Antrim Lieutenancy

Our History

The office of Lord-Lieutenant has a rich history that can be traced back to the military activities of King Henry VIII.  Those who held the position of Lord-Lieutenant  were to ensure the security in their respective regions. The early Lieutenants were charged with managing security and public safety through the deployment of troops and other military measures.

Over time, the role evolved and grew in importance, gradually encompassing various groups of counties across the country. Initially, Lieutenants were appointed from the ranks of noblemen, and oversaw groups of counties to maintain peace within their regions.

Today, the office of Lord-Lieutenant continues to play a vital role in upholding public order and promoting positive relationships between the Crown, the military, and the people of the United Kingdom.

The standard of the office of His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant

Today, the office of Lord-Lieutenant continues to play a vital role in upholding public order and promoting positive relationships between the Crown, the military, and the people of the United Kingdom.

The modern-day Lord-Lieutenants, work tirelessly to promote the safety and well-being of their communities.

Visit our page on ‘how we can help’ or view the ‘Role of the Lord-Lieutenant’ for more information on the positions and duties of the Antrim Lieutenancy.

HRH The Princess Royal in Ballycastle, 2023. (Source Ballycastle High School)
HRH The Princess Royal in Ballycastle, 2023. (Source Ballycastle High School)

By 1569, provision was made for the appointment of deputies. The Lieutenants were temporarily replaced by Governors, under Cromwell, before being reinstated by Charles II. The militias were expanded during the Napoleonic Wars. It was not until 1921 that Lord-Lieutenants officially lost the power to raise the militia, however, in practice, this power had been removed from the Lord-Lieutenant by the Regulation of the Forces Act 1871.

The Standard of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland
The Standard of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland

In Ireland, there had been a Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland since the late 17th Century. They were in practice the Chief Governor of Ireland, this office had various names and was also sometimes referred to as the Viceroy. County Lieutenancies, in the British mould, were introduced in 1831 and these Lieutenants were appointed by the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. The Government of Ireland Act 1920 abolished the Irish Lieutenancies except in the north.

The Standard of the Governor of Northern Ireland
The Standard of the Governor of Northern Ireland

With the establishment of Northern Ireland, in 1921, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland was replaced by the Governor of Northern Ireland.  Lieutenants were then appointed by the Governor of Northern Ireland to the six Counties and the two County Boroughs of Belfast and Londonderry. They were known as His/Her Majesty’s Lieutenants (HML) of each County.

The Heraldic Badge of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Lord-Lieutenants

In 1973, following the Governor of Northern Ireland being replaced by the Secretary of State, the Counties and County Boroughs were abolished as local government units, the Queen then appointed Lord-Lieutenants directly to Counties and County Boroughs, becoming the Lord-Lieutenants that we know today. The outbreaks of violence from the late 1960s deeply affected the Northern Irish Lieutenancies, with security restrictions limiting Royal visits and causing difficulties attending some public functions. However, with much personal bravery and tact, the Northern Irish Lieutenancies have emerged with an enhanced reputation.

Baron & Baroness Carrickfergus visit in Ballymena in 2019 (Source: PA)

In 2011, to mark the marriage of HRH The Prince William to Catherine Middleton, HM The Queen granted her grandson, Prince William, the titles of Duke of Cambridge (England), Earl of Strathearn (Scotland) and Baron Carrickfergus (Northern Ireland). Carrickfergus falls within County Antrim so TRHS are sometimes referred to as Baron & Baroness Carrickfergus, when in Northern Ireland. This signifies the close bond between TRHs and the County and its Lieutenancy.

​The official record of the grant of these titles can be viewed in the Gazette by clicking here.

HM The King and his Lord-Lieutenant in the Coronation Garden, May 2023 (source ANBC)

Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 8th September 2022, at Balmoral, Lord-Lieutenants became known as His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenants, the personal representatives of His Majesty King Charles III

In October, TRH The Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus, by now The Prince and Princess of Wales, made their historic first visit to Carrickfergus.

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – 6th October 2022

The Prince and Princess of Wales visit Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, as part of a visit to Northern Ireland. The visited Carrick Connect, a youth charity based in Carrickfergus which offers support services to local young people experiencing social or emotional difficulties. Their Royal Highnesses learnt about some of the projects the organisation is currently implementing in the community, and met with the charity’s team of mentors and some of the young people who benefit from the various projects.

The Royal Highnesses then met with members of the local community along the town’s seafront.

The Lord-Lieutenant welcomes HM The King & HM The Queen to the County during their Coronation Tour (source ANBC)

His Majesty The King’s Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May 2023, the Lord-Lieutenant, Mr David McCorkell, represented the County at the Coronation.

On 24th May 2023, His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen visited County Antrim to open the Coronation Garden, in Hazelbank Park, Newtownabbey, as part of their Coronation Tour.


Sourced: Association of Lord-Lieutenants and Miles Jebb’s ‘The Lord-Lieutenant and their Deputies’ (History Press, 2007)

The Antrim Lieutenancy

The area of the Lieutenancy corresponds with the physical boundaries of the County, but excludes the Borough of Belfast, which is a Lieutenancy in its own right.

The Antrim Lieutenancy has the largest population of the County Lieutenancies and stretches from Lisburn in the south, to Portrush and Rathlin Island in the north. It includes four Borough Councils: Antrim & Newtownabbey, Lisburn and Castlereagh, Mid and East Antrim and part of Causeway Coast & Glens. Key transport hubs of Belfast International Airport and Larne Harbour fall within the Lieutenancy area.

Previous Lord-Lieutenants


The 1st Earl O’Neill, KP: 17 October 1831-25 March 1841

The 3rd Marquess of Donegall, KP, GCH, PC: 24 April 1841 – 20 October 1883 

The 1st Baron Waveney: 4 December 1883 – 15 February 1886 

Sir Edward Porter Cowan: 2 April 1886 – 24 March 1890

Sir Francis Workman-Macnaghten, 3rd Bt: 21 May 1890 – 21 July 1911

The 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, KP, GCVO, CBE, PC: 2 November 1911 – 1916

The 12th Viscount Massereene, DSO: 9 June 1916 – 1938

The 3rd Baron O’Neill: 14 April 1938 – 24 October 1944

Senator James Leslie, PC: 12 March 1945 – 16 May 1949

The 1st Baron Rathcavan: 22 September 1949 – 1959

Sir Richard Dobbs, KCVO: 24 March 1959 – 1994

The 4th Baron O’Neill, KCVO, TD: 19 April 1994 – 31 August 2008

Mrs Joan Christie, CVO, OBE: 1 September 2008 – 28 June 2019

Mr David McCorkell, KStJ: 29 June 2019 –