Lord Selborne's staff are 'too distraught' to talk. John Palmer, aged 72, is the fourth Earl of Selborne. He succeeded the titles of his grandfather - Roundell Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne - in 1971. He is a member of the Conservative party and entered the House of Lords in 1992.
He has been married to Joanna van Antwerp James since 1969. They have four children - Emily Palmer, George Palmer, William Palmer - Viscount Wolmer - and Luke Palmer. Lord Selborne was educated first at St. Ronan's School, Hawkhurst, then Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford.
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The first of 1,400 new commuter train carriages for the south has just arrived from Germany.