George Bellew

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The Hon. Sir
George Bellew
The Honourable Sir George Rothe Bellew wearing a tabard as Garter Principal King of Arms, c. 1952
Born George Rothe Bellew
(1899-12-13)13 December 1899
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Died 1993 (aged 93–94)
Surrey, England
Occupation Officer of Arms
Spouse(s) Ursula Kennard Cull

Sir George Rothe Bellew, KCB, KCVO, KStJ, FSA (13 December 1899 – 1993) was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms is London. An expert genealogist and armorist, Bellew was appointed to the office of Garter Principal King of Arms–the highest heraldic office in England and Wales.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Dublin, Bellew was the son of Richard Eustace Bellew (son of Edward Bellew, 2nd Baron Bellew, and grandson of Patrick Bellew, 1st Baron Bellew and his Spanish wife, Anna Fermina de Mendoza) and Gwendoline Marie Josephine (née Herbert-Huddleston). He was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire, England and at Christ Church, Oxford. On 24 September 1935, he married Ursula Kennard Cull, daughter of Anders Eric Knös Cull. Bellew's half-brother, Edward had inherited their uncle's barony of Bellew earlier that year and Bellew and his siblings were later granted the precedence of younger sons/daughters of a baron. At the outbreak of World War II he obtained the rank of Squadron Leader in the service of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. During the war he was Mentioned in Despatches several times. Bellew died in 1993 and is buried at The Church of St Benet Paul's Wharf which has been the church of the College of Arms since 1555.

Heraldic career[edit]

Bellew's first heraldic appointment was the office of Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary.[1] He held this position between 1922 and 1926. He was next appointed to the office of Somerset Herald of Arms in Ordinary from 1926 and 1950. From 1935, he also held the office of Registrar of the College of Arms, a position which he held until 1945. He was also the Genealogist to the Royal Victorian Order between 1945 and 1961. Bellew was also made a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He was also Genealogist of the Order of the Bath between December 1950 and 1961. In 1950, he was appointed Garter Principal King of Arms which office he held until July 1961.

In his capacity as Garter Principal King of Arms, he was the first person to publicly read the proclamation issued by the 1952 Accession Council declaring the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the British Throne, when the said proclamation was read at St. James' Palace.

Bellew was also made Inspector of Regimental Colours in 1957 and held the position until 1961. He was also Secretary of the Order of the Garter between 1961 and 1974.

Honours and appointments[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32628. p. 1818. 3 March 1922. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 39090. p. 6207. 12 December 1950. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
Heraldic offices
Preceded by
Keith William Murray
Portcullis Pursuivant
1922 – 1926
Succeeded by
Alfred Butler
Preceded by
Everard Green
Somerset Herald
1926 – 1950
Succeeded by
Michael Trappes-Lomax
Preceded by
Sir Algar Henry Stafford Howard
Garter Principal King of Arms
1950 – 1961
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Richard Wagner
Preceded by
Gerald Wollaston
Knight Principal of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor
Succeeded by
Anthony Wagner