Royal Households of the United Kingdom

The Royal Households of the United Kingdom are the collective departments which support members of the British royal family. Many members of the Royal Family who undertake public duties have separate households. They vary considerably in size, from the large Royal Household which supports the Sovereign to the households of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, with fewer than ten members.

In addition to the royal officials and support staff, the Sovereign's own household incorporates representatives of other estates of the Realm, including the Government, the Military, and the Church. Government whips, defence chiefs, several clerics, scientists, musicians, poets, and artists hold honorary positions within the Royal Household. In this way, the Royal Household may be seen as having a symbolic, as well as a practical, function: exemplifying the Monarchy's close relationship with other parts of the Constitution and of national life.

Historical overview

The sovereign's domestics were his officers of state, and the leading dignitaries of the palace were the principal administrators of the kingdom. The royal household itself had, in its turn, grown out of an earlier and more primitive "thegnhood", and among the most eminent and powerful of the king's thegns were his "dishthegn," his "bowerthegn," and his horsethegn or staller. In Normandy at the time of the Conquest a similar arrangement, imitated from the French court, had long been established, and the Norman dukes, like their overlords the kings of France, had their seneschal or steward, their chamberlain and their constable. After the Norman Conquest, the ducal household of Normandy was reproduced in the royal household of England; and since, in obedience to the spirit of feudalism, the great offices of the first had been made hereditary, the great offices of the second were made hereditary also, and were thenceforth held by the grantees and their descendants as holder of tenure in grand serjeanty of the crown.[1]

The consequence was that they passed out of immediate relation to the practical conduct of affairs either in both state and court or in the one or the other of them. The steward and Lord High Chamberlain of England were superseded in their political functions by the Justiciar and Treasurer of England, and in their domestic functions by the Lord Steward and Lord Chamberlain of the household. The marshal of England took the place of the constable of England in the royal palace, and was associated with him in the command of the royal armies.[1]

The marshalship and the constableship became hereditary, and, although the Lord High Constable and Earl Marshal of England retained their military authority until a comparatively late period, the duties they had performed about the palace had been long before transferred to the master of the horse. In these circumstances the holders of the original great offices of state and the household ceased to attend the court except on occasions of extraordinary ceremony, and their representatives either by inheritance or by special appointment have ever since continued to appear at coronations and some other public solemnities, such as the State Opening of Parliament or trials by the House of Lords.[1]

The earliest record relating to the English royal household is of the reign of Henry II and is contained in the Black Book of the Exchequer. It enumerates the various inmates of the king's palace and the daily allowances made to them at the period at which it was compiled. It affords evidence of the antiquity and relative importance of the court offices to which it refers, though it is silent as to the functions and formal subordination of the persons who filled them.[1] In addition to this record, there are more recent but (for the most part) equally meagre, documents bearing on the constitution of the royal household, and extending, with long intervals, from the reign of Edward III to the reign of William III and Mary II.[2] Among them, however, are what are known as the Black Book of the Household and the Statutes of Eltham, the first compiled in the reign of Edward IV and the second in the reign of Henry VIII from which a good deal of detailed information is available concerning the arrangements of the court in the 15th and 16th centuries.[1]

The Statutes of Eltham were meant for the practical guidance of those who were responsible for the good order and the sufficient supply of the sovereign's household at the time they were issued. The great officers of state and the household specifically mentioned are not all of them. We have named those only whose representatives are still dignitaries of the court and functionaries of the palace. If the reader consults Hallam (Middle Ages, i. 181 seq.), Freeman (Norman Conquest, i. 91 seq., and v. 426 seq.) and Stubbs (Const. Hist. i. 343, seq.), he will be able himself to fill in the details of the outline we have given above.[1]

But the Black Book of the Household, besides being a sort of treatise on princely magnificence generally, professes to be based on the regulations established for the governance of the court by Edward III, who, it affirms, was "the first setter of certeynties among his domesticall meyne, upon a grounded rule" and whose palace it describes as "the house of very policie and flowre of England"; and it may therefore possibly, and even probably, take us back to a period much more remote than that at which it was actually put together.[1]

Various orders, returns and accounts of the reigns of Elizabeth, James I, Charles I, Charles II, and William and Mary throw considerable light on the organisation of particular sections of the royal household in times nearer to our own. Moreover, there were several parliamentary inquiries into the expenses of the royal household in connection with the settlement or reform of the civil list during the reigns of George III, George IV and William IV. But they add little or nothing to our knowledge of the subject in what was then its historical as distinguished from its contemporary aspects. So much, indeed, is this the case that, on the accession of Queen Victoria, Chamberlayne's Present State of England, which contains a catalogue of the officials at the court of Queen Anne, was described by Lord Melbourne the prime minister as the "only authority" which the advisers of the crown could find for their assistance in determining the appropriate constitution and dimensions of the domestic establishment of a queen regnant.[1]

In its main outlines the existing organisation of the royal household is essentially the same as it was under the Tudors or the Plantagenets. It is divided into three principal departments, at the head of which are the lord steward, the lord chamberlain and the master of the horse, and the respective provinces of which may be generally described as "below stairs," "above stairs" and "out of doors." The duties of these officials, and the various officers under their charge are dealt with in the articles under those headings. When the reigning sovereign is a queen, the royal household is in some other respects rather differently arranged from that of a king and a queen consort.[1]

When there is a king and a queen consort there is a separate establishment "above stairs" and "out of doors" for the queen consort. She has a Lord Chamberlain's department of her own, and all the ladies of the court from the Mistress of the Robes to the Maids of Honour are in her service. At the commencement of the reign of Queen Victoria the two establishments were combined, and on the whole considerably reduced. On the accession of Edward VII the civil list was again reconstituted; and while the household of the king and his consort became larger than during the previous reign, there was a tendency towards increased efficiency by abolishing certain offices which were either redundant or unnecessary.[1]

The Royal Household today

The three Great Officers of the Household

The Great Officers of the Household are, in order of seniority, the Lord Steward, the Lord Chamberlain and the Master of the Horse.[1] Nowadays only the Lord Chamberlain fulfils an executive function; but the other two continue to have a ceremonial role, and are to be seen particularly on State occasions.

The Lord Chamberlain

As currently arranged, the Royal Household is coordinated by the part-time Lord Chamberlain (The Earl Peel GCVO PC DL since 12 October 2006), and organised into a number of functionally separate units.

Heads of departments

The Private Secretary to the Sovereign (Edward Young since 2017), under whom works the Private Secretary's Office, but who also has control of the Press Office, the Queen's Archives, and the Defence Services Secretary's Office, serves as principal advisor to the Sovereign and the principal channel of communication between the Sovereign and his or her Governments. Besides these, he also manages the Sovereign's official programme and correspondence

The Keeper of the Privy Purse has responsibility for the Sovereign's personal finances and those to do with semi-private concerns, along with, as Treasurer to the Queen oversight of the civil list. The two positions are held together and, since 2018, they have both been held by Sir Michael Stevens.

The Master of the Household, since 2013, has been Vice Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt CB OBE who has overall responsibility for the domestic workings of the Household.

The Lord Chamberlain's Office, led by its comptroller (since 2006 Sir Andrew Ford KCVO), is responsible for official royal occasions.

The Royal Collection is overseen by its director (since February 2018, Tim Knox[3]).

Other units

The Royal Almonry, Ecclesiastical Household, and Medical Household are functionally separate but for accounting purposes are the responsibility of the Keeper of the Privy Purse and Treasurer to the Queen.

The Crown Equerry has day-to-day operation of the Royal Mews, and is part of the Lord Chamberlain's Office. The other equerries have a very different role: attending and assisting the Queen in her official duties from day to day. (Historically, they too were part of the mews, but today they are entirely separate.)

The Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood is also under the Lord Chamberlain's Office, as is the office of the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps.

The College of Arms has been a branch of the Royal Household since its incorporation in 1484 by King Richard III[4] it was directly appointed by the Sovereign on the recommendation of Earl Marshal. The college is a corporation of thirteen royal heralds, overseen by the Earl Marshal, a hereditary office held by the Duke of Norfolk. The college is self-supporting and receives no funds from the Crown. The college holds jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to heraldry, genealogy, and pedigrees in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and in some Commonwealth realms.[5]

Certain independent and honorific posts include Master of the Queen's Music, Piper to the Sovereign, Poet Laureate, and Astronomer Royal. The Queen's Bargemaster, the Keeper of the Jewel House, the Serjeants-at-Arms, and the Warden and Marker of the Swans, perform less celebrated functions.

The offices of Treasurer of the Household, Comptroller of the Household, and Vice-Chamberlain of the Household are held by senior government whips in the House of Commons. In the House of Lords, the Government Chief Whip is usually appointed Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms and the Deputy Chief Whip as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, with junior whips appointed as lords-in-waiting and baronesses-in-waiting. Occasionally these officers are called upon to undertake Household duties, especially the Vice-Chamberlain, who is responsible for writing regular parliamentary reports for the Queen.

The ladies-in-waiting, who are in personal attendance on the Queen on a daily basis, are formally styled either ladies of the bedchamber or women of the bedchamber. They are notionally overseen by the Mistress of the Robes – historically the senior female member of the Royal Household, but today a ceremonial position.

The Household includes a number of honorary military appointments: the aides-de-camp to the Queen (who are usually very high-ranking officers of the three armed services), the two Gold Sticks and the Vice Admiral and Rear Admiral of the United Kingdom. In addition, the two corps of royal bodyguards (the Gentlemen at Arms and the Yeomen of the Guard) are part of the Household.

Gentlemen ushers are unpaid members of the Royal Household, often retired military officers, who provide occasional assistance as marshals at royal events. The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod is an important official in the Houses of Parliament; but technically he too is a member of the Royal Household (and acts as the Queen's messenger at the State Opening).

The royal residences (see list of British royal residences) in current use are cared for and maintained by the Royal Household Property Section directly from the grant-in-aid provided by Parliament,[6] whereas Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House are privately owned and maintained. The unoccupied royal residences (including the Tower of London) are run by the Historic Royal Palaces Agency, which is self-funding.

Royal Household in Scotland

The Royal Household in Scotland includes offices of personal, honorary and state appointments.

The Great Officers of the Royal Household are:[7]

  1. Lord High Constable
  2. Lord Steward
  3. Lord Chamberlain
  4. Master of the Household
  5. Master of the Horse
  6. Comptroller, joined with the Lord High Treasurer
  7. King's Usher
  8. Lord Lyon King of Arms
  • Almoner
  • 2 Chaplains

The Royal Household in Scotland also includes a number of other hereditary and non-hereditary offices:

Household of Queen Elizabeth II

Household of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Household of the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh provides the administrative support to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It is based at Buckingham Palace, and is headed by his Private Secretary—the Treasurer (part-time 1970–1976) was formerly the senior officer, but this post is now vacant. There are also an Equerry (a major or equivalent from any of the three armed services), and two temporary equerries (usually a captain from the Royal Marines, and a captain from the Grenadier Guards).

Treasurers to the Duke of Edinburgh

Private Secretaries to the Duke of Edinburgh

Household of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

The Household of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall is the organised office and support system for Charles, Prince of Wales, and his consort the Duchess of Cornwall. At the time of their 2009 annual review[10] the Office of the Prince of Wales had the full-time equivalent of 121 staff.[11] The head of the Household is the Principal Private Secretary, Clive Alderton. Senior officials include the Deputy Private Secretary, a senior diplomat seconded from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to advise The Prince on Foreign and Commonwealth affairs, currently Scott Furssedonn-Wood; Master of the Household, Earl of Rosslyn; the Treasurer, Andrew Wright; Communications Secretary, Julian Payne; KCVO; and the Equerry, Commander Iain Kearsley RN.

In 2000, the Prince revived a tradition of having an official harpist, a role last seen under Queen Victoria. The first holder of the office was Catrin Finch, followed in 2004 by Jemima Phillips, and in 2007 by Claire Jones.

The Prince of Wales' Office is principally based at Clarence House, London, but also occupies rooms in the rest of St James's Palace. There are also offices for official staff at Highgrove House and Birkhall House, The Prince of Wales's private residences.

Most of the expenses incurred in operating the office comes from The Prince of Wales's private appanage, the Duchy of Cornwall. The only significant costs met by grant-in-aid provided by the Government is for the upkeep of Clarence House, and for official travel by air and rail, and for communications support.

Details of The Prince's Senior Staff are available in his office's annual reports.[12] The following titles all have "to/of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall" suffixed when written in full. Prior to the Prince's 2005 marriage, they were instead suffixed "to/of The Prince of Wales".

Principal Private Secretaries

Private Secretaries

Masters of the Household

Deputy Masters of the Household

  • 2006–2009: Andrew Farquharson


  • 2012–: Andrew Wright
  • 2005–2012: Leslie Ferrar
  • –2005: Kevin Knott

Deputy Private Secretaries

Assistant Private Secretaries

  • ?–present: Emily Cherrington[14]
  • ?–present: Sarah Kennedy-Good[14]
  • 2008: Shilpa Sinha
  • 2008–: Sophie Densham
  • 2006–2008: Anita Kumar
  • 2006–: Jonathan Hellewell
  • 2005–2007: Katy Golding
  • 2005–: Joy Camm & Amanda MacManus (each part-time)
  • 2004–2005: Mrs Manon Williams
  • 2003–2005: Mark Leishman
  • 2003–2005: James Kidner
  • 2002–2005: Paul Kefford
  • 2000–2003: Nigel Baker
  • 1994–1998: Mrs Manon Williams


  • 2015–2018: Maj. Harry Pilcher, Queen's Dragoon Guards
  • 2013–2015: Maj. David Bevan, Welsh Guards
  • 2011–2013: Maj. Peter Flynn, Parachute Regiment[14]
  • 2008–2011: Maj. Will Mackinlay The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
  • 2006–2008: Sqn Ldr Jayne Casebury, RAF
  • 2004–2006: Wing Cdr Richard Pattle, RAF
  • 2003–2004: Maj. Rupert Lendrum (Senior Equerry)
  • 2002–2004: Lt Cdr Alastair Graham
  • 1999–2002: Lt Cdr William Entwisle
  • 1996–1999: Lt Cdr John Lavery
  • 1994–1996: Maj. Patrick Tabor
  • 1991–1994: Lt Cdr Robert Fraser
  • 1989–1991: Cdr Alastair Watson
  • 1987–1989: Maj. Christopher Lavender
  • 1986–1987: Lt Col. Brian Anderson
  • 1984–1986: Maj. Jack Stenhouse
  • 1982–1984: Maj. David Bromhead
  • –1982: Maj. Quentin Winter, Paras
  • c.1979: Capt. Anthony Asquith, RRW
  • 1977–: Capt. Christopher Haslett Elliott, RRW
  • c.1976–1977: Capt. Alun Jones Davies, RRW
  • 1972–: Lt Gilbert Kerruish, RRW
  • 1970–1972: Lt the Hon. Nicholas Soames, 11th Hussars
  • c.1971: Lt David Wilson

Assistant Masters of the Household

  • 2007–: The Honourable Virginia Carington
    • as "Special Assistant" until 2007
    • as "Assistant Master of the Household" since 2007

Deputy Communications Secretary

  • Miss Eva Omaghomi

Household of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

A part-time Private Secretary to Prince William and Prince Harry (James Lowther-Pinkerton MVO MBE Irish Guards (Rtd.)) was appointed in the Household of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in May 2005. In January 2009, a separate Household of Prince William and Prince Harry was established (formally "The Household of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales"), headed by Lowther-Pinkerton. Following the marriages of both princes, the Household also additionally served their wives. The Household's offices are currently based in Kensington Palace, having formerly been based in St James's Palace. The Household, as of 2011, had the equivalent of 7.8 full-time staff.[14]

It was announced in June 2011 that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would temporarily move their official London residence to an apartment in Kensington Palace, a move that was completed in August of that year. The Duke and Duchess' primary residence continued to be the island of Anglesey in Wales, where the Duke served as a RAF search and rescue pilot. The couple previously shared an apartment at Clarence House with Prince Harry, which Prince Harry will retain.[15] On 6 November 2011, it was announced that the Duke, Duchess and Prince Harry, along with the Queen and the Prince of Wales, had approved a plan that would have the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge permanently move to a larger apartment in Kensington Palace in 2013, after it is renovated. This apartment was previously occupied by the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon after their marriage in 1960. The apartment was retained by Princess Margaret after her divorce in 1978 and was her London residence until her death in 2002. Prince Harry then moved his official residence from Clarence House to the apartment vacated by the Duke and Duchess. In addition, once the move is complete, their official household was also moved to Kensington Palace from St James's Palace, although the household remained shared.[16] Until the moves were complete, their Household remained based at St James's Palace and continued to be shared.[15]

It was later announced in early May 2013 that the royal couple's private secretary, James Lowther-Pinkerton, intends to leave his post as private secretary for the private sector, and his position will be split with each member of the household receiving a private secretary. In September 2013, Miguel Head became Private Secretary to the Duke of Cambridge and Rebecca Deacon assumed the role of Private Secretary to the Duchess of Cambridge.[17] Ed Perkins left his post as communication secretary at the household in 2014. On 21 November 2014, the palace announced his replacement as Jason Knauf.[18]

List of Household staff

Private Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry
  • 2005–2013: Major James Lowther-Pinkerton LVO MBE Irish Guards (Retd.)[14][19] Lowther-Pinkerton left his post in September 2013, but intended to spend one day a week at St James's Palace to act as a sounding board for the much younger members of staff who will take his place.[17]
Private Secretary to the Duke of Cambridge
Private Secretary to the Duchess of Cambridge
  • 2013–2017: Rebecca Deacon[20]
  • 2017–present: Catherine Quinn[22]
Advisor to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Communication Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
  • –2014: Ed Perkins
  • 2014–2019: Jason Knauf[25]
  • 2019–present: Christian Jones[25]
Deputy Communication Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry
Official Spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry

Household of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

In 2013, it was announced that Prince Harry had appointed former Household Cavalry captain, Edward Lane Fox, as his private secretary effective from July 2013.[28]

In March 2019, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would establish a new household for themselves, following the birth of their child in spring as well as the move of their official residence to Frogmore Cottage, with their office set to be located at Buckingham Palace.[29]

List of Household staff

Private Secretary to the Duke of Sussex
  • 2013–2018: Edward Lane Fox[17]
Private Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
  • 2018–2019: Samantha Cohen[30]
  • 2019–present: Fiona Mcilwham[31]
Deputy Private Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
  • 2019–present: Heather Wong[31]
Assistant Private Secretary to the Duchess of Sussex
  • 2018–2019: Amy Pickerill[30]
Personal Assistant to the Duchess of Sussex
  • 2018: Melissa Touabti[32]
Communication Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
  • 2019–present: Sara Latham[25]
Projects Manager to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
  • 2018–present: Clara Madden[33]
Digital Communications Lead to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
  • 2019–present: David Watkins[34]

Household of the Princess Royal

The Household of the Princess Royal provides the administrative support to Anne, Princess Royal, second child and only daughter of The Queen. While the Princess Royal's private residence is Gatcombe Park; her office, headed by the Private Secretary, is based at Buckingham Palace while her official London residence is located at St James's Palace.

Private Secretaries to the Princess Royal

  • 2019–: Charles Davies[35]
  • 2002–2019: Captain Sir Nick Wright KCVO, RN
  • 1999–2002: Colonel Timothy Earl OBE
  • 1997–1999: Rupert McGuigan
  • 1982–1997: Lieutenant Colonel Sir Peter Gibbs KCVO
  • 1976–1982: Major Nicholas Lawson LVO
  • 1974–1976: Major Benjamin Herman MVO RM

Assistant Private Secretary

  • 2010: Commander Anne Sullivan RN[36]

Office Secretary

  • ?–: Mrs Isabella Ward[36]

Extra Equerry to the Princess Royal

  • 2019–: Captain Sir Nicholas Wright, KCVO[35]

Household of the Duke of York

The Household of the Duke of York provides administrative support for the royal duties of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, along with his immediate family. From 1971, Prince Andrew (then aged 11 years), had the assistance of one of The Queen's equerries when required. The first was Sqn Ldr Peter Beer, who served until he was replaced by Maj. George Broke Royal Artillery in 1974, and Lt Cdr Robert Guy RN in 1977.

It was only with the appointment in 1980 of Sqn Ldr Adam Wise, that the Prince could be said to have acquired the assistance of his own staff – although he was still shared with the Queen and Prince Edward. In 1983, Wise was promoted to wing commander and appointed Private Secretary to Princes Andrew and Edward, severing his link with The Royal Household. He left the Duke of York's service in 1987, when Lt Col. Sean O'Dwyer was appointed – also jointly with Prince Edward.

The Duke of York is now assisted by a private secretary, deputy private secretary, assistant private secretary and equerry. There are also an office assistant, and a handful of personal staff including cook and butler. The Duke of York's office is currently based at Buckingham Palace, and the Duke has a residence at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, into which he moved during 2004, from Sunninghill Park, Ascot.

Private Secretaries to the Duke of York

Assistant Private Secretaries to the Duke of York

  • ?–present: James Upsher[37]

Equerry to the Duke of York

  • 2019–: Lieutenant Commander Alex Davies, RN[38]
  • 2017–2019: Captain Edward Monckton[38]
  • 2014–2017: Lieutenant Jack Cooper RN
  • 2012–2014: Lieutenant Michael Hutchinson RN

Household of the Earl and Countess of Wessex

The Household of the Earl and Countess of Wessex provides the administrative support to the Earl of Wessex, youngest son of the Queen, and to his wife, the Countess of Wessex. While their private residence is Bagshot Park, their office, headed by the private secretary, is based at Buckingham Palace.

Private Secretaries to the Earl and Countess of Wessex

  • 2019–present: Captain Andy Aspden RN
  • 2014–2018: Mr. Tim Roberts
  • 2002–2014: Brig. John Smedley CVO
  • 1987–2001: Lt Col. Sean O'Dwyer LVO DL Irish Guards (Retd.)
  • 1983–1987: Wg Cdr Adam Wise LVO MBE

Assistant Private Secretary to the Earl and Countess of Wessex

  • 2015–2018: Mr. Matthew Magee
  • 2018–present: Mr Alexander Stonor

Equerry to the Earl and Countess of Wessex

  • ?–present: Col. Paul Arengo-Jones CVO

Assistant Private Secretaries and Ladies-in-Waiting to the Countess of Wessex

  • 1999–present: Annabelle Galletley (Mrs. Angus Galletley)
  • 2000–present: Ms. Suzanne Lofthouse-Jackson
  • 2009–present: Amy Mayes (Mrs. Jonathan Mayes)

Programme Co-ordinators to the Earl and Countess of Wessex

  • 2016–present: Miss. Emily Mortimore
  • 2017–present: Miss. Jess Utton
  • 2017–present: Miss. Kelly Tschumi

Secretarial Assistant to the Earl and Countess of Wessex

  • ?–present: Ms. Jackie Phipps

Lesser households

Household of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

  • Private Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester at Kensington Palace: Mr Alistair Wood, LVO MBE 2004–2012

Household of the Duke and Duchess of Kent

  • Private Secretary to the Duke of Kent, KG at Wren House, Kensington Palace: Mr Nicholas Marden

Household of Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy

Household of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent

  • Private Secretary to Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO at Kensington Palace: Mr Nicholas Chance, CVO (1997–2016)[39][40]
  • ? (2016–present)

Former households

Household of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra

King Edward VII (1841–1910) was created Prince of Wales shortly after his birth, and his household was known as the Household of the Prince of Wales from 1841. Upon his marriage in 1863, he and his wife shared the Household of the Prince and Princess of Wales until their accession as King and Queen in January 1901, but several appointments were to either the Prince or the Princess (e.g., they each had separate Lords Chamberlain and private Secretaries). When he became King, his household was known as the Household of the Sovereign 1901–1910.

Queen Alexandra (1844–1925) received a separate household upon her husband's accession, the Household of the Queen. From 1910, it was known as the Household of Queen Alexandra.

Household of King George V and Queen Mary

Prince George (1865–1936) was created Duke of York in 1892, and received a separate household together with his brother. Courtiers appointed to assist the Prince George of Wales until that year had been part of his parents' household. After his marriage to Princess Mary of Teck in 1893 they shared the Household of the Duke and Duchess of York.

On the accession of his father, King Edward VII in January 1901, George automatically inherited the dukedom of Cornwall and was known as the Duke of Cornwall and York until the following November, when he was appointed Prince of Wales. From 1901 until his accession in 1910, he and his wife shared the Household of the Prince and Princess of Wales, but several appointments were to either the Prince or the Princess.

When he became King, his household was known as the Household of the Sovereign 1910–1936.

Queen Mary (1867–1953) received a separate household upon her husband's accession, the Household of the Queen. From 1936, it was known as the Household of Queen Mary.

Household of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

This is an incomplete list of those who served in Queen Elizabeth's Household

  • 1923–1936: Included in Prince Albert, Duke of York's "Household of The Duke of York"
  • 1936–1952: The Queen's "Household of The Queen"
  • 1952–2002: The Queen Mother's "Household of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother"



Extra Equerries
Temporary Equerries
  • 1955: Maj. Raymond Seymour
  • 1956–1958: Maj. John Griffin
  • 1958–1960: Capt. William Richardson
  • 1960–1964: Capt. Alastair Aird
  • 1980–1982: Capt. Ashe Windham
  • 1982–1984: Capt. the Hon. Jeremy Stopford
  • 1984–1986: Capt. Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton
  • 1986-1988 Capt. Niall Hall
  • 1988-1990 Capt. Giles Bassett
  • ?-1994: Capt. Edward Dawson-Damer
  • 1994–?: Maj. Colin Burgess
  • 2000–2002: Capt. Mark Grayson


  • 1923–1926: Lady Katharine Meade
  • 1926–1932: Lady Helen Graham
  • 1932–1936: Lettice Bowlby
  • 1985–2002: Jane Walker-Okeover
  • 1990–2002: Lady Margaret Colville
  • 1991–2002: Margaret Rhodes
  • 1993–2002: Jennifer Gordon-Lennox
Extra Ladies-in-Waiting
  • 1929–?: Lady Annaly

Ladies of the Bedchamber

  • 1937–1941: Viscountess Halifax (extra 1946–?)
  • 1937–1947: Lady Nunburnholme
  • 1937–1972: Countess Spencer DCVO OBE
  • 1937–1994: Viscountess Hambleden GCVO (as Dowager Viscountess from 1948)
  • 1945–1967: Lady Harlech (extra 1941–1945; as Dowager Lady from 1964)
  • 1947–1979: The Countess of Scarbrough as Dowager Countess from 1969
  • 1973–2002: Lady Grimthorpe (daughter of the above Countess of Scarborough)
  • 1994–2002: The Countess of Scarbrough (daughter-in-law of the above Countess of Scarborough)

Lord Chamberlain

Mistress of the Robes

Pages of Honour

Press secretary

  • 1956–2001: Sir John Griffin

Private secretaries

Assistant private secretaries


Women of the Bedchamber

  • 1937–1939: Lady Helen Graham
  • 1937–1960: Lady Katharine Seymour
  • 1937–1961: Marion Hyde, Lady Hyde
  • 1937–1944: Lettice Bowlby
  • 1939–?: Lady Adelaide Peel
  • 1944–1947: Lady Mary Herbert
  • 1947–2001: Lady Jean Rankin
  • 1951–1961: The Hon Olivia Mulholland
  • 1960–1993: Lady Ruth Burke Roche, Baroness Fermoy
  • 1961–1963: Lady Mary Harvey
  • 1965–2002: Dame Frances Campbell-Preston
  • 1981–2002: Lady Angela Oswald
Extra Women of the Bedchamber
Temporary Women of the Bedchamber
  • 1963–1965: Lady Caroline Douglas-Home



  • 1936–?: George Frederick Still
  • 1936–?: Sir John Weir
  • 1936–?: Henry Letheby Tidy
  • 1936–?: Daniel Thomas Davies



  • 1956–?: Richard May Esq.

Honorific positions

See also

Notes and sources

  1.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Household, Royal". Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 813–814.
    • Society of Antiquaries of London (1790): A collection of ordinances and regulations for the government of the royal household, made in divers reigns : from King Edward III to King William and Queen Mary, also receipts in ancient cookery, accessed 11 October 2013. This contains a collection of primary sources, including the Liber Nigra of Edward IV and the Statutes of Eltham.
  3. "The Officers of Arms - College of Arms". Retrieved 1 May 2018.
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