After a Harrow and Oxford education, his father bought him the parliamentary seat of Cashel and he made his maiden speech in the Commons at 21. Just a year later, he was made Under-secretary for War and the Colonies in Spencer Perceval's Government.
Peel became Chief Secretary for Ireland under Lord Liverpool in 1812, and his opposition to Catholic emancipation earned him the nickname "Orange Peel".
It also led to an abortive duel with Daniel O'Connell - the founder of the Catholic Board was arrested on his way to the rendezvous at Ostend.
He was just 34 when he became Home Secretary in 1822 and his first major task was to reform the penal system, involving the repeal of more than 250 statutes and a big reduction in the number of offences that carried the death penalty.
During the depression of 1826, it was Peel who organised the response to the widespread unrest that was gripping Lancashire's textile regions and, three years later, after a brief spell out of office, he introduced his Metropolitan Police Act.
From about 1750, Bow Street Magistrates Court in London had organised a uniformed band of "runners" - the Bow Street
PEEL'S birthplace, Chamber Hall in Bury
However, his politics were becoming increasingly liberal - he forced through a Factory Act in 1844 under the threat of resignation, and his repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 - the outcome of a long and forceful campaign by Manchester reformers coupled with an attempt to alleviate the Irish Potato Famine - outraged many fellow Tories, split the party and forced his resignation.
The Whigs and Liberals were returned at the election the following year and Peel found himself offering them advice on Free Trade. However, he refused to join the Whig-Liberal Government and in his final speech to the Commons, he criticised Palmerston's foreign policy. The following day, June 29th, Peel was thrown from his horse while riding up Constitution Hill in London, and died from his injuries on July 2nd.