Phipps, Constantine Henry (1797–1863), 1st marquis of Normanby , politician, was born 15 May 1797 at Mulgarve Castle, Whitby, Yorkshire, eldest of four sons of Henry, 1st earl of Mulgrave, and Martha Sophia, daughter of Christopher Thomson Maling of Durham. Only one of his five sisters survived childhood. Constantine was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. He entered parliament in 1818 as MP for Scarborough; his support for causes such as catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform caused a breach with his tory family, and in 1820 he moved to Italy. He returned to political life in 1822 as MP for Higham Ferrers, becoming a prominent supporter of George Canning. He also embarked on a career as a writer of light fiction, publishing four novels and two collections of stories. After succeeding to the earldom in 1831, Mulgrave was appointed governor of Jamaica the following year, and a privy councillor. As governor he was responsible for the brutal suppression of a slave rebellion, and later for overseeing the payment of compensation to slave owners in the aftermath of emancipation. Mulgrave resigned the governorship in 1834. He refused the position of postmaster-general under Lord Grey, but joined Melbourne's cabinet in July 1834 as lord privy seal, and in 1835 became lord lieutenant of Ireland.
Mulgrave was appointed as the public face of the whig policy of ‘justice to Ireland’, a policy adopted partly from principle and partly from the need to secure the support of Daniel O'Connell (qv) in the commons. Together with his chief secretary, Lord Morpeth (qv), and the under-secretary, Thomas Drummond (qv), Mulgrave embarked enthusiastically on a policy of conciliating the catholic community and of giving catholics confidence and a stake in government. A concerted effort was made to appoint catholics to official positions and to purge the administration of any appearance of partisanship. The administration of justice, and of local government, was reformed, as was the tithe system. Mulgrave was popular amongst Irish catholics, inviting members of the catholic upper and middle classes to levees at Dublin castle, where he received them with great courtesy and charm, and releasing large numbers of prisoners from Irish gaols through a liberal operation of the prerogative of mercy. He was much less popular amongst the protestant élite, many of whom refused to attend the viceregal court, and he was subject to personal attacks in the opposition press and hostile motions in parliament. Mulgrave brought a sense of style and showmanship to the lord lieutenancy, but he was also closely involved in the ordinary business of government. His achievement, from an English perspective, was summed up by Lord John Russell, who observed in 1836 that Ireland was ‘a strange country, but Mulgrave seems to have found a way of governing it’.
Mulgrave was created marquis of Normanby in June 1838. In 1839 he left Ireland to take up the post of secretary of state for war and the colonies. After the resignation of Melbourne's government in May 1839, Normanby was asked by the queen to try to form an administration; but he proved unable to do so, and when Melbourne subsequently resumed office as prime minister, Normanby returned to the colonial office. In August 1839 he was transferred to the home office, and remained as home secretary until 1841. He subsequently held diplomatic positions in France and Italy. His tendency to involve himself in foreign politics was the cause of some disquiet in the Foreign Office, and ultimately led to his peremptory recall from Italy in 1858. He died at Hamilton Lodge, South Kensington, on 28 July 1863.
He married (12 August 1818) Maria Liddell, eldest daughter of Thomas Henry Liddell, 1st Lord Ravensworth, and Maria Susannah, daughter of John Simpson of Bradley; they had one son. Normanby's papers are kept at Mulgrave Castle, with two portraits in oils by J. Briggs, one by M. Heuss, and a colour lithograph by Charles Brocky.