Andrew Bertie

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His Most Eminent Highness
Fra' Andrew Bertie
Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta
Servant of God
Gianfranco-De-Meo Gran-Maestro-Fra-Andrew-Bertie g.jpg
78th Prince and Grand Master
Reign 11 April 1988 – 7 February 2008
Predecessor Fra' Angelo de Mojana, 77th Prince and Grand Master
Successor Fra' Matthew Festing, 79th Prince and Grand Master
Born 15 May 1929 (1929-05-15)
London, England, United Kingdom
Died 7 February 2008(2008-02-07) (aged 78)
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Burial 16 February 2008
Church of Santa Maria del Priorato, Aventine Hill, Rome, Italy
Full name
Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie
Dynasty Bertie family
Father Lt. Cdr. the Hon. James Bertie
Mother Lady Jean Crichton-Stuart

Fra' Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie (15 May 1929 – 7 February 2008) was the 78th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, serving for nearly 20 years from 1988 until his death in 2008. Bertie was the second Englishman elected Grand Master since 1258.

He never married and had a younger brother. He was the fifth cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II.[1]

On 14 August 2012, The Times of Malta reported that "The process for the beatification of the late Grand Master and Prince Fra' Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie is to begin in the coming months".[2]

Early career[edit]

Bertie was born in London as the elder son of the Hon. James Bertie (youngest son of the 7th Earl of Abingdon) and Lady Jean Crichton-Stuart (daughter of the 4th Marquess of Bute). He was educated at the English Roman Catholic public school, Ampleforth College, and graduated in Modern History from Christ Church, Oxford. He also attended the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. From 1948 to 1950, he carried out military service in the Scots Guards, becoming a commissioned officer in 1949. After a short experience in the commercial sector, he taught modern languages (particularly French and Spanish but also German, Dutch, Tibetan and Maltese) for twenty-three years at Worth School, a Benedictine public school in Sussex, England. He was a judo black belt and taught judo at Worth School.

78th Grand Master, the Order of Malta[edit]

Flags flying at half-staff over Palazzo di Malta, headquarters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, after the death of the Grand Master Andrew Bertie

Bertie was admitted to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) in 1956. He became a Knight of Justice in the order by taking Perpetual Vows in 1981 (the equivalent of a monk).[3]

He also joined the government of the Order in 1981 as a member of the Sovereign Council, and in April 1988, he was elected the 78th Grand Master. Subsequently, he was Hospitaller of the Sanctuary of Lourdes, which is the annual pilgrimage site of SMOM.[4] He succeeded the late Fra' Angelo de Mojana, the Milanese nobleman who had served the Order as Grand Master since 1962 and accomplished a great deal of modernization to the organization. Although it is considered sovereign, the Order of Malta is also a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church, so Bertie's election needed the ratification of Pope John Paul II, which was obtained on 11 April 1988.

Bertie described the aims of the Order as “to help the poor and the sick; that is and always has been our primary aim”:

"The other military orders were there to fight the Saracens and to save Spain or the Holy Land or Prussia from the pagans. But we always had this special commitment to the poor and the sick. Our aims today are exactly the same as they were in 1099, the sanctification of our members through service to the sick."[5]

Personal life[edit]

Bertie never married or had children. He died in Rome from cancer on 7 February 2008, aged 78.


Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Titles and style[edit]

His full title was: His Most Eminent Highness Fra' Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ.[6]

Honours and awards[edit]



  • Path to Peace Award (2005)
  • Matteo Ricci Award (2006)

Honorary citizenships[edit]

Honorary degrees[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ By common descent from King George III and his wife Charlotte Sophia.
  2. ^ "Process for beatification of Grand Master Andrew Bertie initiated". Retrieved 2 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "Obituaries". Retrieved 1 January 2017.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Pope Mourns Fra Bertie, Grand Master of the Order of Malta". Radio Vaticana. 8 February 2008. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Ampleforth College obituary Archived 22 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Lithuanian Presidency Archived 19 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Lithuanian Orders searching form
  8. ^ Slovak republic website, State honours : 1st Class received in 1997 (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table)

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Angelo de Mojana di Cologna
Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller
Succeeded by
Matthew Festing