Charles Richard Fox was born in London in 1796. His parents (Elizabeth Vassall and Henry Richard Vassall Fox) were unmarried when he was born. They eventually married when Charles was eight months old, once his mother had divorced her previous husband Sir Godfrey Webster. As a result, Charles Richard Fox was deemed illegitimate and unable to inherit his father’s peerage.
Fox initially served in the navy and then joined the army in 1815. Part of a prominent Whig family, Fox sat in Parliament from 1831 to 1847 for Calne, Tavistock, Stroud and Tower Hamlets. He held several roles on the Board of Ordnance during the Whig ministries; he was Surveyor General three times – firstly from 1832 to 1834, then again in 1841, and finally from 1846 to 1852 – and was also Secretary to the Master-General from 1835 to 1841. In addition to this, from 1836 Fox was Receiver General to the Duchy of Lancaster, where his father was the Chancellor.
Outside of politics, Fox was a scholar and antiquarian, a member of the Society of Dilettanti from 1837, and had a large coin collection which was acquired by the Royal Museum, Berlin after his death in 1873.