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Lords-in-waiting (male) or baronesses-in-waiting (female) are peers who hold office in the Royal Household of the sovereign of the United Kingdom.[1] In the official Court Circular they are styled "Lord in Waiting" or "Baroness in Waiting" (without hyphenation).

There are two kinds of lord-in-waiting: political appointees by the government of the day who serve as junior government whips in the House of Lords (the senior whips have the positions of Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms and Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard); and non-political appointments by the monarch (who, if they have a seat in the House of Lords, sit as crossbenchers). Lords-in-waiting (whether political or non-political) may be called upon periodically to represent the sovereign; for example, one of their number is regularly called upon to greet visiting heads of state on arrival at an airport at the start of a state or official visit, and they may then play a role in accompanying them for the duration of their stay (for instance, on 3 June 2019 lord-in-waiting Viscount Brookeborough was in attendance at Stansted Airport to welcome U.S. president Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on behalf of the Queen; he and Viscountess Brookeborough then remained "specially attached" to the Trumps for the duration of their visit.)[2] They are also occasionally in attendance on other state or royal occasions. "Extra" lords-in-waiting may also be appointed, supernumerary to the regular appointees, who fulfil a similar role; for example, the Baroness Rawlings, whose appointment as a government whip (and baroness-in-waiting) ceased in 2012, continued to serve as an extra baroness-in-waiting,[3] and represented the Queen on certain occasions (for example on 27 February 2019 she was present at RAF Northolt to welcome the King and Queen of Jordan, while at the same time another baroness-in-waiting, Baroness Manzoor, was present at Heathrow Airport to welcome the President of Slovenia).[4]

In addition, the honour of serving as a permanent lord-in-waiting is occasionally bestowed on very senior courtiers following their retirement. A permanent lord-in-waiting may also represent the sovereign, as often happens at funerals or memorial services for former courtiers.

Political appointments[edit]

Most baronesses and lords-in-waiting serve as government whips in the House of Lords. Being members of the government, they are appointed by the sovereign on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and invariably relinquish their position when there is a change of government.

Currently, there are six lords and baronesses-in-waiting who serve as junior whips in the House of Lords:[5][6]

Portfolio Name Since
Lord-in-waiting The Lord Harlech 22 September 2022
The Lord Davies of Gower 22 September 2022
The Lord Caine 24 November 2022
The Lord Evans of Rainow 1 January 2023
The Lord Mott 2 June 2023
Baroness-in-waiting The Baroness Swinburne (unpaid) 2 June 2023

Non-political appointments[edit]

Alongside the political appointees two non-political lords-in-waiting are always appointed,[1] at the personal discretion of the sovereign (distinguished from their political counterparts by the designation 'Personal Lord in Waiting').[7]

Those currently serving in this capacity are:[8]

Portfolio Name Since
Personal lord-in-waiting The Viscount Brookeborough[9] 1 May 1997
The Viscount Hood 30 July 2008

Additional appointments[edit]

Any additional appointees are termed extra lords or baronesses-in-waiting.

Those currently serving in this capacity are:[10]

Portfolio Name Since
Extra baroness-in-waiting The Baroness Rawlings 2012
Extra lord-in-waiting The Lord St John of Bletso 19 March 1998

Permanent lords-in-waiting[edit]

Permanent lords-in-waiting are retired senior officials of the Royal Household. Those serving in this capacity include:[11]

Name Since Timeline
Lord Great Chamberlain of England
The Marquess of Cholmondeley 17 March 2023 1990–2022
Lord Chamberlain of the Household
The Lord Luce 16 July 2007 2000–2006
The Earl Peel 1 April 2021 2006–2021
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
The Lord Janvrin 13 November 2007 1999–2007
The Lord Geidt 4 March 2019 2007–2017
The Lord Young of Old Windsor 15 May 2023 2017–2023


  1. ^ a b Tomlinson, Richard (20 Dec 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". Independent.
  2. ^ Court Circular, Buckingham Palace, 3 June 2019.
  3. ^ UK Parliament website biographical page
  4. ^ Court Circular, Buckingham Palace, 27 February 2019.
  5. ^ "His Majesty's Government: HM Household". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2022-10-29.
  6. ^ "Ministerial Appointments: September - October 2022". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2022-10-29.
  7. ^ E.g. Court Circular, Buckingham Palace, 30 July 2008
  8. ^ Court Circular, Buckingham Palace
  9. ^ Biography on UK Parliament website
  10. ^ Court Circular, Buckingham Palace
  11. ^ Court Circular, Buckingham Palace