Lord Chamberlain

Lord Chamberlain

The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is one of the chief officers of the Royal Household in the United Kingdom, and is to be distinguished from the Lord Great Chamberlain, one of the Great Officers of State.

The Lord Chamberlain is always a peer and a privy councillor, and before 1782 was of Cabinet rank. Until 1924 the position was a political one. The Lord Chamberlain is the chief functionary of the court, and is generally responsible for organising all court functions. He is considered the "senior official" of the Royal Household. [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page4981.asp The Lord Chamberlain] at the official website of the British Royal Household]

Theatre Censorship

From 1737 until 1968 the Lord Chamberlain also had the role of licensor of plays in the City of London, Westminster, and certain other areas.(See the Lord Chamberlain's requirements). This role made the Lord Chamberlain effectively the official censor of theatrical performances, although the responsibility was in practice delegated to the Lord Chamberlain's Office.

This duty was abolished under the Theatres Act 1968. One of the catalysts for this change in the law was the prosecution in 1965 of Edward Bond's play "Saved", staged at the Royal Court Theatre under 'club' auspices. The first performance of the musical "Hair" was delayed until the office's censorship function was abolished. [ [http://michaelbutler.com/hair/holding/articles/HairArticles/NYT9-29-68.html New York Times 9-29-68 ] ]

Other duties

Although the senior officer of the Royal Household on a daily basis is the Private Secretary to the Sovereign, the Lord Chamberlain exercises a major co-ordination role. The post is normally part-time, though in recent times Lord Maclean served full-time. The current Lord Chamberlain is Lord Peel, who has been the Lord Chamberlain since 12 October 2006. [ [http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page9773.asp Appointment of Lord Chamberlain] at the Royal Household official website, 2006]

In Denmark there is also a Lord Chamberlain, called Hofmarskallen (Marshal of the Court) who fulfils a similar role for the Danish Royal Family.

Lords Chamberlain, 1485 to the present

*Sir William Stanley (1485–1495)
*Giles Daubeny, 8th Baron Daubeny (1495–1508)
*Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester (1508–26)
*William FitzAlan, 18th Earl of Arundel (1526–30)
*William Sandys, 1st Baron Sandys of the Vyne (1530–35)
*William Paulet, 1st Baron St John of Basing (1535–50)
*Thomas Wentworth, 1st Baron Wentworth (1550–51)
*Thomas d'Arcy, 1st Baron Darcy of Cliche (1551–53)
*John Williams, 1st Baron Williams de Thame (1553–57)
*William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham (1557–72)
*Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex (1572–85)
*Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon (1585–96)
*William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham (1596–97)
*George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon (1597–1603)
*Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk (1603–13)
*Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset (1613–15)
*William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1615–25)
*Philip Herbert, 1st Earl of Montgomery (1625–41)
*Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex (1641–42)
*Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset (1642–49)

"The Commonwealth and The Protectorate (1649–60)"

*Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester (1660–71)
*Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of St Albans (1671–74)
*Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington (1674–85)
*Robert Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury (1685)
*John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave (1685–89)
*Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset (1689–97)
*Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland (1697)
*"The office was vacant from 1697 to 1699 as The King did not accept the resignation of the Earl of Sunderland."
*Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury (1699–1700)
*Edward Villiers, 1st Earl of Jersey (1700–04)
*Henry Grey, 1st Marquess of Kent (1704–10)
*Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury (1710–15)
*Charles Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton (1715–17)
*Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle (1717–24)
*Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton (1724–57)
*William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire (1757–62)
*George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough (1762–63)
*Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Gower (1763–65)
*William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1765–66)
*Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Earl of Hertford (1766–82)
*George Montagu, 4th Duke of Manchester (1782–83)
*Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Earl of Hertford (1783)
*James Cecil, 1st Marquess of Salisbury (1783–1804)
*George Legge, 3rd Earl of Dartmouth (1804–10)
*Francis Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford (1812–21)
*James Graham, 3rd Duke of Montrose (1821–27)
*William Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (1827–28)
*James Graham, 3rd Duke of Montrose (1828–30)
*George Child Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey (1830)
*William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (1830–34)
*George Child-Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey (1834–35)
*Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley (1835)
*Francis Conyngham, 2nd Marquess Conyngham (1835–39)
*Henry Paget, Earl of Uxbridge (1839–41)
*George Sackville-West, 5th Earl De La Warr (1841–46)
*Frederick Spencer, 4th Earl Spencer (1846–48)
*John Campbell, 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane (1848–52)
*Brownlow Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Exeter (1852)
*John Campbell, 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane (1853–58)
*George Sackville-West, 5th Earl De La Warr (1858–59)
*John Townshend, 3rd Viscount Sydney (1859–66)
*Orlando Bridgeman, 3rd Earl of Bradford (1866–68)
*John Townshend, 3rd Viscount Sydney (1868–74)
*Francis Seymour, 5th Marquess of Hertford (1874–79)
*William Edgcumbe, 4th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (1879–80)
*Valentine Browne, 4th Earl of Kenmare (1880–85)
*Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Earl of Lathom (1885–86)
*Valentine Browne, 4th Earl of Kenmare (1886)
*Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Earl of Lathom (1886–92)
*Robert Wynn-Carington, 3rd Baron Carrington (1892–95)
*Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Earl of Lathom (1895–98)
*John Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun (1898–1900)
*Edward Villiers, 5th Earl of Clarendon (1900–05)
*Charles Spencer, 1st Viscount Althorp (1905–12) ("from 1910, 6th Earl Spencer")
*William Mansfield, 2nd Baron Sandhurst (1912–21) ("from 1917, as 1st Viscount Sandhurst")
*John Stewart-Murray, 8th Duke of Atholl (1921–22)
*Rowland Baring, 2nd Earl of Cromer (1922–38)
*George Villiers, 6th Earl of Clarendon (1938–52)
*Lawrence Lumley, 11th Earl of Scarbrough (1952–63)
*Cameron Cobbold, 1st Baron Cobbold (1963–71)
*Charles Maclean of Duart, Baron Maclean (1971–84)
*David Ogilvy, 13th Earl of Airlie (1984–31 December 1997)
*Thomas Stonor, 7th Baron Camoys (1 January 1998–31 May 2000)
*Richard Luce, Baron Luce (1 October 2000–11 October 2006)
*William Peel, 3rd Earl Peel (from 12 October 2006)


Further reading

*J.R. Stephens: "The Censorship of English Drama 1824-1901" (Cambridge University Press, 1981).
*John Johnston, "The Lord Chamberlain's Blue Pencil" (Hodder & Stoughton, 1990. ISBN 0340525290)
*Nicholas de Jongh, "" (Methuen, 2000. ISBN 0413706206. Winner of the Society for Theatre Research book prize, 2000).
*Dominic Shellard, Steve Nicholson and Miriam Handley: "The Lord Chamberlain Regrets ... A History of British Theatre Censorship" (British Library: 2004) (ISBN 0-7123-4865-4).


*The Lord Chamberlain and censorship at the Theatre Archive Project


*http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=43760 (1660-1837)

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