After diplomatic service in Russia and Spain, Clarendon joined Lord Melbourne’s government for its last year as Lord Privy Seal. In the 1840s Clarendon was strongly influenced by his brother Charles Pelham Villiers, a leading exponent of free trade, and when the Whigs returned to power in 1846 Clarendon accepted the post of President of the Board of Trade. With the formation of Lord Aberdeen’s coalition government, Clarendon embarked on the first of three spells at the Foreign Office. Out of office for much of Lord Palmerston’s premiership, Clarendon returned to the Foreign Office in 1865 and again in 1868 in Gladstone’s first administration. He died in office in 1870 and was succeeded by Lord Granville.