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Thomas, Baron Ward (York, October 9, 1810 – Vienna, October 1858) was a diplomat and politician of British origin linked to the figure of Charles II, Duke of Parma.
He entered the service of the Prince of Liechtenstein in 1823 and moved to Hungary.
In 1827, he is recommended by the then duke of Lucca, Carlos Luis, a great horse lover, who takes him to tend his horses and as a man of confidence.
From this position of friend, suggests the duke, who was burdened by large debts arising from his taste for luxury, obtain financial assistance from Austria in exchange for political submission. Arrange for that purpose a personal interview with Archduke Ferdinand in 1843.
In 1846, he is appointed senior horseman of the duke and finance minister of the dukedom and minister of the duke’s house. In these positions Ward shows an undeniable capacity despite, that he used unscrupulous methods of administration.
In 1847, after the death of Maria Luisa, Duchess of Parma for life and widow of Napoleon Bonaparte, Ward is sent on a mission to Florence to arrange the details of the transfer of the Duchy of Lucca to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. In agreement with the same treaties of 1818 that anticipated that transfer, the Duke of Lucca happens to recover his states of Parma and Plasencia with the title of Duke of Parma.
In Parma, Ward continues to be the Duke’s chief minister and continues the policy of submission to the Austrian government.
He was sent to Spain in 1848 as an extraordinary ambassador for the sake of restoring diplomatic relations between both countries. In Spain it is well received by the queen who names him knight great cross of the Order of Carlos III. In the same year he was commissioned to bring the congratulations of the Duke of Parma to Francisco José I of Austria for his accession to the throne.
On May 20, 1849, the abdication of Carlos II of Parma took place in his son Carlos III.
Next he is sent to Vienna as plenipotentiary minister of the duke. He receives the title of baron from the Emperor. Later he is sent on a diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom, where he is noted by Palmerston for his tact and sagacity, declaring himself that Ward is one of the most remarkable men of his time.
On July 21, 1853, he received a diploma granting all mining rights over iron and copper in the duchy of Parma.
In 1854, Duke Carlos III is murdered in the gardens of his palace in Parma, and Ward is stripped of all his charges. After that, Ward asks Austria for protection, which is granted without difficulty.
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