Martin Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield
The Lord Charteris of Amisfield
|Private Secretary to the Sovereign|
1 April 1972 – 12 November 1977
|Preceded by||Sir Michael Adeane|
|Succeeded by||Sir Philip Moore, Lord Moore of Wolvercote|
|Assistant Private Secretary to the Sovereign|
1 January 1954 – 1 April 1972
|Member of the House of Lords|
7 February 1978 – 23 December 1999
|Born||7 September 1913|
|Died||23 December 1999 (aged 86)|
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
|Alma mater||Royal Military College, Sandhurst|
|Years of service||1933–1951|
|Unit||King's Royal Rifle Corps|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Michael Charles Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield, (7 September 1913 – 23 December 1999) was a British Army officer and courtier of Queen Elizabeth II. 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
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.
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. 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.
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".
- Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division) in the 1946 Birthday Honours
- Member of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1953 Coronation Honours
- Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1958 Birthday Honours
- Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1962 Birthday Honours
- He received the Queen Elizabeth II Version of the Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Medal in 1970 for 20 years' service to the Royal Family.
- Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1972 Birthday Honours
- Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1976 New Year Honours
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath 11 August 1977
- Queen's Service Order in the 1978 New Year Honours
- Created a life peer as Baron Charteris of Amisfield, of Amisfield in the District of East Lothian on 7 February 1978
- Royal Victorian Chain 7 July 1992
- Malaysia: Honorary Grand Commander of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia (1972)
- Austria: Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria in 1966
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.
- England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837–1915
- England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916–2007
- Daily Telegraph "Her Majesty's A-team"
- Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 4124. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
- Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 5 April 1991
- Tomlinson, Richard (20 December 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". The Independent.
- Noreen Taylor (7 January 1995). "Saying what everyone thinks". The Spectator.
- "No. 37598". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1946. p. 2769.
- "No. 39863". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1953. p. 2947.
- "No. 41404". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1958. p. 3514.
- "No. 42683". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1962. p. 4311.
- "No. 45678". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1972. p. 6257.
- "No. 46777". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1976. p. 4.
- "No. 47303". The London Gazette. 19 August 1977. p. 10753.
- "No. 47420". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1977. p. 42.
- "No. 47459". The London Gazette. 9 February 1978. p. 1685.
- "No. 52987". The London Gazette. 10 July 1992. p. 11675.
- Debrett's Peerage. 1985.
- "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1972" (PDF).
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 214. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Grice, Elizabeth. "Perfect 10: The Men and Women Who Have Shaped the Queen" The Daily Telegraph, 1 June 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2020.