Comptroller of the Household

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The Comptroller of the Household is an ancient position in the British royal household, nominally the second-ranking member of the Lord Steward's department after the Treasurer of the Household. The Comptroller was an ex officio member of the Board of Green Cloth, until that body was abolished in the reform of local government licensing in 2004. In recent times, a senior government whip has invariably occupied the office. On state occasions the Comptroller (in common with certain other senior officers of the Household) carries a white staff of office, as often seen in portraits.[1]


Sir Edward Rogers, 'Controller to Queen Elizabeth' in the 1560s, holding his white staff of office

"Comptroller" is an alternative spelling of "controller", recorded since around 1500 in a number of British titles, and later also in the United States. The variant in spelling results from the influence of French compte "account".

The office of Comptroller of the Household derives from the medieval Household office of Controller of the Wardrobe, who was deputy to the Keeper (or Treasurer) of the Wardrobe, as well as an important official in his own right as keeper of the Privy Seal. Later, both these offices became high-ranking political appointments.

Modern role[edit]

In modern times, the Comptroller has become a less prominent position in British politics. The holder is one of the Government whips in the House of Commons, and their responsibilities for the Royal Household are now largely ceremonial. The role has been occupied by Rebecca Harris since 2022.

Known incumbents[edit]

15th century[edit]

16th century[edit]

17th century[edit]

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

21st century[edit]


  1. ^ Astington, John (1999). English Court Theatre, 1558–1642. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-521-64065-7.
  2. ^ LITTON, Sir Robert (d.c.1415), of Wennington, Essex History of Parliament
  3. ^ SPENCER, John (d.1417), of Banham, Norf. and Burgate, Suff. History of Parliament
  4. ^ Rawcliffe, Carol (1993), "Waterton, John (d.1417/18), of Waterton, Lincs. and Bramley, Surr.", in J.S. Roskell (ed.), The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386–1421, retrieved 15 December 2017
  5. ^ The history of the house of Stanley, etc p.41
  6. ^ "Charlton, Sir Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/92982. Retrieved 1 December 2011. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ a b c "Parr, William (1434-1483?)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  8. ^ a b c d The Household of Edward IV, Manchester University Press ND Google ebook
  9. ^ a b The DNB gives Sir William Parr as Comptroller of the Household from 1471 to 1483; Household of Edward IV gives Parr's office dates as 1471–1475 and again in 1481–1483
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Green Cloth officeholders Archived 28 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine Institute of Historical Research
  11. ^ a b c Kinney, Arthur F. (1973). Titled Elizabethans: A Directory of Elizabethan Court, State, and Church Officers, 1558–1603. North Haven, Connecticut: Shoe String Press.
  12. ^ J. Palmer, A Biographical History of England (1824), 86–87
  13. ^ "Gavin Barwell given ancient Government role after holding on to Croydon Central seat". Your Local Guardan. Newsquest. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  14. ^ @Marcus4Nuneaton (17 September 2021). "Honoured to be appointed as Comptroller of HM Household in the reshuffle" (Tweet) – via Twitter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Comptroller of HM Household (Government Whip) - GOV.UK". Retrieved 23 July 2022.

External links[edit]