ROMNEY, HENRY SIDNEY, EARL OF fourth son of Robert, 2nd earl of Leicester, was born in Paris in 1641. Sidney's handsome face helped his advancement at court, but the favour in which he was held by the duchess of York, to whom he was master of the robes, led to his temporary disgrace. In 1672 he was sent on a mission of congratulation to Louis XIV., and in 1677 became master of the robes to Charles II. He entered parliament in 1679, and became a close political ally of his nephew Sunderland, with whose wife he carried on an intrigue which caused scandal. Sunderland used this intimacy to further his political ends. Sidney was sent by Sunderland and others in 1679 on a special mission to urge William of Orange to visit England, a task which he discharged while acting as the official envoy of Charles II. at The Hague. He was recalled in 1682, but was again sent to Holland in 1635. He returned to England in the spring of 1688, and sought support for the prince of Orange in the event of his landing. He was allowed to leave England on giving his
word not to visit The Hague, but he broke his promise on getting clear of England, and conveyed to William a duplicate of the invitation addressed to him by the English nobility, together with intelligence of affairs of state obtained through the countess of Sunderland.
He landed with William at Torbay, and received substantial rewards for his undoubted services, including the titles of Baron Milton and Viscount Sidney of Sheppey. William made him secretary of state in 1690, and in 1692, lord-lieutenant of Ireland. His inability to cope with the difficulties of this position led to his recall in the next year, when he became master-general of the ordnance. He was created earl of Romney in May 1694. On Anne's accession he was dismissed from his various offices. His titles became extinct on his death on April 8,