Michael Adeane, Baron Adeane

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The Lord Adeane

Michael Adeane, Baron Adeane.jpg
Adeane in 1953
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
1 January 1954 – 1 April 1972
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded bySir Alan Lascelles
Succeeded bySir Martin Charteris
Assistant Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
MonarchGeorge VI
Elizabeth II
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
20 April 1972 – 30 April 1984
Life Peerage
Personal details
Michael Edward Adeane

(1910-09-30)30 September 1910
London, England
Died30 April 1984(1984-04-30) (aged 73)
Aberdeen, Scotland
Helen Chetwynd-Stapleton
(m. 1939)
Children2, including Edward Adeane
Alma materMagdalene College, Cambridge

Michael Edward Adeane, Baron Adeane, GCB, GCVO, PC (30 September 1910 – 30 April 1984) was Private Secretary to Elizabeth II for 19 years, between 1953 and 1972.

Early life and education[edit]

Adeane was the son of Captain Henry Robert Augustus Adeane (1882–1914), by his wife Hon. Victoria Eugenie Bigge (d.1969). His paternal grandfather was Admiral Edward Stanley Adeane, from a family of landed gentry tracing their ancestry to a Simon Adeane who died in 1686;[1] his maternal grandfather was Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham, Private Secretary to Queen Victoria and King George V. Adeane was educated at Eton College and graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge in 1934 with a Master of Arts degree.


After graduating Adeane travelled to Canada and was aide-de-camp to Lord Bessborough, Governor General of Canada from 1934 to 1935, and then to his successor, Lord Tweedsmuir until 1936.

Adeane then returned to England and became George VI's Assistant Private Secretary from 1945 after five and a half years on active military duty,[2] a post he held until the latter's death in 1952. He continued in that post for Queen Elizabeth until 1953 when he was promoted to Private Secretary and admitted to the Privy Council.[3]

In 1961, during a Royal visit to Nepal, Adeane was credited with a share of a tiger kill with Sir Christopher Bonham-Carter in a royal tiger hunt.[4] The tiger shooting role had fallen to him after the Queen had declined, the Duke of Edinburgh had been unable to shoot due to having his trigger finger in a splint and the then Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home had missed twice.[4]

Personal life[edit]

On 10 January 1939 Adeane married Helen Chetwynd-Stapleton (1916 – 1994),[5] and they had a daughter and a son.[6] Their son, Edward Adeane, a barrister, was Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales from 1979 to 1985.

On 30 April 1984 Adeane died of heart failure in Aberdeen, Scotland. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium.[6]


Adeane was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in 1946,[7] a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1947,[8] he was promoted to Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in 1951,[9] and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1955.[10] In 1962 he was promoted to Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)[11] and in 1968 to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB).[12] He also received the Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Medal.

In 1959, Adeane received the Grand Decoration in Gold with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria[13] and on 20 April 1972, he was created a life peer as Baron Adeane, of Stamfordham in the County of Northumberland.[14]

In popular culture[edit]

Adeane is portrayed on-screen in the Netflix original series The Crown by actor Will Keen.[15] Following the recast of the series as of season 3, he is played by David Rintoul.


  1. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry, 18th edition, vol. 1, Peter Townend, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 1965, "Adeane of Babraham" pedigree
  2. ^ "King's Counsellor: Abdication and War: the Diaries of Tommy Lascelles" (Phoenix, London. 2007) edited by Duff Hart-Davis., p. 319
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b Lynam, Ruth (1961). "Tiger hunt and ring around a rhino". Life. 50 (12): 51–54. ISSN 0024-3019.
  5. ^ Helen Adeane. The Times. 13 August 1994.
  6. ^ a b Adeane, Michael Edward, Baron Adeane (1910–1984), courtier | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30752.
  7. ^ "No. 37598". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1946. p. 2764.
  8. ^ "No. 37977". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1947. p. 2574.
  9. ^ "No. 39243". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 June 1951. p. 3065.
  10. ^ "No. 40366". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1955. p. 3.
  11. ^ "No. 42617". The London Gazette. 9 March 1962. p. 1941.
  12. ^ "No. 44484". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1968. p. 3.
  13. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 213. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  14. ^ "No. 45656". The London Gazette. 25 April 1972. p. 4911.
  15. ^ "Will Keen - Actor Summary". IMDb. Retrieved 28 December 2017.

External links[edit]

Court offices
Preceded by
Henry Hunloke
Page of Honour
Succeeded by
Jock Colville
Preceded by
Alan Lascelles
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
Succeeded by
Martin Charteris