Lord High Admiral
Lord High Admiral
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Type Military Command
Preceding unit Northern and Western Admiralties
Country United Kingdom
Founded 1223
Abolished Active
Appointee the Monarch
Incumbent HRH. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Incumbent since 2011
Deputy Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
Role Naval Administration & Operations
Role Titular Head of the Naval Service
Affiliations HM Naval Service
1st incumbent Sir Richard de Lucy

The office of Lord High Admiral (of England, Great Britain and then the United Kingdom) was established as early as 1223. He/She 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.

Table of Contents

History

Between 1222 and 1384 only 5 men were given command of the English Navy though each of them were styled differently. The office was first created in England 1223 as Admiral of England with the appointment Sir Richard de Lucy a Knight Henry III. He was followed in 1263 by Sir Thomas de Moleton who was appointed by Edward I as Captain and Guardian of the English Seas. Edward I conferred the command of the English Navy to Sir William de Leybourne in 1286 who was styled as Admiral of the English Seas.

In 1321 Edward II appointed Sir Richard de Leyburn Admiral of England, Wales and Ireland. In 1360 John de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp de Warwick was appointed High Admiral of England by Edward III and Admiral of the South, North and West.

In 1386 Richard II appointed Richard FitzAlan,10th Earl of Arundel the first High Admiral of England, Ireland and Aquitaine this title by name was conferred by different monarchs to eighteen other men until 1513 when Henry VIII ceased his claim on the French throne. Between 1405/06 and 1412 the two remaining regional naval commands under the Admiral of the North and Admiral of the West were unified with this office. to create a single Admiralty of England

During the reign of Henry VIII of England (1509–47) the English Navy had expanded to a point where it could not be to be managed by a single Lord Admiral of England alone, therefore day-today management of the navy was handed over to a committee that later became known as the Navy Board. The navy board had Samuel Pepys as one of its members during the reign of Charles II (1660–85), and it ran side-by-side with the Board of Admiralty.

From the early 17th century onwards, when an individual Lord High Admiral was appointed, there was also a council of the Lord High Admiral which assisted him to perform some of the duties of the Admiralty. When this office was not occupied by an individual, it was "put into commission" and exercised by a Board of Admiralty headed by a First Lord of the Admiralty this was the usual arrangement from 1709 until it was merged with the Admiralty in 1832.

However, the office of Lord High Admiral, which, except for brief periods during its long history, had remained extant, and was not abolished as an official naval post until 1964. In 1964, the office of First Lord of the Admiralty was also abolished and the functions of the Lords Commissioners of Admiralty were transferred to the new Admiralty Board becoming a sub-committee (Navy) 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. 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.

Office holders

Name Date/s Flag
Admiral of England
Sir Richard de Lucy 1223
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Captain and Guardian of the English Seas
Sir Thomas de Moleton 1263
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Admiral of the English Seas
Sir William de Leyburn 1286
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Admiral of England, Wales and Ireland
Sir Richard de Leyburn 9 May, 1321-1331
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High Admiral of England
John de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp de Warwick 1360
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High Admiral of England, Ireland and Aquitaine
Richard FitzAlan,10th Earl of Arundel 10 December, 1385 - 29 March 1388
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Edward, 1st Earl of Rutland & Cork, Duke of Abermarlepage name 1390 - 9 May, 1397
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John Beaufort 1st Earl of Somerset 9 May, 1397 - 16 January, 1398
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Thomas Percy 1st Earl of Worcester 16 January, 1398 - 23 December, 1404
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Thomas Plantagenet 1st Duke of Clarence 23 December, 1404 - 23 December 1406
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John Beaufort 1st Earl of Somerset 23 December, 1406 - 8 May, 1407
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Edmund Holland 4th Earl of Kent 8 May, 1407 - 21 September, 1408
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Thomas Beaufort, 1st Duke of Exeter 21 September 1408 - 26 July, 1426
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John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford 26 July, 1426 - 2 October 1435
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John Holland, 2nd, Earl of Huntington, 1st Duke of Exeter 2 October 1435 - 9 August 1447
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William de la Pole, 1st Marquis of Suffolk 9 August 1447 - 23 July 1450
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Henry Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter 23 July 1450 - 30 July 1462
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William Nevill, 1st Earl of Kent 30 July 1462 - 12 October 1462
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Richard Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Gloucester 12 October 1462 - 2 January 1471
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Richard Nevill, Earl of Warwick 2 January 1471 - April 1471
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Richard, Duke of Gloucester April 1471 - 25 July, 1483
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John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk 25 July 1484 - 21 September, 1485
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John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford 21 September, 1485 - 17 March 1513
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Lord Admiral of England
Sir Edward Howard 17 March 1513 - 4 May 1513
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Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Surrey 4 May 1513 - 16 July 1525
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Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset 16 July 1525 - 16 August 1536
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William FitzWilliam, 1st Earl of Southampton 16 August 1536 - 28 July 1540
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John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford 28 July 1540 - December 1542
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Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hereford December 1542 - 26 January 1543
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John Dudley, 1st Viscount Lisle 26 January 1543 - 17 February 1547
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Thomas Seymour, 1st Lord Seymour of Sudeley 17 February 1547 - 28 October 1549
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John Dudley, 1st Earl of Warwick 28 October 1549 -14 May 1550
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Edward Clinton, Lord Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln 14 May 1550 - 20 March 1554
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William Howard, 1st Lord Howard of Effingham 20 March 1554 - 10 February 1558
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Edward Clinton, Lord Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln 10 February 1558 - 8 July 1585
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Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham 8 July 1558 - 28 January 1610
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Lord High Admiral of England
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham 28 January 1610 - 20 September 1628
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The Right Honourable, Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland 1638 - 1642
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The Right Honourable, Francis Cottington,1st Lord Cottington 1643 - 1646
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His Royal Highness, Prince James, The Duke of York 1660 - 1673
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His Majesty King Charles II 1673 - 1673
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His Royal Highness, Prince Rupert, The Duke of Cumberland 1673 - 1679
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His Majesty King Charles II 1684 - 1685
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His Majesty King James II 1685 - 1688
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His Majesty King William III 1689 - 1689
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The Right Honourable, Arthur Herbert, 1st Earl of Torrington 1689 -1690
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The Right Honourable, Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke 1701 -1702
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His Royal Highness, Prince George, The Duke of Cumberland 1702 - 1708
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Lord High Admiral of Great Britain
Her Majesty, Queen Anne 23 October 1708- 1708
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Office is in Commission: Board of Admiralty, 1709 - 10 May 1827
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Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
His Royal Highness, Prince William Henry The Duke of Clarence 10 May 1827 - 19 September 1828
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Office is in Commission: Board of Admiralty, 19 September 1828 - 1 April 1964
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Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1 April 1963 - 10 June 2011
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His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh 10 June 2011 - current
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