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Official Royal Posts: Lord Great Chamberlain

Considered one of the Great Officers of State, the Lord Great Chamberlain is accountable for the conduct of royal affairs in the Palace of Westminster.

The Lord Great Chamberlain and the Earl Marshal after the Queen has the left State Opening of Parliament in 2013.

The Lord Great Chamberlain and Earl Marshal after the Queen has the left State Opening of Parliament in 2013.

On ceremonial occasions, the Lord Great Chamberlain wears a gold key of his office which hangs from his waist, a scarlet court uniform and carries a white stave as the insignia of his office.

The Lord Great Chamberlain has authority, entrusted by the Queen, for certain areas of the Palace of Westminster, which are not overseen by the House of Lords and House of Commons.

The two main areas are the and the Royal Gallery and the Royal Robing Room. The Crypt Chapel and Westminster Hall and jointly controlled with the Speakers of the two Houses.

For the State Opening of Parliament, the Lord Great Chamberlain and Earl Marshal are in charge of meeting Her Majesty upon her arrival at Parliament and are charged with her welfare whilst in Parliament.

The office is a hereditary one. After endless debates, The House of Lords determined in 1902, the office was jointly vested in the families of Marquessate of Cholmondeley, the Earldom of Ancaster and the Marquessate of Lincolnshire.

King Edward VII be in agreement that the post should be held in turn for the length of a sovereign’s reign.

The office is held by the Cholmondeleys in alternate reigns.

David George Philip Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, KCVO, was styled from birth Viscount Malpas until 1968, and then Earl of Rocksavage until 1990. He is a Peer of the United Kingdom and has served as Lord Great Chamberlain of the United Kingdom since 1990.

Lord Cholmondeley is a direct descendant of Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister of Great Britain.

photo credit: ukhouseoflords via photopin cc

  • Trip

    Why is the position hereditary and only available to the families of Marquessate of Cholmondeley, the Earldom of Ancaster and the Marquessate of Lincolnshire?

    • robert

      Tradition. The best reason.

  • @RoyalCenEditor

    A part of the office of Lord Great Chamberlain is
    the Cholmondeley inheritance. This hereditary privilege is part of the Cholmondeley
    family through the marriage of the first Marquess of Cholmondeley to Lady
    Georgiana Charlotte Bertie, daughter of Peregrine Bertie, 3rd Duke of Ancaster
    and Kesteven.

    The second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh holders of the Marquessate
    have all held this office, which shifts between the heirs of the two daughters
    of the Duke with each new reign.

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