A royal household or imperial household is the residence and administrative headquarters in ancient and post-classical monarchies, and papal household for popes, and formed the basis for the general government of the country as well as providing for the needs of the sovereign and their relations. It was the core of the royal court, though this included many courtiers who were not directly employed by the monarch as part of the household.
There were often large numbers of employees in the household, strictly differentiated by rank, from nobles with highly sought-after positions that gave close access to the monarch, to all the usual of servants such as cooks, footmen, and maids. The households typically included military forces providing security. Specialists such as artists, clock-makers and poets might be given a place in the household, often by appointing them as valet de chambre or the local equivalent.
Among many of these households there are certain great offices which have become, in course of time, merely hereditary. In most cases, as the name of the office would suggest, they were held by those who discharged personal functions about the sovereign. Gradually, in ways or for reasons which might vary in each individual case, the office alone survived, the duties either ceasing to be necessary or being transferred to officers of less exalted station.
In Japan, the Imperial Household Agency (宮内庁, Kunaichō) is the agency within the Government of Japan responsible for supporting the Emperor and the Imperial Family as well as keeping the Privy Seal and Great Seal of Japan.
The Agency is headed by a director-general, who is assisted by the Cabinet-appointed deputy director. The internal organisation of the Agency can be seen below.
- The Grand Steward's Secretariat
- Board of Chamberlains
- Emperor Emeritus' Household
- Crown Prince's Household
- Board of Ceremonies
- Archives and Mausolea Department
- Maintenance and Works Department
Auxiliary organs of the Agency include:
- Office of the Shoshoin Treasure House
- Imperial Stock Farm
Local branch office:
- Kyoto Office
The royal households of such of European monarchies have a continuous history since medieval times.
- 1. Supreme Officers of the Court (Oberste Hofchargen) - honorary functions
- 2. Chief Officers of the Household (Oberhofchargen)
- 2.0. The Premier Marshal of the Household (Oberhof- und Hausmarschall, i. e. chief executive officer of the court)
- 2.1. The Premier Master of Ceremonies (Ober-Zeremonienmeister)
- 2.2. The Premier Master of the Robes (Ober-Gewandkämmerer)
- 2.3. The Premier Cellarer (Ober-Mundschenk)
- 2.4. The Premier Master of the Horses and Mews (Ober-Stallmeister)
- 2.5. The Premier Master of the Hunt (Ober-Jägermeister)
- 2.6. The Premier Captain of the Palace Guard (Ober-Schloßhauptmann)
- 2.7. The Premier Master of the Kitchen (Ober-Küchenmeister)
- 2.8. The Superintendent general of the Theaters (Generalintendant der Schauspiele)
Mannheim (Electors Palatinate)
- The Grand Master of the Household (Obristhofmeister)
- Stewards (Truchsesse)
- The Master of the Music (Hofkapellmeister)
- The Scientist of the Court (Librarian, Masters of the Collections)
- The Artists of the Court
- The medical staff
- The Grand Chamberlain (Obristkämmerer)
- Court's Chamberlains (Hofkämmerer)
- Life Offices
- The Grand Marshal of the Household (Obristhofmarschall)
- The Master of the Larder
- The Master of the Cellar
- The Master of the Tablecloth
- The Master of the Silver and China
- The Master of Kitchen
- The Master of the Pastry
- The Grand Master of the Mews (Obriststallmeister)
- Court's Fourriers
- The Grand Master of the Hunt (Obristjägermeister)
- The Superintendent of the Court's Music
- public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Household, Royal". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 813–814. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the
- "Organization and functions of the Imperial Household Agency". Imperial Household Agency. Retrieved 1 August 2022.