List of Lord High Admirals (United Kingdom)

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Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom
Prince Phillip of Edinburgh.jpg
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

since 2011
Appointer British Monarch, Elizabeth II
Formation 1406
First holder John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset
Unofficial names Lord High Admiral

The Lord High Admiral (of England, Great Britain and then the United Kingdom, beginning in the 15th century) is the titular head of the Royal Navy. Most have been courtiers or members of the Royal Family, and not professional naval officers. The office of Lord High Admiral is one of the nine English Great Officers of State.

From the 17th century onwards, when an individual Lord High Admiral was appointed, there was also a Council of the Lord High Admiral which assisted him and performed some of the duties of the Admiralty.

When the office was not occupied by an individual, it was "put into commission" and exercised by a board of Lords Commissioners headed by a First Lord of the Admiralty, and this was the usual arrangement from 1709 until 1964, when the office of First Lord of the Admiralty was finally abolished and the functions of the Lords Commissioners were transferred to the Admiralty Board of the tri-service Defence Council of the United Kingdom. At the same time, the ancient title of Lord High Admiral was then resumed by the sovereign personally.

Elizabeth II held the title for the next 47 years, until in 2011 she conferred the office upon her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh as part of the celebrations for his 90th birthday.[1] The Queen chose this title to honour her husband with as he served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and gave up a promising naval career to support her as consort.[2]

Lord High Admirals of England, 1406 to 1628[edit]

Name Term of Office Ref
John Beaufort
1st Earl of Somerset
1406 1407 [3]
Edmund Holland
4th Earl of Kent
1407 1408 [3]
Thomas Beaufort
1st Duke of Exeter
1408 1426 [3]
John of Lancaster
1st Duke of Bedford
1426 1435 [3]
John Holland
2nd Duke of Exeter
1435 1447 [3]
William de la Pole
1st Duke of Suffolk
1447 1450 [3]
Henry Holland
3rd Duke of Exeter
1450 1460 [3]
Richard Neville
16th Earl of Warwick
1461 1462 [3]
William Neville
1st Earl of Kent
1462 1462 [3]
Richard Plantagenet
1st Duke of Gloucester
1462 1470 [3]
Richard Neville
16th Earl of Warwick
1470 1471 [3]
Richard Plantagenet
1st Duke of Gloucester
1471 1483 [3]
John Howard
1st Duke of Norfolk
1483 1485 [3]
John de Vere
13th Earl of Oxford
1485 1512 [3]
Sir Edward Howard 1512 1513 [3]
Thomas Howard
2nd Earl of Surrey
1513 1525 [3]
Henry FitzRoy
1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset
1525 1536 [3]
William FitzWilliam
1st Earl of Southampton
1536 1540 [3]
John Russell
1st Lord Russell
1540 1542 [3]
John Dudley
1st Viscount Lisle
1542 1546 [3]
Thomas Seymour
1st Lord Seymour of Sudeley
1546 1549 [3]
John Dudley
1st Earl of Warwick
1549 1550 [3]
Edward Clinton
9th Lord Clinton
1550 1554 [3]
William Howard
1st Lord Howard of Effingham
1554 1558 [3]
Edward Clinton
1st Earl of Lincoln
1558 1585 [3]
Charles Howard
1st Earl of Nottingham

Baron Howard of Effingham before 1596
Earl of Nottingham from 1596
1585 1619 [3]
George Villiers
1st Duke of Buckingham
1619 1628 [3]

Lord High Admirals of England, 1638–1708[edit]

Name Term of Office Ref
Algernon Percy
10th Earl of Northumberland
1638 1642
Francis Cottington
1st Lord Cottington
1643 1646
Prince James
The Duke of York and Albany
1660 1673 [4]
HM King Charles II 1673 1673
Prince Rupert
The Duke of Cumberland
1673 1679
HM King Charles II 1684 1685
HM King James II 1685 1688
HM King William III 1689 1689
Arthur Herbert
1st Earl of Torrington
1689 1689
Thomas Herbert
8th Earl of Pembroke
1701 1702
Prince George
The Duke of Cumberland
1702 1708

Lord High Admirals since 1708[edit]

Before 1707 a separate office of Lord High Admiral existed for Scotland, following the Act of Union 1707 all jurisdictions were placed under the office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain.

Portrait Name Term of Office Ref
Annavon GroßbritannienDahl.jpg Her Majesty
Queen Anne
23 October
1708 [4]
Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke by John Greenhill.jpg The Right Honourable
Thomas Herbert
8th Earl of Pembroke
1708 1709
Flag of the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.svg Vacant
Office in commission
1709 10 May
WilliamIVbyLonsdale.jpg His Royal Highness
Prince William Henry
The Duke of Clarence
10 May
19 September
Flag of the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.svg Vacant
Office in commission
19 September
1 April
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II
1 April
10 June
Prince Philip March 2015.jpg His Royal Highness
Prince Philip
The Duke of Edinburgh
10 June
Incumbent [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Duke of Edinburgh Appointed Lord High Admiral". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Prince Philip receives Navy title for 90th birthday". BBC News. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  3. ^ 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 Houbraken, Jacobus; Thoyras, Paul de Rapin; Vertue, George (1747). The History of England, A List of Admirals of England, 1228-1745. J. and P. Knapton. p. 271. 
  4. ^ a b National Archives, Kew, ref. ADM 4/410 List of the Lords High Admiral and Commissioners for executing that Office, which have been appointed since the year 1660 (1915)
  5. ^ "No. 18360". The London Gazette. 11 May 1827. p. 1033. 
  6. ^ "No. 18506". The London Gazette. 19 September 1828. p. 1733. 
  7. ^ "No. 43288". The London Gazette. 3 April 1964. p. 2895. 


  • Houbraken, ‎Jacobus. Thoyras, Paul de Rapin. Vertue, George. (1747). The History of England, A List of Admirals of England (1224-1745). England. Kanpton. P and J.

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