Henry Sydney was born in Paris in 1641, the son of Robert, 2nd Earl of Leicester of Penshurst Place, Kent. His mother was Lady Dorothy Percy, daughter of Henry Percy the 9th Earl of Northumberland, a descendant of Edward III. His brother was Algernon Sydney who was involved with the Duke of Monmouth and executed for his part in the Rye House Plot to kill Charles II.
Henry was opposed to James II and was central in bringing William of Orange to the English throne. William rewarded him with various posts, as secretary of state and as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1692-3). He was created Baron Milton and Viscount Sydney in 1689 and Earl of Romney in 1694. He reached the rank of Lieutenant-General and was Colonel of the 1st Guards twice, the second time until his death on 8th April 1704. His contemporaries viewed him as a proud and drunken man. He never married so his peerage died with him.
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