The Lord Geidt
Official portrait of Lord Geidt crop 2.jpg
Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
8 September 2007 – 17 October 2017
MonarchElizabeth II
DeputyEdward Young
Preceded bySir Robin Janvrin
Succeeded bySir Edward Young
Deputy Private Secretary to the Sovereign
In office
2005–2007
MonarchElizabeth II
SecretarySir Robin Janvrin
Preceded byMary Francis
Succeeded byEdward Young
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
3 November 2017
Life peerage
Personal details
Born (1961-08-17) 17 August 1961 (age 60)[1]
Marylebone, London, UK
NationalityBritish
Political partyNone (crossbencher)
Spouse(s)
Emma Neill
(m. 1996)
Children2
EducationDragon School
Glenalmond College
Alma materKing's College London
Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Magdalen College, Oxford

Christopher Edward Wollaston MacKenzie Geidt, Baron Geidt, GCB, GCVO, OBE, QSO, PC, FKC (born 17 August 1961) is a member of the House of Lords and Chairman of the Council of King's College London.[2][3][4][5] He was Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II from 2007 to 2017.[6] He currently lives and farms in the Minches, in the Outer Hebrides.[7]

Early life and education

Born in Marylebone, London, son of magistrates' court chief clerk Mervyn Bernard Geidt (1926–1991) and Diana Cecil (née MacKenzie),[8][9][10] Geidt grew up on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.[7] Geidt attended the Dragon School, Oxford, and Glenalmond College. He graduated in War Studies from King's College London, and in International Relations from Trinity Hall, Cambridge.[11] He is a Fellow of King's College London (FKC), an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and an Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple.[12][13][14]

Career

British Army

An Army Scholar, Geidt enlisted in the Scots Guards and attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was later commissioned in the Intelligence Corps.[11]

In 1987, Geidt joined the staff of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, becoming an Assistant Director.[15] From 1994 he worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in diplomatic posts in Sarajevo, Geneva and Brussels.[11]

In 1991, Geidt and Anthony de Normann sued the journalist John Pilger and Central Television over the documentary Cambodia: The Betrayal, in which they were accused of being members of the SAS secretly engaged in the training of the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. Geidt and de Normann accepted "very substantial" damages and all costs.[16] In a related libel action Ann Clwyd MP, then shadow minister for overseas development, issued a public apology to Geidt and de Normann and agreed to meet all legal costs.[17]

During and after the war in Bosnia (1992–1995), Geidt was deployed to liaise with the Bosnian Serb leadership, including Radovan Karadžić, Momčilo Krajišnik and General Ratko Mladić, all later indicted for war crimes.[18][19][20] He assisted the High Representative, Carl Bildt, in negotiating with Serbian President Slobodan Milošević for the removal of Karadžić from the presidency of Republika Srpska in 1996.[21]

Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II

Geidt was recruited to the Royal Household in 2002 as Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen. He was promoted to Deputy Private Secretary in 2005. He then served as the Queen's Private Secretary from 2007 to 2017.

During his time as Private Secretary, Geidt was also Keeper of the Royal Archives and a Trustee of the Royal Collection and of the Queen's Silver Jubilee Trust (later the Queen's Trust). He remains a Trustee of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and is also Chairman of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.[22][23][24][25]

As Private Secretary, Geidt was a member of the so-called 'golden triangle' of senior British officials – the others being the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister – with key responsibilities in the event of a 'hung parliament' in the United Kingdom, as happened in 2010.[26]

After ten years as Private Secretary, Geidt stepped down in October 2017 and was succeeded by Sir Edward Young.[27] He was subsequently created Baron Geidt, of Crobeg in the County of Ross and Cromarty, and sits as a Crossbench peer in the House of Lords.[28] In early March 2019, he was appointed a Permanent Lord-in-waiting.[29]

Geidt is the Honorary Regimental Colonel of the London Scottish Regiment, having succeeded George, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen in 2016.

Oman, BAE Systems, Schroders, King's College London

Geidt became chair of the Council of King's College London in 2016, took an advisory role in the arms, security and aerospace company BAE Systems until April 2021, and serves as chair of a board in the asset management company Schroders. According to the diaries of Sir Alan Duncan, Geidt worked for the Sultan of Oman. In November 2021, academic staff at King’s College London wrote publicly complaining that Geidt had failed to disclose and manage conflicts of interest, breaching university policy. This included failure to state in the register of interests that he had been working for the Sultan of Oman, or manage conflicts with BAE Systems and Schroders, as the university had investments in BAE Systems up to 2020 and in Schroders, and had ‘multiple partnerships’ with Oman state bodies in medical care and dentistry.[30]

Adviser on Ministers' Interests

On 28 April 2021, it was announced that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had appointed Geidt as the Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests.[31]

On 28 May 2021, Geidt published a report on allegations surrounding the financing of refurbishments made to 11 Downing Street. The report concluded that Johnson did not breach the Ministerial Code and that no conflict of interest, or reasonably perceived conflict of interest, arose. However, Geidt expressed that it was "unwise" for Johnson to have proceeded with refurbishments without "more rigorous regard for how this would be funded".[32][33]

In December 2021 it was reported that Geidt was considering resigning his role as standards adviser for Johnson.[34][35][36] An Electoral Commission investigation found to be false Johnson's statement to Geidt that he knew nothing about how the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat was being funded until media reports in February 2021.[citation needed] The Electoral Commission found a WhatsApp message Johnson sent to Conservative donor Lord Brownlow in November 2020 asking for additional money to fund the refurbishment.[citation needed] The Conservative Party was fined £17,800 for improperly declaring this donation. Shadow First Secretary of State Angela Rayner called on Lord Geidt to reopen his investigation into funding of the refurbishment, and the Liberal Democrats have called for an independent public inquiry. Geidt's predecessor Sir Alex Allan resigned when his findings into alleged bullying of civil servants by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, in November 2020, were overruled by Boris Johnson.[37] Nick Cohen commented in The Guardian that "Lord Geidt, Johnson's ministerial standards adviser, now cuts a pathetic figure. The credulous man actually believed the prime minister when he said he knew nothing about a businessman buddy, Lord Brownlow, paying for the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat until the media mentioned it in February 2021."[38] In the House of Commons, Chris Bryant MP described Lord Geidt's reputation as "tarnished" by his involvement with Johnson.[39]

Family

In 1996, Geidt married Emma Charlotte Angela Neill, younger daughter of Patrick Neill, Baron Neill of Bladen.[40] The couple have two daughters.[citation needed]

Honours and awards

Geidt was appointed a Privy Counsellor (PC) in 2007.[41]

Coronet of a British Baron.svg
Life peer as Baron Geidt 3 November 2017[28]
Order of the Bath (ribbon).svg
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) 2018 New Year Honours
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) 2014 New Year Honours
Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) 5 October 2017[42][43]
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) 2011 Birthday Honours
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) 2007[44]
Order of the British Empire (Civil) Ribbon.png
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) 1997 Birthday Honours (Diplomatic Service and Overseas List) 'for services to British interests in Bosnia'[45]
QueenServiceRibbon.png
Companion of the Queen's Service Order (QSO) 2018 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
Gulf Medal BAR.svg
Gulf Medal with one clasp
UNTAC Medal bar.gif
United Nations Medal (United Nations) United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC)
ONZ Medal w Służbie Pokoju UNPROFOR BAR.svg
United Nations Medal (United Nations) United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR)
ECMM Medal YUG ribbon bar.svg
European Community Monitor Mission Medal (European Union) 'for service in the former Yugoslavia'
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
Legion Honneur GO ribbon.svg
Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour (France) 2014[2]
Officer of the Legion of Honour (France) 2004

References

  1. ^ "Geidt, Baron, (Christopher Geidt) (born 17 Aug. 1961)." WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 1 Dec. 2007
  2. ^ a b "www.dodspeople.com". Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Life peerages: 12 October 2017". gov.uk. 12 October 2017. Archived from the original on 5 March 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  4. ^ "King's welcomes Sir Christopher Geidt as new King's Chairman – King's Alumni Community". Alumni.kcl.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  5. ^ "King's College London Charter and Statutes" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  6. ^ "The role of the Private Secretary". www.royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 790: col. 442 – via House of Lords.
  8. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 2003, vol. 1, p. 1060.
  9. ^ The Law List, Stevens & Sons, 1974, p. 72.
  10. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  11. ^ a b c "Who's Who". Ukwhoswho.com. 7 December 2015. Archived from the original on 29 May 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  12. ^ Posted on 20/07/2011 (20 July 2011). "King's College London – Graduations and fellowships". Kcl.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 25 November 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  13. ^ "William Hague and Sir Christopher Geidt Elected Honorary Fellows". 17 March 2016. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Masters of the Bench". Archived from the original on 24 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ "The Lie is Indeed Breathtaking Mr Pilger, But Who Told It". The Australian. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  17. ^ Reported by The Times on 6 July 1991.
  18. ^ Brendan O'Shea (21 January 2005). The Modern Yugoslav Conflict 1991–1995: Perception, Deception and Dishonesty. p. 155. ISBN 9780415357050. Archived from the original on 29 May 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  19. ^ Carl Bildt, Peace Journey, p. 29.
  20. ^ "Key Figures of the Cases | International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia". Icty.org. 19 April 2016. Archived from the original on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  21. ^ Carl Bildt, Peace Journey, p. 220.
  22. ^ "Trustees". Royalcollection.org.uk. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  23. ^ "The Queen's Silver Jubilee Trust - Our team". Archived from the original on 29 November 2012.
  24. ^ "About the trust | The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust". Jubileetribute.org. Archived from the original on 16 December 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  25. ^ "The Queen's Commonwealth Trust". Archived from the original on 6 May 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  26. ^ Nicholas Watt. "How a hung parliament would put the Queen centre stage | UK news". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  27. ^ "Queen's private secretary Sir Christopher Geidt to step down after a decade". 31 July 2017. Archived from the original on 25 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  28. ^ a b "No. 62103". The London Gazette. 8 November 2017. p. 20550.
  29. ^ Court Circular, 4 March 2019.
  30. ^ Lamiat Sabin, ‘Boris Johnson’s adviser under fire over ‘undeclared conflicts of interest’’ (12 November 2021) Independent. Rowena Mason, ‘UK adviser on ministers’ interests faces pressure over own financial interests’ (12 November 2021) Guardian.
  31. ^ "Boris Johnson appoints new ministerial standards adviser amid Downing St flat row". BBC News. 28 April 2021. Archived from the original on 29 April 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  32. ^ Walker, Peter; Allegretti, Aubrey (28 May 2021). "Boris Johnson acted unwisely over flat refurbishment, report finds". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  33. ^ "Downing Street flat: PM cleared of misconduct but acted unwisely, says watchdog". BBC News. 29 May 2021. Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  34. ^ Yorke, Harry; Rayner, Gordon (9 December 2021). "Boris Johnson's standards adviser Lord Geidt on brink of quitting over Downing Street flat". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  35. ^ Walters, Jack (10 December 2021). "Boris's standards advisor considers resigning over flat refurbishment - 'Deeply unhappy'". Express.co.uk.
  36. ^ "Johnson's ethics adviser demands Downing Street flat explanation". the Guardian. 10 December 2021.
  37. ^ "Lord Geidt: Standards adviser holds talks with Number 10 over Downing Street flat refurb investigation".
  38. ^ Cohen, Nick (18 December 2021). "The Tories call it electoral reform. Looks more like a bid to rig the system" – via www.theguardian.com.
  39. ^ House of Commons Debates, Hansard (Wednesday, 12 January 2022) volume 706, column 572
  40. ^ "Marriages." The Times, [London, England], 16 July 1996.
  41. ^ "Announcement of Christopher Geidt being sworn of the Privy Council" (Press release). Number 10. 19 December 2007. Archived from the original on 25 July 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
  42. ^ "Court Circular". Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  43. ^ "No. 62078". The London Gazette. 11 October 2017. p. 18918.
  44. ^ "No. 58358". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2007. p. 3.
  45. ^ "No. 54794". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1997. p. 25.
Court offices Preceded bySir Robin Janvrin Private Secretary to the Sovereign 2007–2017 Succeeded bySir Edward Young Academic offices Preceded byThe Duke of Wellington Chairman of King's College London 2016–present Succeeded byIncumbent Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom Preceded byThe Lord Agnew of Oulton GentlemenBaron Geidt Followed byThe Lord Hogan-Howe