List of Lord High Admirals (United Kingdom)

Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom
The Duke of Edinburgh

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

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.

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.

In 1964 the ancient title of Lord High Admiral was vested in the sovereign. In 2011, the title was bestowed by Elizabeth II onto her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, on the occasion of his 90th birthday.[1]

Lord High Admirals of England, 1413 to 1628

Name Entered office Left office
The Duke of Exeter 1413 1426
The Duke of Bedford 1426 1435
The Duke of Exeter 1435 1447
The Duke of Suffolk 1447 1450
The Duke of Exeter 1450 1461
The Earl of Kent 1462 1462
The Duke of Gloucester 1462 1470
The Earl of Warwick 1470 1471
The Duke of Gloucester 1471 1483
The Duke of Norfolk 1483 1485
The Earl of Oxford 1485 1513
Sir Edward Howard 1513 1513
The Earl of Surrey 1513 1525
The Duke of Richmond and Somerset 1525 1536
The Earl of Southampton 1536 1540
The Lord Russell 1540 1542
The Earl of Hertford 1542 1543
The Viscount Lisle 1543 1547
The Lord Seymour of Sudeley 1547 1549
The Earl of Warwick 1549 1550
The Lord Clinton 1550 1554
The Lord Howard of Effingham 1554 1558
The Earl of Lincoln 1558 1585
The Lord Howard of Effingham
(Earl of Nottingham from 1596)
1585 1619
The Duke of Buckingham 1619 1628

Lord High Admirals of England, 1638–1708

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 [2]
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, 1708–1709

Name Entered office Left office Notes
Queen Anne 1708 1708 [2]
The Earl of Pembroke 1708 1709

Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, 1827–1828

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

Lord High Admirals of the United Kingdom, 1964 to present

Name Entered office Left office Notes
HM Queen Elizabeth II 1964 2011 [1]
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh 2011 incumbent

See also


  1. 1 2 "New title for Duke of Edinburgh as he turns 90". BBC News. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  2. 1 2 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)
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