|(Robert) Anthony Eden was born at Windlestone Hall near Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham, one of five children of Sir William Eden and Sybil Frances (daughter of Sir William Grey). He was educated at Eton and then joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps in 1915. He was awarded the MC in 1917 and in 1918 became the youngest brigadier-major in the British Army. After the war he went up to Christ Church, Oxford, graduating with first class honours in oriental languages in 1922.
He stood as Conservative candidate in the general election of November 1922 for the seat of Spennymoor, Co Durham where he was unsuccessful. However, in 1923, he was adopted for the safe constituency of Warwick & Leamington which he won at the next election and he served this constituency up until his retirement in1957. His lifelong political connection with foreign affairs began in 1926 as parliamentary private secretary to Sir Austen Chamberlain and in 1935, he became the youngest Foreign Secretary since the 18th century. His political career seemed at risk when he resigned from the government in February 1938 because of his disagreement with Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy. However, he was recalled to office on the outbreak of war, briefly as Dominions Secretary and then as Foreign Secretary, under Winston Churchill, until the Conservative defeat in 1945. He served for the third time as Foreign Secretary between 1951 and 1955 and cultivated Britain's vital relations with the United States and western Europe. In April 1955, on Churchill's retirement, Eden succeeded as Prime Minister but within less than two years, he had retired due to ill-health and his career was overshadowed by the Suez crisis.
Eden became Lord Avon in 1961. He held a number of honorary degrees and other offices including Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, 1945-73 and President of the Royal Shakespeare Company, 1958-66.
He was married twice and had two sons by his first wife, Simon (killed in Burma in 1945) and Nicholas (died in 1985).