1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lord Chamberlain
LORD Chamberlain, in England, an important officer of the king's household, to be distinguished from the lord great chamberlain (q.v.). He is the second dignitary of the court, and is always a member of the government of the day (before 1782 the office carried cabinet rank), a peer and a privy councillor. He carries a white staff, and wears a golden or jewelled key, typical of the key of the palace, which is supposed to be in his charge, as the ensigns of his office. He is responsible for the necessary arrangements connected with state ceremonies, such as coronations and royal marriages, christenings and funerals; he examines the claims of those who desire to be presented at court; all invitations are sent out in his name by command of the sovereign, and at drawing-rooms and levees he stands next to the sovereign and announces the persons who are approaching the throne. It is also part of his duty to conduct the sovereign to and from his carriage. The bedchamber, privy chamber and presence chamber, the wardrobe, the house keeper's room, the guardroom and the chapels royal are in the lord chamberlain's department. He is regarded as chief officer of the royal household, and he has charge of a large number of appointments, such as those of the royal physicians, tradesmen and private attendants of the sovereign. All theatres in the cities of London and Westminster (except patent theatres), in certain of the London boroughs and in the towns of Windsor and Brighton, are licensed by him and he is also licenser of plays (see Theatre: Law; and Revels, Master of the). His salary is £2000 a year.
- The lord Chamberlain of the household at one time discharged some important political functions, which are described by Sir Harris Nicolas (Proceedings of the Privy Council, vol. vi., Preface, p. xxiii).
- The office of master of the ceremonies was created by James I. The master of the ceremonies wears a medal attached to a gold chain round his neck, on one side being an emblem of peace with the motto “Beati pacifici," and on the other an emblem of war with the motto “Dieu et mon droit" (see Finetti Philoxensis, by Sir John Finett, master of the ceremonies to James I. and Charles I., 1656; and D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature, 10th ed., p. 242 seq.).
- See May, Parliamentary Practice, pp. 236, 244. XVII. I
- The offices of master of the great wardrobe and master of the jewel house in the lord chamberlain's department were abolished in 1782.
- In the reign of Queen Anne, Sarah duchess of Marlborough from 1704, and Elizabeth duchess of Somerset from 1710, held the combined offices of mistress of the robes and groom of the stole.
- Since the great “bedchamber question” of 1839 the settled practice has been for all the ladies of the court except the mistress of the robes to receive and continue in their appointments independently of the political connexions of their husbands, fathers and brothers (see Gladstone's Gleanings of Past Years, i. 40; and Torrens's Memoirs of Lord Melbourne, ii. 304).