Martin Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Lord Charteris of Amisfield
Sir Martin Charteris in 1962.jpg
Charteris in 1962
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
1 April 1972 – 12 November 1977
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded bySir Michael Adeane
Succeeded bySir Philip Moore, Lord Moore of Wolvercote
Assistant Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
1 January 1954 – 1 April 1972
MonarchElizabeth II
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
7 February 1978 – 23 December 1999
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born(1913-09-07)7 September 1913
London, England[1]
Died23 December 1999(1999-12-23) (aged 86)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England[2]
Alma materRoyal Military College, Sandhurst
Military career
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1933–1951
UnitKing's Royal Rifle Corps
Battles/warsSecond 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.[3] Charteris was the longest-serving Assistant Private Secretary to the Sovereign, having served for over 20 years in that position. Later, he became Private Secretary to the Sovereign.

Early life and education[edit]

Charteris was the second of two sons born to Hugo Francis Charteris, Lord Elcho (1884–1916) and Lady Violet Catherine Manners (died 1971). His paternal grandparents were Hugo Charteris, 11th Earl of Wemyss and Mary Constance Wyndham, and his maternal grandparents were Henry Manners, 8th Duke of Rutland and Violet Lindsay. His father, a barrister, was killed in action in Egypt in the First World War, and his mother remarried in 1922. His brother, David, succeeded as 12th Earl of Wemyss following the death of their grandfather in 1937.[4]

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.[4][5] He retired from the Army in 1951.


In 1950, he was appointed Private Secretary to Princess Elizabeth, who was then Duchess of Edinburgh and heir 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.[6]

Charteris was noted for his outspoken interview, given to The Spectator in 1995, in which he described the Duchess of York as "vulgar", the Prince of Wales as "whiny", and the Queen Mother as "a bit of an ostrich", who "doesn't look at" what she "doesn't want to see".[7]


British honours[edit]

Coat of arms of Martin Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield
A dexter hand issuant paleways holding between the thumb and forefinger in bend sinister a pair of sculptor's callipers all Proper.
Quarterly: 1st and 4th Argent a fess Azure within a double tressure flory counterflory Gules (Charteris); 2nd and 3rd Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure (Wemyss); over all at the fess point a crescent Sable for difference.
Dexter a scribe soberly attired holding in his exterior hand a quill pen Proper, sinister an Officer of the King's Royal Rifle Corps in the uniform worn circa 1904 Proper.
Ecce Charta Mea [18]

Foreign honours[edit]


In the first two seasons of the Netflix series The Crown, Charteris was portrayed by Harry Hadden-Paton. In seasons 3 and 4, the more mature Charteris was played by Charles Edwards. Charteris retired in 1977 as Private Secretary. In The Crown he was portrayed as holding the office much longer than in reality.


  1. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837–1915
  2. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916–2007
  3. ^ Daily Telegraph "Her Majesty's A-team"
  4. ^ a b Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 4124. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  5. ^ Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 5 April 1991
  6. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (20 December 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". The Independent.
  7. ^ Noreen Taylor (7 January 1995). "Saying what everyone thinks". The Spectator.
  8. ^ "No. 37598". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1946. p. 2769.
  9. ^ "No. 39863". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1953. p. 2947.
  10. ^ "No. 41404". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1958. p. 3514.
  11. ^ "No. 42683". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1962. p. 4311.
  12. ^ "No. 45678". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1972. p. 6257.
  13. ^ "No. 46777". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1976. p. 4.
  14. ^ "No. 47303". The London Gazette. 19 August 1977. p. 10753.
  15. ^ "No. 47420". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1977. p. 42.
  16. ^ "No. 47459". The London Gazette. 9 February 1978. p. 1685.
  17. ^ "No. 52987". The London Gazette. 10 July 1992. p. 11675.
  18. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 1985.
  19. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1972" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 214. Retrieved 18 October 2012.

External links[edit]

Court offices
Preceded by Private Secretary to the Sovereign
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Provost of Eton
Succeeded by