A collection of medals awarded to Martin Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield, who was with Princess Elizabeth in Kenya when her father died, are to be sold at auction later this month.
Hailed as “a real aristocrat but as cunning as a fox” on his departure from Buckingham Palace, Lord Charteris served the Queen for more than a quarter of a century.
Described as the most unconventional of courtiers, he famously didn’t hold his tongue when discussing other royals, describing the Duchess of York as “vulgar, vulgar, vulgar”, the Queen Mother as “a bit of an ostrich” and Princes Diana as “whiney” is an interview with The Spectator in 1995.
For most of the war, Lord Charteris served in North Africa in the King’s Royal Rifles and become head of military intelligence in Palestine before his military career came to an unexpected end in 1950 when he was surprised to be offered the post of private secretary to Princess Elizabeth.
During a tour of Kenya with Elizabeth, news reached the Princess that her father had died and it was Lord Charteris who had to ask the new Queen by which name she would be known. He was also responsible for briefing her for her homecoming during their flight back to London.
This moment in history was brought to life in the Netflix series The Crown, in which he was played by Harry Hadden-Paton.
He later served as the Queen’s private secretary from 1972 to the end of her Silver Jubilee year.
Now his medals and honours, which cover his military career during the Second World War as well as his service as the Queen’s private secretary are going under the hammer. Among the items being auctioned are the Queen’s Service Order, the Order of the Bath, the Royal Victorian Order and the Legion d’honneur.
He died in 1999, aged 86.
According to his family they are selling the medals as one collection estimated to sell for up to £15,000, to raise funds to maintain Lord Charteris’s property.
David Kirk, medal specialist at the auction house Morton & Eden, described the collection as: “An exceptionally rare combination of medals and awards to an important and well-respected figure in modern royal history.”
The medals will be sold by Morton & Eden in London on June 28.