Act of 2006, allowing people to apologise to victims without legal penalty.[19]

He met his third wife, Antonia Rubenstein, when serving as a patron on the prison reform charity, Safe Ground, and was instrumental in establishing the Family Man and Fathers Inside family relationships project.[20]

Ralph Lucas has been involved in encouraging a relationship between The Eden Project and Eastbourne.[21]

He became a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (FCA) in 1986 and is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Mercers.[22]

Marriages and children

Lucas has been married three times. Firstly, he married Clarissa Marie Lockett on 22 July 1978. They were divorced in 1995 after having two children.[23] Secondly, Lucas married Amanda Atha in 1995. She died in 2000 and in 2001, he married Antonia Kennedy Rubinstein. He has one daughter with his third wife.

  • Hon Hannah Rachel Elise Palmer (born 1984)
  • Hon Lewis Edward Palmer (born 7 December 1987), heir apparent to the baronies.
  • Hon Freya Anne Palmer (born 2002)


  1. ^ "Obituary: Professor Tom Hewer". Independent. 19 March 1994.
  2. ^ "Lord Lucas". The Motorists' Legal Challenge Fund, UK. Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ "University Challenge - The Professionals - 2004". Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "The Lord Lucas of Crudwell and Dingwall". Debrett's. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ The Good Schools Guide, UK.
  6. ^ "Ralph Palmer, 12th Baron Lucas Of Crudwell Video Interviews". ovguide. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ "Lord Lucas". The Motorists' Legal Challenge Fund, UK. Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ "International schools: check what it says on the tin". Financial Times. 21 October 2007.
  9. ^ "Massively improved state schools threaten private sector". The Guardian. 5 February 2005.
  10. ^ The Good Schools Guide, UK.
  11. ^ "Massively improved state schools threaten private sector". The Guardian. 5 February 2005.
  12. ^ "Gentle Goodbye for prep schools as state primaries are flourishing". The London Times. 1 June 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ "Parents warned of charlatan private tutors who teach very young children". The Evening Standard. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ "Increase in private education fees is driving out middleclass families". The Evening Standard. 5 May 2016. Retrieved 2020.
  15. ^ "Coming soon: the £1m school fees". The London Times. 6 October 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ "Why historians make the best school leaders". The London Times. 23 December 2019.
  17. ^ "Parliamentary business". Retrieved 2020.
  18. ^ "Parliamentary business". Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ "Parliamentary business: publications & records". Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ "Safe Ground: About us". Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ "Eden Project: media". Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. Debrett's Ltd.
  23. ^ The peerage.com, entry for 12th Lord Lucas

External links

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Anne Palmer
Baron Lucas
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Anne Palmer
Lord Dingwall
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New office
Elected hereditary peer to the House of Lords
under of the House of Lords Act 1999

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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