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Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham

Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur John Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham, GCB, GCIE, GCVO, KCSI, KCMG, ISO, PC (18 June 1849 – 31 March 1931) was a British Army officer and courtier. He was Private Secretary to Queen Victoria during the last few years of her reign, and to George V during most of his reign. He was the maternal grandfather of Lord Adeane, Private Secretary to Elizabeth II from 1953 to 1972.


The Lord Stamfordham

Arthur John Bigge, Vanity Fair, 1900-09-06.jpg
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
1910–1931
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded byThe Lord Knollys
Succeeded bySir Clive Wigram
In office
1895–1901
MonarchQueen Victoria
Preceded bySir Henry Ponsonby
Succeeded bySir Francis Knollys
Personal details
Born
Arthur John Bigge

(1849-06-18)18 June 1849
Died31 March 1931(1931-03-31) (aged 81)
NationalityUnited Kingdom British
Alma materRoyal Military Academy

Early lifeEdit

Bigge was the son of John Frederic Bigge (1814–1885) Vicar of Stamfordham, Northumberland and the grandson of Charles William Bigge (1773–1849) of Benton House, Little Benton, Newcastle on Tyne and Linden Hall, Longhorsley, Northumberland, High Sheriff of Northumberland and a prominent merchant and banker in Newcastle on Tyne. He was educated at Rossall School and the Royal Military Academy and was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1869.[1]

CareerEdit

Between 1878 and 1879, Bigge fought in the Anglo-Zulu War, as is known from his mentions in despatches. In 1880, he was warned to Balmoral Castle by Queen Victoria for giving an explanation on the Prince Imperial's death in the Zulu War. Before he was appointed as a Private Secretary, he had served as a groom-in-waiting and assistant private secretary to Queen Victoria. In 1881, he was appointed equerry-in-ordinary.[2]

Bigge was appointed Private Secretary to Queen Victoria in 1895 and served until her death in January 1901. A couple of months later, he was appointed Private Secretary to her grandson, the Duke of Cornwall and York (appointed Prince of Wales later the same year).[3] He continued to serve as such on the Prince´s accession to the throne as King George V in 1910, serving until his own death in 1931.[1] As Private Secretary to the sovereign he was sworn of the Privy Council in 1910[4] and elevated to the peerage as Baron Stamfordham, of Stamfordham in the County of Northumberland, in 1911.[5]

Bigge seemed to have an influence over King George[6] and was one of those who supported the King's decision to adopt Windsor as the family name because of the keen anti-German feelings, which were arising during the World War I. On 17 July 1917 King George V "issued a proclamation declaring “The Name of Windsor is to be borne by His Royal House and Family and Relinquishing the Use of All German Titles and Dignities.”;[7] persuading the King to deny asylum to Tsar Nicholas II and his family, who were thus forced to remain in Russia and who were murdered by the Bolsheviks; and interpreting the King's response "Bugger Bognor" as assent to the renaming of Bognor as Bognor Regis.[8] He introduced the Duke of York (later King George VI) to Lionel Logue, who became the Duke's speech therapist. [9]

FamilyEdit

Bigge married Constance Neville (d. 1922) in 1881: they had a son and two daughters.[1] Their son, Captain The Hon. John Neville Bigge (b. 1887), was killed in action near Festubert on 15 May 1915 whilst serving with the 1st Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps. He is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial.[10] A daughter, the Honourable Victoria Eugenie, married Captain Henry Robert Augustus Adeane. She was the mother of Michael Adeane, Baron Adeane, Private Secretary to Elizabeth II from 1953 to 1972.[11]

Lord Stamfordham died, still in office, at St James's Palace on 31 March 1931, aged 81, when the barony became extinct.[1]

HonoursEdit

British

Foreign

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d William M. Kuhn. "Bigge, Arthur John, Baron Stamfordham (1849–1931)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/31883.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c / Arthur John Bigge, 1st and last Baron Stamfordham Retrieved on 29 Jan 2018
  3. ^ "No. 27290". The London Gazette. 1 March 1901. p. 1499.
  4. ^ a b "No. 28384". The London Gazette. 14 June 1910. pp. 4164–4165.
  5. ^ "No. 28512". The London Gazette. 11 July 1911. p. 5168.
  6. ^ SIR ARTHUR BIGGE (60–67) Retrieved on 29 Jan 2018
  7. ^ / British royal family change their name to Windsor – archive 1917 Retrieved on 29 Jan 2018
  8. ^ Antonia Fraser, ed. (2000). The House of Windsor. A royal history of England. University of California Press. p. 36. ISBN 0-520-22803-0.
  9. ^ BBC, Note reveals story behind King's speech film, 1 March 2011.
  10. ^ https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/824113/bigge,-the-hon.-john-neville/
  11. ^ thepeerage.com Arthur John Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham
  12. ^ "No. 27285". The London Gazette. 15 February 1901. p. 1145.
  13. ^ "No. 27380". The London Gazette. 26 November 1901. p. 8087.
Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Henry Ponsonby
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
1895–1901
Succeeded by
The Viscount Knollys
Preceded by
The Viscount Knollys
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
1910–1931
Succeeded by
Sir Clive Wigram