Great Officers of the Household
These are the three great ceremonial appointments in the Royal Household. The Great Officers of the Household are always peers, and are appointed at the wish of the Sovereign, although the names are still formally submitted to The Queen by the Prime Minister.
The Lord Chamberlain
The senior official of the Royal Household, who should not be confused with the Lord Great Chamberlain. He oversees all aspects of Household administration, liaises with the other senior officers of the Household, undertakes ceremonial duties and recommends to The Queen candidates to fill senior appointments within the Household.
The Lord Chamberlain's Department is run by the Comptroller, who is responsible for organising great royal ceremonies such as royal weddings and funerals, and the regular calendar events of garden parties, investitures, state visits, and the Garter and Thistle services.
Under the authority of the Lord Chamberlain's Office are the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, Lords-in-Waiting, Gentlemen at Arms, Yeomen of the Guard, the Royal Company of Archers (The Queen's Body Guard in Scotland), the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, and Royal Warrants and Insignia.
The Lord Chamberlain's Department makes such appointments as the Librarian of Windsor Castle, the Keeper of the Jewel House at the Tower of London, the Master of The Queen's Music (formerly spelt 'Musick'), and the Poet Laureate; also honorary appointments to the ecclesiastical and medical households, and the offices of the Queen's Bargemaster and the Royal Waterman. The Department also supervises the annual 'swan upping' (the counting of swans on the River Thames).
Historically the most controversial role of the Lord Chamberlain was as a theatre censor. He was given statutory authority to licence plays in 1737, and the Theatres Act of 1843 made it illegal to publicly perform any play unlicensed by the Lord Chamberlain. This continued until 1968 when theatre censorship was abolished.
The Lord High Steward
The titular head of the Master of the Household's Department, which supervises all hospitality, catering and housekeeping arrangements for all official and private entertaining at all royal residences. The Master of the Household organises all aspects of the function - whether it is a State banquet for hundreds or a private luncheon for a dozen guests - from the compilation of the guest list and issuing of invitations, to the preparation and service of the meal.
The Master also takes charge of The Queen's return of hospitality on a State visit overseas. The Court Post Office is also the responsibility of the Master of the Household.
The Master of the Horse
The titular head of the Royal Mews, which is run by the Crown Equerry. He has responsibility for The Queen's carriages horses, and all coaches, carriages and cars used on State and official occasions. The Crown Equerry's staff lives in the Royal Mews with their families. In the days when The Queen led the Birthday Parade ('Trooping the Colour') on horseback, the Master of the Horse rode immediately behind the Sovereign, being responsible for her safety.