Francis Knollys, 1st Viscount Knollys

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The Viscount Knollys

Lord Knollys LCCN2014691688.jpg
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
MonarchEdward VII (1901–1910);
George V (1910–1913)
Preceded bySir Arthur Bigge
Succeeded byThe Lord Stamfordham
Personal details
Born16 July 1837
Died15 August 1924 (1924-08-16) (aged 87)
ParentsWilliam Thomas Knollys
Elizabeth St Aubyn
Alma materRoyal Military College, Sandhurst

Francis Knollys, 1st Viscount Knollys, GCB, GCVO, KCMG, ISO, PC (16 July 1837 – 15 August 1924) was a British courtier. He served as Private Secretary to the Sovereign from 1901 to 1913.

Background and education[edit]

Knollys was the son of Sir William Thomas Knollys (1797–1883), of Blount's Court at Rotherfield Peppard in Oxfordshire, and was educated in Guernsey. He entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in 1851, and was commissioned into the 23rd Foot as an ensign in 1854.


In the following year, however, Knollys joined the Department of the Commissioners of Audit as a junior examiner. In 1862, he became Secretary to the Treasurer to the Prince of Wales. In 1870, he was appointed Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, an office he held until the Prince, Edward, became King in 1901. He was also Groom-in-Waiting to the Prince of Wales 1886–1901. Knollys then became Private Secretary to the Sovereign,[1] an office he filled until 1913 (jointly with Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham from 1910[2]). He was known for his loyalty and discretion in this role. He was also Gentleman Usher to Queen Victoria 1868–1901, and a Lord-in-waiting to Queen Mary 1910–1924.

Personal life[edit]

Lord Knollys died in August 1924, aged 87. His titles were inherited by his son, Edward George William Tyrwhitt Knollys, 2nd Viscount Knollys (1895–1966).


Knollys was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1876, and promoted to Knight Commander (KCB) in 1897 and to Knight Grand Cross (GCB) in 1908. He was also made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in 1901, a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1886, and awarded the Imperial Service Order (ISO) in 1903. In the 1902 Coronation Honours list, it was announced he would receive a barony,[3] and he was raised to the peerage as Baron Knollys, of Caversham in the County of Oxford, on 15 July 1902.[4] He took the oath and his seat in the House of Lords the following month, on 7 August.[5] He became a Privy Councillor in 1910, and in 1911 he was further honoured when he was made Viscount Knollys, of Caversham in the County of Oxford.


  1. ^ "No. 27283". The London Gazette. 12 February 1901. p. 1058.
  2. ^ William M. Kuhn. "Bigge, Arthur John, Baron Stamfordham (1849–1931)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/31883. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ "The Coronation Honours". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 5.
  4. ^ "No. 27455". The London Gazette. 18 July 1902. p. 4587.
  5. ^ "The Parliament - House of Lords". The Times (36841). London. 8 August 1902. p. 4.
  6. ^ "No. 27285". The London Gazette. 15 February 1901. p. 1145.

External links[edit]

Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Bigge
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
1901 – 1913
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Bigge
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Knollys
1911 – 1924
Succeeded by
Edward Knollys
Baron Knollys
1902 – 1924