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List of Lord High Admirals (United Kingdom)

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The Lord High Admiral (of England, Great Britain and then the United Kingdom, beginning in the 15th century) is the titular head of the Royal Navy. Most have been courtiers or members of the Royal Family, and not professional naval officers. The office of Lord High Admiral is one of the nine English Great Officers of State.

Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom
Prince Phillip of Edinburgh.jpg
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

since 2011
Appointer British Monarch, Elizabeth II
Formation 1413
First holder The Duke of Exeter
Unofficial names Lord High Admiral

From the 17th century onwards, when an individual Lord High Admiral was appointed, there was also a Council of the Lord High Admiral which assisted him and performed some of the duties of the Admiralty.

When the office was not occupied by an individual, it was "put into commission" and exercised by a board of Lords Commissioners headed by a First Lord of the Admiralty, and this was the usual arrangement from 1709 until 1964, when the office of First Lord of the Admiralty was finally abolished and the functions of the Lords Commissioners were transferred to the Admiralty Board of the tri-service Defence Council of the United Kingdom. At the same time, the ancient title of Lord High Admiral was then resumed by the sovereign personally.

Elizabeth II held the title for the next 47 years, until in 2011 she conferred the office upon her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh as part of the celebrations for his 90th birthday.[1] The Queen chose this title to honour her husband with as he served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and gave up a promising naval career to support her as consort.[2]


Lord High Admirals of England, 1413 to 1628Edit

Lord High Admirals of England, 1638–1708Edit

Name Entered office Left office Notes
The Earl of Northumberland 1638 1642
The Lord Cottington 1643 1646
The Duke of York and Albany 1660 1673 [3]
King Charles II 1673 1673
Prince Rupert 1673 1679
King Charles II 1684 1685
King James II 1685 1688
King William III 1689 1689
The Earl of Torrington 1689 1689
The Earl of Pembroke 1701 1702
Prince George of Denmark 1702 1708

Lord High Admirals of Great Britain, 1708–1709Edit

Name Entered office Left office Notes
Queen Anne 1708 1708 [3]
The Earl of Pembroke 1708 1709

Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, 1827–1828Edit

Name Entered office Left office
HRH The Duke of Clarence 1827 1828

Lord High Admirals of the United Kingdom, 1964 to presentEdit

Name Entered office Left office Notes
HM Queen Elizabeth II 1964 2011 [2]
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh 2011 incumbent

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Duke of Edinburgh Appointed Lord High Admiral". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Prince Philip receives Navy title for 90th birthday". BBC News. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  3. ^ a b National Archives, Kew, ref. ADM 4/410 List of the Lords High Admiral and Commissioners for executing that Office, which have been appointed since the year 1660 (1915)