Governor of Northern Ireland

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Governor of Northern Ireland
Former political post
Flag of the Governor of Northern Ireland.svg
Flag of the Governor of Northern Ireland
Predecessor Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Successor Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
First officeholder The Duke of Abercorn
Last officeholder The Lord Grey of Naunton
Style Excellency
Official residence Hillsborough Castle
Appointer British Monarch
Office began December 9, 1922
Office ended July 18, 1973

The Governor of Northern Ireland was the principal officer and representative in Northern Ireland of the British monarch. The office was established on 9 December 1922 and abolished on 18 July 1973.


The office of the Governor of Northern Ireland was established on 9 December 1922 under Letters Patent to:[1]

"do and execute in due manner as respects Northern Ireland all things which by virtue of the [1920] Act and our said Letters Patent of 27 April 1921 or otherwise belonged to the office of Lord Lieutenant at the time of the passing of the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922"

The Governor had possession of the Great Seal of Northern Ireland.

The Governor was the successor to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in Northern Ireland, itself established on 3 May 1921.[2] The office of the Governor was abolished on 18 July 1973 under Section 32 of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973.[3] The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, a cabinet office that had been created in 1972, took over the functions of the Governor on 20 December 1973 under Letters Patent.

Official residence[edit]

The official residence of the Governor of Northern Ireland was Hillsborough Castle in County Down. Following refurbishment of the Castle, the Duke of Abercorn took up residence in 1925. It remained the official residence until the abolition of the office of Governor in 1973; henceforth it has been the official residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Governors of Northern Ireland (1922–1973)[edit]

No. Name
Portrait Term of office Period Monarch Prime Minister
1. His Grace James Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn
James Hamilton 3rd Duke of Abercorn.png 12 December 1922 6 September 1945 22 years, 268 days George V
Edward VIII
George VI
Sir James Craig
John Miller Andrews
Sir Basil Brooke
2. The Right Honourable William Leveson-Gower, 4th Earl Granville
No image.svg 7 September 1945 1 December 1952 7 years, 85 days George VI
Elizabeth II
Sir Basil Brooke
3. The Right Honourable John Loder, 2nd Baron Wakehurst
Wakehurst.jpg 1 December 1952 1 December 1964 12 years, 0 days Elizabeth II Sir Basil Brooke
Terence O'Neill
4. John Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine of Rerrick
No image.svg 1 December 1964 27 November 1968 3 years, 362 days Elizabeth II Terence O'Neill
5. Ralph Grey, Baron Grey of Naunton
No image.svg 27 November 1968 26 June 1973 4 years, 211 days Elizabeth II Terence O'Neill
James Chichester-Clark
Brian Faulkner

See also[edit]


  1. ^ House of Lords, Northern Ireland Bill, Memorandum by the Northern Ireland Office.
  2. ^ 3 May 1921 was the "appointed day" under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, upon which the Parliaments of Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland were established,(SR&O 1921, No. 533).
  3. ^ A New History of Ireland by Theodore William Moody, Francis John.