The Lord Geidt
|Private Secretary to the Sovereign|
8 September 2007 – 17 October 2017
|Preceded by||Sir Robin Janvrin|
|Succeeded by||Sir Edward Young|
|Deputy Private Secretary to the Sovereign|
|Secretary||Sir Robin Janvrin|
|Preceded by||Mary Francis|
|Succeeded by||Edward Young|
|Member of the House of Lords|
|Assumed office |
3 November 2017
|Born||17 August 1961|
Marylebone, London, UK
|Political party||None (crossbencher)|
|Alma mater||King's College London|
Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Magdalen College, Oxford
Christopher Edward Wollaston MacKenzie Geidt, Baron Geidt,(born 17 August 1961) is a member of the House of Lords and Chairman of the Council of King's College London. He was Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II from 2007 to 2017. He currently lives and farms in the Minches, in the Outer Hebrides.
Born in Marylebone, London, son of magistrates' court chief clerk Mervyn Bernard Geidt (1926–1991) and Diana Cecil (née MacKenzie), Geidt grew up on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. 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. He is a Fellow of King's College London (FKC), an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and an Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple.
An Army Scholar, Geidt enlisted in the Scots Guards and attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was later commissioned in the Intelligence Corps.
In 1987, Geidt joined the staff of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, becoming an Assistant Director. From 1994 he worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in diplomatic posts in Sarajevo, Geneva and Brussels.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
After ten years as Private Secretary, Geidt stepped down in October 2017 and was succeeded by Sir Edward Young. 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. In early March 2019, he was appointed a Permanent Lord-in-waiting.
Geidt is the Honorary Regimental Colonel of the London Scottish Regiment, having succeeded George, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen in 2016.
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.
On 28 April 2021, it was announced that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had appointed Geidt as the Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests.
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".
In December 2021 it was reported that Geidt was considering resigning his role as standards adviser for Johnson. 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. 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. 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. 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." In the House of Commons, Chris Bryant MP described Lord Geidt's reputation as "tarnished" by his involvement with Johnson.
In 1996, Geidt married Emma Charlotte Angela Neill, younger daughter of Patrick Neill, Baron Neill of Bladen. The couple have two daughters.
Geidt was appointed a Privy Counsellor (PC) in 2007.
|Life peer as Baron Geidt||3 November 2017|
|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|
|Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)||5 October 2017|
|Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO)||2011 Birthday Honours|
|Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO)||2007|
|Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)||1997 Birthday Honours (Diplomatic Service and Overseas List) 'for services to British interests in Bosnia'|
|Companion of the Queen's Service Order (QSO)||2018 New Year Honours (New Zealand)|
|Gulf Medal||with one clasp|
|United Nations Medal (United Nations)||United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC)|
|United Nations Medal (United Nations)||United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR)|
|European Community Monitor Mission Medal (European Union)||'for service in the former Yugoslavia'|
|Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal||2012|
|Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)||2014|
|Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)||2004|