Martin Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield

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Lieutenant-Colonel The Right Honourable
The Lord Charteris of Amisfield
Sir Martin Charteris in 1962.jpg
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Sir Michael Adeane
Succeeded by Sir Philip Moore
Personal details
Born 7 September 1913
Died 23 December 1999 (1999-12-24) (aged 86)
Nationality British
Alma mater Royal Military College, Sandhurst
Military career
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1933-1951
Rank Lieutenant-Colonel
Unit King's Royal Rifle Corps
Battles/wars Second World War

Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Michael Charles Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield, GCB, GCVO, OBE, QSO, PC (7 September 1913 – 23 December 1999) was a British Army officer and 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 the Second World War, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. On his return, he married the Hon. Mary Margesson (a daughter of the 1st Viscount Margesson) on 16 December 1944 in Jerusalem and they had three children.[2] 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.[3]

Charteris was probably most outspoken in 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]


British honours[edit]

Foreign honour[edit]


In Netflix's 2016 series The Crown, Charteris was portrayed by Harry Hadden-Paton.


  1. ^ Daily Telegraph "Her Majesty's A-team"
  2. ^ Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 5 April 1991
  3. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (20 Dec 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". Independent. 
  4. ^ Obituary (24 December 1999). "Queen's confidant dies". BBC News. 
  5. ^ "No. 37598". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1946. p. 2769. 
  6. ^ "No. 39863". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1953. p. 2947. 
  7. ^ "No. 41404". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1958. p. 3514. 
  8. ^ "No. 42683". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1962. p. 4311. 
  9. ^ "No. 45678". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1972. p. 6257. 
  10. ^ "No. 46777". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1976. p. 4. 
  11. ^ "No. 47303". The London Gazette. 19 August 1977. p. 10753. 
  12. ^ "No. 47420". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1977. p. 42. 
  13. ^ "No. 47459". The London Gazette. 9 February 1978. p. 1685. 
  14. ^ "No. 52987". The London Gazette. 10 July 1992. p. 11675. 
  15. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1972." (PDF). 
  16. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 214. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 

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 Antony Acland