Esher, Reginald Baliol Brett, 2d Viscount (bālˈyəl, ēˈshər) [key], 1852–1930, English historian and government official. After sitting in Parliament (1880–85) as a Liberal, he thereafter preferred to exercise his influence from behind the scenes and withdrew from active politics. He succeeded to the peerage in 1899. As deputy governor (later governor) of Windsor Castle (1901–30), he was close to the royal family for 30 years. He was given access to Queen Victoria's papers, from which he edited, with A. C. Benson, The Correspondence of Queen Victoria (1907). He was offered many public offices, among them the viceroyalty of India and the secretaryship for war, but refused them all. His most important service was in the furtherance of army reforms before World War I. He wrote works on King Edward VII (1914) and Lord Kitchener (1921).
See his journals and letters (ed. by his sons, M. V. Brett and Oliver Brett, Viscount Esher, 4 vol., 1934–38).