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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. 1 The bedchamber, privy chamber and presence chamber, the wardrobe, the housekeeper'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 vice-chamberlain of the household is the lord chamberlain's assistant and deputy. He also is one of the ministry, a white-staff officer and the bearer of a key ; and he is generally a peer or the son of a peer as well as a privy councillor. He receives 700 a year. Next to the vice-chamberlain comes the groom of the stole, an office only in use during the reign of a king. He has the charge of the vestment called the stole worn by the sovereign on state occasions.

'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 pacific!," 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'Isracli's Curiosities of Literature, loth ed., p. 242 seq.).

1 See May, Parliamentary Practice, pp. 236, 244.

In the lord chamberlain's department also are the master, assistant master, marshal of the ceremonies and deputy-marshal of the ceremonies, officers whose special function it is to enforce the observance of the etiquette of the court. The reception of foreign potentates and ambassadors is under their particular care, and they assist in the ordering of all entertainments and festivities at the palace. 2 The gentleman usher of the black rod the black rod which he carries being the ensign of his office is the principal usher of the court and kingdom. He is one of the original functionaries of the order of the Garter, and is in constant attendance on the House of Lords, from whom, either personally or by his deputy, the yeoman usher of the black rod, it is part of his duty to carry messages and summonses to the House of Commons. There are six lords and six grooms " in waiting " who attend on the sovereign throughout the year and whose terms of attendance are of a fortnight's or three weeks' duration at a time. Usually " extra " lords and grooms in waiting are nominated by the sovereign, who, however, are unpaid and have no regular duties. Among the serjeants-at-arms there are two to whom special duties are assigned: the one attending the speaker in the House of Commons, and the other attending the lord chancellor in the House of Lords, carrying their maces and executing their orders.* The comptroller and examiner of accounts, the paymaster of the household, the licenser of plays, the dean and subdean of the chapels royal, the clerk and deputy clerks of the closet, the groom of the robes, the pages of the backstairs, of the chamber and of the presence, the poet laureate, the royal physicians and surgeons, chaplains, painters and sculptors, librarians and musicians, etc are all under the superintendence of the lord chamberlain of the household.* The queen consort's household is also in the department of the lord chamberlain of the household. It comprises a lord chamberlain, a vice-chamberlain and treasurer, equerry and the various ladies of the royal household, a groom and a clerk of the robes. The ladies of the household are the mistress of the robes, the ladies of the bedchamber, the bedchamber women and the maids of honour, The mistress of the robes in some measure occupies the position of the groom of the stole.' She is the only lady of the court who comes into office and goes out with the administration. She is always a duchess, and attends the queen consort at all state ceremonies and entertainments, but is never in permanent residence at the palace.' The ladies of the bedchamber share the personal attendance on 4 The offices of master of the great wardrobe and master of the jewel house in the lord chamberlain's department were abolished in 1782.

6 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.

8 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).

the queen consort throughout the year. Of these there are eight always peeresses, and each is in waiting for a fortnight or three weeks at a time. But the women of the bedchamber, of whom there are also eight, appear only at court ceremonies and entertainments according to a roster annually issued under the authority of the lord chamberlain of the queen consort. They are usually the daughters of peers or the wives of the sons of peers, and formerly, like the mistress of the robes and the ladies of the bedchamber, habitually assisted the queen at her daily toilette. But this has long ceased to be done by any of them. The eight maids of honour have the same terms of waiting as the ladies of the bedchamber. They are commonly if not always the daughters or granddaughters of peers and when they have no superior title and precedence by birth are called honourable " and placed next after the daughters of barons LORD CHIEF JUSTICE, in England, the presiding judge of the king's bench division of the High Court of Justice, and in the absence of the lord chancellor, president of the High Court. He traces his descent from the justiciar of the Norman kings. This officer appears first as the lieutenant or deputy of the king, exercising all the functions of the regal office in the absence of the sovereign. "In this capacity William Fitz-Osbern, the steward of Normandy, and Odo of Bayeux, acted during the Conqueror's visit to the continent in 1067; they were left, according to William of Poitiers, the former to govern the north of England, the latter to hold rule in Kent, vice sua; Florence of Worcester describes them as "custodes Angliae," and Ordericus Vitalis gives to their office the name of " praefectura." It would seem most probable that William Fitz-Osbern at least was left in his character of steward, and that the Norman seneschalship was thus the origin of the English justiciarship " (Stubbs's Constitutional History, i. 346). The same authority observes that William of Warenne and Richard Clare (Bienfaite), who were left in charge of England in 1074, are named by a writer in the next generation " praecipui Angliae justitiarii "; but he considers the name to have not yet been definitely attached to any particular office, and that there is no evidence to show that officers appointed to this trust exercised any functions at all when the king was at home, or in his absence exercised supreme judicial authority to the exclusion of other high officers of the court. The office became permanent in the reign of William Rufus, and in the hands of Ranulf Flambard it became coextensive with the supreme powers of government. But it was not till the reign of Henry II. that the chief officer of the crown acquired the exclusive right to the title of capitalis or totius Angliae juslitiarius. Stubbs considers that the English form of the office is to be accounted for by the king's desire to prevent the administration falling into the hands of an hereditary noble. The early justiciars were clerics, in whom the possession of power could not become hereditary. The justiciar continued to be the chief officer of state, next to the king, until the fall of Hubert de Burgh (in the reign of King John), described by Stubbs as the last of the great justiciars. Henceforward, according to Stubbs, the office may be said to have survived only in the judicial functions, which were merely part of the official character of the chief justiciar. He was at the head of the curia regis, which was separating itself into the three historical courts of common law about the time when the justiciarship was falling from the supreme place. The chancellor took the place of the justiciar in council, the treasurer in the exchequer, while the two offshoots from the curia regis, the common pleas and the exchequer, received chiefs of their own. The king's bench represented the original stock of the curia regis, and its chief justice the great justiciar. The justiciar may, therefore, be said to have become from a political a purely judicial officer. A similar development awaited his successful rival the chancellor. Before the Judicature Act the king's bench and the common pleas were each presided over by a lord chief justice, and the lord chief justice of the king's bench was nominal head of all the three courts, and held the title of lord chief justice of England. The titles of lord chief justice of the common pleas and lord chief baron were abolished by the Judicature Act 1873, and all the common law divisions of the High Court united into the king's bench division, the president of which is the lord chief justice of England.

The lord chief justice is, next to the lord chancellor, the highest judicial dignitary in the kingdom. He is an ex-officio judge of the court of appeal. He holds office during good behaviour, and can only be removed by the crown (by whom he is appointed) after a joint address of both houses of parliament. He is now the only judicial functionary privileged to wear the collar of SS. There has been much discussion as to the origin and history of this collar; 1 it was a badge or insignia attached to certain offices entitling the holders to wear it only so long as they held those offices. The collar of SS. was worn by the chiefs of the three courts previous to their amalgamation in 1873, and that now worn by the lord chief justice of England was provided by Sir A. Cockburn in 1859 and entailed by him on all holders of the office. The salary is 8000 a year.

In the United States the supreme court consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices, any six of whom make a quorum. The salary of the chief justice is $13,000 and that of the associates $12,500. The chief justice takes rank next after the president and he administers the oath on the inauguration of a new president and vice-president. The principal or presidingjudge in most of thestate judicatures also takes the title of chief justice.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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