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Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire

The Lord Lieutenant of a county is an Officer appointed by the Crown by Letters Patent under the Great Seal and is the permanent representative of the Crown in the County that is the Queen’s representative. Originally appointed to control the military forces, the Lord Lieutenant’s duties are now chiefly ceremonial but still retain the customary right of making recommendations for appointment to the Commission of the Peace for the County. The formal title is: “Her Majesty’s Lieutenant of and in the County of Bedfordshire”. The formal address is “Her Majesty’s Lieutenant” but less formally “Lord Lieutenant” may be used.

Although the Lord Lieutenant is more senior than the Mayor, as the first citizen of the Borough, it is customary to defer the seniority to the Mayor when in Bedford at a Mayoral function.

The current Lord Lieutenant is:- Mrs Helen Nellis



H M Lord-Lieutenant for Bedfordshire is Helen Nellis

 Lord Lieutenant  Lord Lieutenant's Flag


Bedfordshire Lieutenancy

Lord-Lieutenants are The Queen's representatives in their counties and areas.  In practice Lord-Lieutenants are primarily involved with a very wide range of voluntary activity; they encourage the many people who are committed to work in and for their communities and they make connections between different voluntary activities.

Also, as leaders in their counties, they have an important role in relation to local, civic, business, industrial, social and community life.  Lord-Lieutenants seek to promote a spirit of co-operation
and beneficial relationships by giving time to voluntary service and benevolent organisations
and by the interest they take in the business and social life of the county.

Lord-Lieutenants have five main duties, as given to them by The Queen: 

  • Arranging visits of members of the Royal Family and escorting Royal visitors
  • Presenting honours, medals and awards on behalf of The Queen, under The Queen's Golden Jubilee Award or in the form of a Queen's Award for Industry etc.
  • Participating in civic, voluntary and social activities with the Lieutenancy
  • Liaising with local units of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, Royal Air Force and
    their associated cadet forces
  • Leading the Local Magistracy as Chairman of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee
    on Justices of the Peace

The Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire has a Vice Lord-Lieutenant (Colonel Colin R Mason - new appointment on 24 October 2005)and 27 Deputy Lieutenants.


Bedfordshire Lieutenancy dates and names:

  • 1991-2012 Sir Samuel Whitbread KCVO JP 
  • 1978-1991 Lieutenant Colonel Hanmer Cecil Hanbury
  • 1957-1978 Major Simon Whitbread
  • 1943-1957 Lieutenant Colonel Dealtry C Part
  • 1936-1943 George, 1st Baron Luke
  • 1912-1936 Samuel Howard Whitbread
  • 1905-1912 Beauchamp, 16th Baron St John
  • 1861-1905 Francis, 7th Earl Cowper
  • 1859-1861 Francis, 7th Duke of Bedford
  • 1818-1859 Thomas, 3rd Baron Grantham, afterwards 2nd Earl de Grey and 5th Baron Lucas
  • 1771-1818 John, 2nd Earl of Upper Ossory (died 1818) 
  • 1747-1771 John, 4th Duke of Bedford (died 1771)
  • 1711-1740 Henry, 1st Duke of Kent (died 1740)
  • 1701-1711 Wriothesley, 2nd Duke of Bedford (died 1711)
  • 1700-1701 Lord Edward Russell during minority of Wriothesley, 2nd Duke of Bedford
  • 1689-1700 William, 5th Earl and 1st Duke of Bedford (died 1700)
  • 1685-1688 Thomas, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury 
  • 1667-1685  Robert, 1st Earl of Ailesbury (died 1685)
  • 1646-1651 Henry, 10th Earl of Kent (died 1651)
  • 1643-1646 Oliver, 4th Baron St John of Bletso, 1st Earl Bolingbroke (died 1646)


Civil War - Named by Parliament

  • 1639-1667 Thomas Earl of Cleveland (died 1667) (1660, Robert, 1st of Ailesbury, jointly)
  • 1623-1639 Henry, 8th Earl of Kent (died 1639) (1625 Thomas, Lord Wentworth, created Earl of Cleveland 1626 jointly)
  • 1615-1623 Charles, 7th Earl of Kent (died 1623) 
    (1621-1623) Sir Henry Grey, Lord Ruthin, jointly with his father
  • 1580, 1585-1615 Henry, 6th Earl of Kent (died 1615)
  • 1560-1569 Oliver, 1st Lord St John of Bletso (died before 1582)
  • 1549-1551 Williams, 1st Marquis of Northampton (died 1571)

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