The Isle of Wight Lieutenancy

Every county and the Isle of Wight is no exception, has a Lord-Lieutenant appointed to be The Queen’s personal representative. A Vice Lord-Lieutenant and a number of Deputy Lieutenants, in our case up to twenty, support the Lord-Lieutenant; the Vice Lord-Lieutenant is appointed by the Lord-Lieutenant from among his Deputies. The Lord-Lieutenant, Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Deputy Lieutenants and the Clerk (see below) make up the Island’s “Lieutenancy”.

Our Lord-Lieutenant is Major General M S White CB CBE JP who was appointed in October 2006 and the Vice Lord-Lieutenant is Lieutenant Colonel Sir Guy Acland Bt LVO DL. These are honorary appointments made by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. Former Lord-Lieutenants include Mr CDJ Bland.

The Lord-Lieutenant’s first and foremost duty is to uphold the dignity of the Crown. The office is unpaid and the age of retirement is 75. As the Monarch’s representative the Lord-Lieutenant attends and is responsible for all Royal visits to the Island, presents medals and awards on behalf of The Queen, advises on submissions for honours nominations, prepares guest lists of Island residents for Royal Garden Parties and advises on matters concerning the Crown. In more general terms he seeks to support the community on the Isle of Wight with a particular emphasis on the voluntary sector and major events, for example the Island Games in 2011. In addition to being honorary, the role of the Lieutenancy, with its links to the Crown, is also non-political.

When the Lord-Lieutenant retires from post, the Queen appoints a new Lord-Lieutenant on the advice of the Prime Minister.


The office is military in origin and dates from the reign of Henry VIII when the Lord-Lieutenant was charged with raising militia for local defence. This traditional link with the Services remains, although many Lord-Lieutenants are not from a Service background and the role has evolved to meet the demands of the 21st Century. However, here on the Isle of Wight there are still strong links to the Territorial Army, cadet forces and other uniformed voluntary bodies such as St John Ambulance.

From earliest days the Lord-Lieutenant has also been closely associated with the magistracy and today the Lord-Lieutenant is an honorary magistrate and maintains links to the judiciary as Keeper of the Rolls (formerly Custos Rotulorum). As Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace he is responsible for the recruitment and selection of magistrates.

The Clerk to the Lieutenancy, co-ordinates the day to day work of the Lord-Lieutenant  Mrs Gillian Phenix is the current Clerk (Interim).   Her main duties on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant include; arranging Royal visits and attendance at Garden Parties, organising medals and award ceremonies, co-ordinating participation in civic, voluntary and social activity within the Lieutenancy and liaison with the Military and ex-Service organisations.