‘Splendid isolation’? Lord Salisbury and foreign policy
In the closing decade and a half of Queen Victoria’s reign, the dominant figure in British foreign policy was Robert Cecil, third Marquess of Salisbury. Having served as Disraeli’s Foreign Secretary in 1878-80, Salisbury went on to serve three times as Prime Minister (1885-6, 1886-92, 1895-1902). With the exception of two short periods (1886-7, 1900-2) he combined the Foreign Office with the premiership. In essentials Salisbury set the direction of Britain’s overseas policies in these years.