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Sir William Frederick Payne Heseltine, GCB, GCVO, AC, QSO (born 17 July 1930) was Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II from 1986 to 1990.

Sir William Heseltine

Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded bySir Philip Moore
Succeeded bySir Robert Fellowes
Acting Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia
William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle
In office
May 1962 – August 1962
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded bySir Murray Tyrrell
Succeeded bySir Murray Tyrrell
Personal details
Born (1930-07-17) 17 July 1930 (age 89)
Wyalkatchem, Western Australia, Australia
Alma materUniversity of Western Australia

He is the son of H. W. Heseltine, a primary school master in East Fremantle, Western Australia. He was educated at Richmond Primary School, Christ Church Grammar School, Claremont, Western Australia, and the University of Western Australia, where he received a 1st class BA (Hons) in history.

Heseltine joined the Prime Minister's Department (Australia) in 1951, where he remained until 1962. He was Private Secretary to Sir Robert Menzies, Prime Minister, 1955–1959, and Acting Official Secretary to Viscount De L'Isle, Governor-General, May to August 1962. In 1960-1961 he was temporary Assistant Press Secretary to the Queen.

From 1962-1964 he was Assistant Federal Director of the Liberal Party of Australia, and in 1964 was attached to The Age (Melbourne). In the same year he was attached to Princess Marina for her tour of Australia.

Heseltine joined the Press Office of the Royal Household as Assistant Press Secretary to the Queen in 1965-1967. He was Press Secretary 1968-1972.

In 1972 Heseltine was moved to the Private Secretary's Office proper, becoming Assistant Private Secretary. In 1977 he was promoted to Deputy Private Secretary, and in April 1986 to Private Secretary to the Sovereign, and Keeper of the Queen's Archives. He retired in October 1990.

He was appointed an Extra Equerry while Deputy Private Secretary to the Queen.

He has been a company director from 1991, including chairman of NZI Insurance Australia Ltd 1992 (deputy 1991-1992); director of NZI Insurance New Zealand 1996; P&O Australia Ltd 1990-; and West Coast Telecasters Ltd 1991-1996.




On leaving Royal service, Sir William retired to the historic town of York in his native Western Australia.


  Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) 1990
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) 1986
Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) 1977
  Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) 1990[1]
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) 1982
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) 1969
Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) 1961
  Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) 1988[2]
  Centenary Medal 2001[3]
  Queen's Service Order (QSO) 1990 (New Zealand)
  Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria 1969 (Austria)[4]


  1. ^ It's an Honour: GCVO, 19 October 1990, Private Secretary to HM The Queen 1986-90
  2. ^ It's an Honour: AC, 26 January 1988, For service to the Crown as Private Secretary to The Queen of Australia
  3. ^ It's an Honour: Centenary Medal, 1 January 2001, For service to Her Majesty, The Queen.
  4. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 275. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Philip Moore
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
Succeeded by
Lord Fellowes