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Robert Fellowes, Baron Fellowes, GCB, GCVO, QSO, PC (born 11 December 1941) is a British courtier who was Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II from 1990 to 1999, and is also known as a brother-in-law of Diana, Princess of Wales and first cousin of Ronald Ferguson, the father of Sarah, Duchess of York.

The Lord Fellowes

Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded bySir William Heseltine
Succeeded byLord Robin Janvrin
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
12 July 1999
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born (1941-12-11) 11 December 1941 (age 77)
Spouse(s)Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes
Alma materEton College


Family backgroundEdit

Fellowes is the son of Scots Guards Major Sir William Fellowes, the Queen's Land Agent at Sandringham, and of his wife Jane Charlotte Ferguson, daughter of Brigadier-General Algernon Francis Holford Ferguson (great-grandfather of Sarah, Duchess of York). The Fellowes of Shotesham are an old country family, related to the Lords De Ramsey (senior branch).[1]

He is distantly related to actor and peer Julian Fellowes. They have a common ancestor William Fellowes, who lived in 1653.[2]

Fellowes married Lady Jane Spencer, elder sister of Diana, Princess of Wales on 20 April 1978 at Westminster Abbey, when he was an Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen. The then-Lady Diana Spencer was a bridesmaid. They have three children, Laura Jane Fellowes, (born 19 July 1980), Alexander Robert Fellowes, (born 23 March 1983), and Eleanor Ruth Fellowes (born 20 August 1985).[1]

Early careerEdit

Fellowes played cricket for Norfolk in the 1959 Minor Counties Championship,[3] making one appearance each against Buckinghamshire and the Nottinghamshire Second XI.[4] Fellowes was educated at Eton College and joined the Scots Guards in 1960 on a short service commission. After completion of service in 1963 he entered the banking industry, working for Allen Harvey and Ross Ltd, discount brokers and bankers, 1964–77. He was a managing director from 1968.

Royal serviceEdit

In 1977 Fellowes was recruited to join the Royal Household as Assistant Private Secretary. He spent the next 20 years in the Private Secretary's Office, becoming Deputy in 1986, and Private Secretary in 1990.[5]

Fellowes left his position in February 1999 to return to private banking, his retirement having been announced implicitly on 1 June 1998 when his successor Robin Janvrin was named. He was created a life peer on 12 July 1999 taking the title Baron Fellowes, of Shotesham in the County of Norfolk[6][7] in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.[8] He sits as a crossbench peer.

Lord Fellowes was introduced to the House of Lords and took his seat formally on 26 October 1999. According to reports from the House of Lords, Lord Fellowes remains technically a member of the Royal Household.[9]

Return to private lifeEdit

After retirement from the Royal Household, Lord Fellowes became Vice-Chairman, and then Chairman, of Barclays Private Banking. He is also a company director, and a trustee of the Rhodes Trust, the Mandela Rhodes Foundation and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. He is also Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth Institute. He was Chairman of The Voices Foundation from 2004 until 2012. He became Chair of the Prison Reform Trust in 2001.

Honours and decorationsEdit

Besides his life peerage, Lord Fellowes has received the following honours:

He was made a Privy Counsellor (PC) in 1990.

He remains the Secretary and Registrar of the Order of Merit as of 19 July 2016.[17]


Coat of arms of Robert Fellowes, Baron Fellowes
Coronet of a Baron
A Lion's Head erased Or, murally crowned Argent, charged on the neck with a Fess dancettée Ermine.
Azure, a Fess indented Ermine, between three Lions' Heads erased Or, murally crowned Argent.
Order of the Bath circlet (Appointed CB 1987; KCB 1991; GCB 1998)

Royal Victorian Order (Appointed LVO 1983; KCVO 1989; GCVO 1996) Queen's Service Order (Appointed 1999)


  1. ^ a b Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 1406. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  2. ^ Lynn Barber (27 November 2004). "Jolly good Fellowes". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Player profile: Robert Fellowes". CricketArchive. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Minor Counties Championship Matches played by Robert Fellowes". CricketArchive. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  5. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (20 December 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". Independent.
  6. ^ "No. 55555". The London Gazette. 16 July 1999. p. 7715.
  7. ^ House of Lords (26 October 1999). "Announcement of his introduction at the House of Lords". Minutes of proceedings. Retrieved 26 July 2006.
  8. ^ House of Lords (13 October 1999). "House of Lords: Membership". Publications & records. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  9. ^ House of Lords (13 October 1999). "Select Committee on Constitution Fourth Report: APPENDIX 1". Publications & records. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  10. ^ "No. 50764". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1986. p. 3.
  11. ^ "No. 52382". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1990. p. 3.
  12. ^ "No. 54993". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1997. p. 2.
  13. ^ "No. 49375". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1983. p. 4.
  14. ^ "No. 51772". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 1989. p. 4.
  15. ^ "No. 54427". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1996. p. 4.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Court Circular, July 19". The Times. Retrieved 15 September 2016.

External linksEdit

Court offices
Preceded by
Sir William Heseltine
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
Succeeded by
Lord Janvrin
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Patel
Baron Fellowes
Followed by
The Lord Stevenson of Coddenham