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William Lee Plunket, 5th Baron Plunket

The Lord Plunket
The 5th Baron Plunket
14th Governor of New Zealand
In office
20 June 1904 – 8 June 1910
Monarch Edward VII
George V
Preceded by The Earl of Ranfurly
Succeeded by The Lord Islington
Personal details
Born (1864-12-19)19 December 1864
Died 24 January 1920(1920-01-24) (aged 55)
Spouse(s) Lady Victoria Plunket (née Temple-Blackwood)
Relations William, 4th Lord Plunket (father)

William Lee Plunket, 5th Baron Plunket, GCMG, KCVO, KBE (19 December 1864 – 24 January 1920) was a British diplomat and administrator. He was Governor of New Zealand from 1904 to 1910.

Early life

Born in Dublin, he was educated at Harrow and Trinity College Dublin. His parents were William, 4th Lord Plunket, the archbishop of Dublin in 1884-97, and his wife Anne, the daughter of Sir Benjamin Guinness.[1]

He entered the Diplomatic Service and was sent to Rome in 1889 as an attaché to the British Embassy there. In 1892, he was appointed in the same position to the embassy in Constantinople, and finally retired two years later. In 1894, he also married Lady Victoria Alexandrina, youngest daughter of the 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, by whom he was to have eight children.[1][2] Victoria gave her name to Plunket Society, a New Zealand society promoting the health and well-being of mothers and children.[3]


Having succeeded his father as fifth Baron Plunket in 1897, Plunket three years later became private secretary to Lord Cadogan, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the time, and fulfilled the same role for his successor, Lord Dudley. He was appointed CVO and KCVO in 1900 and 1903 respectively, and in 1904 he became Governor of New Zealand as well as a KCMG the following year. By chance the Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives at the time was his cousin Arthur Guinness. He held this post until 1910, when he was advanced to GCMG.[4] He was later appointed KBE in 1918.


He was a freemason. During his term as Governor of New Zealand (1906-1909), he was also Grand Master of New Zealand's Grand Lodge.[5]


Lord Plunket died on 24 January 1920 aged 55 in 40 Elvaston Place, London, and was buried in the city's Putney Vale Cemetery.[1]


Government offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Ranfurly
Governor of New Zealand
Succeeded by
The Lord Islington
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Conyngham Plunket
Baron Plunket Succeeded by
Terence Conyngham Plunket
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