He is shown to be a very rich man in the movie. At the start of the movie he is seen in a meeting with Alice's dad Charles Kingsleigh, who explains to Lord Ascot and a couple of other men about an expedition to China. The meeting is interrupted by a very young Alice who woke up from a bizarre dream.
Fast forward 13 years, Alice attends a party held at Lord Ascot's mansion. This party is a surprise proposal from Lord Ascot's son, Hamish, which everyone but Alice knew about. Alice declines the proposal and, after a discussion with Lord Ascot, goes on an expedition to China.