Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC, was a British Conservative politician who served three periods as Foreign Secretary and then as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1955 to 1957.
Achieving rapid promotion as a young Conservative Member of Parliament, he became Foreign Secretary aged 38, before resigning in protest at Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy towards Mussolini's Italy. He again held that position for most of the Second World War, and a third time in the early 1950s. Having been deputy to Winston Churchill for almost 15 years, Eden succeeded him as the Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister in April 1955, and a month later won a general election.
Eden's worldwide reputation as a skilled diplomat was overshadowed in 1956 when the United States refused to support the Anglo-French military response to the Suez Crisis, which critics across party lines regarded as a historic setback for British foreign policy, signalling the end of British predominance in the Middle East. Most historians argue that he made a series of blunders, especially not realising the depth of American opposition to military action.