Martin Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Charteris of Amisfield
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Lt. Col. The Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Adeane
Succeeded by The Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Moore
Personal details
Nationality British
Alma mater Royal Military College, Sandhurst

Martin Michael Charles Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield GCB GCVO QSO OBE PC (7 September 1913 – 23 December 1999) was a courtier of Queen Elizabeth II.[1]

Charteris was the son of Hugo Francis Charteris, grandson of Hugo Charteris, 11th Earl of Wemyss and a brother of the 12th Earl of Wemyss. He was educated at Eton and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and was commissioned in the King's Royal Rifle Corps. He fought in the Middle East during World War II, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. On his return, he married Hon. Mary Margesson (a daughter of the 1st Viscount Margesson) on 16 December 1944 and they had three children. He retired from the Army in 1951.

In 1950, he was appointed Private Secretary to Princess Elizabeth, who was then Duchess of Edinburgh and heiress presumptive to the British throne. From her accession in 1952 until 1972, he served as her Assistant Private Secretary under Sir Michael Adeane. On Adeane's retirement in 1972, he was promoted to Private Secretary. He held this post until his retirement in 1977 and returned to Eton as its Provost. He was granted the honour of being a Permanent Lord in Waiting.[2]

In 1966, Charteris received the Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria[3] and in 1978 he was created a life peer as Baron Charteris of Amisfield, of Amisfield in East Lothian.

Charteris was probably most notable through an interview he gave to The Spectator in 1995, in which he described the Duchess of York as "vulgar", the Prince of Wales as "whiney" and the Queen Mother as "a bit of an ostrich."[4]


  1. ^ Daily Telegraph "Her Majesty's A-team"
  2. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (20 Dec 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". Independent. 
  3. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 214. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Obituary (24 December 1999). "Queen's confidant dies". BBC News. 

External links[edit]

Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Michael Adeane
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
Succeeded by
Sir Philip Moore
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Caccia
Provost of Eton
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Acland