Principal Clerk installed as chaplain to the Queen

A special church service to mark Rev Dr George Whyte’s formal installation as Chaplain-in-Ordinary within Her Majesty’s Household has taken place in Edinburgh this week.

Rev Dr George Whyte in his Queen's Chaplain robes
Dr Whyte, the Principal Clerk of the Church of Scotland, was thankful to receive the honour ahead of the service on Tuesday 8 October at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church in Edinburgh.

Dr Whyte, the Principal Clerk of the Church of Scotland, was thankful to receive the honour ahead of the service on Tuesday 8 October at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church in Edinburgh.

"I feel very honoured that the Chapel Royal have organised this service and I am very grateful to my own congregation for hosting the event,” Dr Whyte said.

“I look forward to the support of friends and family as I take this step into a new sphere of service.”

Left to right: Rev Dr George Whyte and Very Rev Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal and Dean of the Order of the Thistle
Left to right: Rev Dr George Whyte and Very Rev Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal and Dean of the Order of the Thistle

Very Rev Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal, added:

“We are delighted to welcome George Whyte to the Chapel Royal in Scotland and thank Mayfield Salisbury Church for hosting the service of installation.

“George's wide experience of the church allied to the leadership role he exercises as Principal Clerk will be of much value to the Chapel Royal in the years ahead.”

The service at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church in Edinburgh was also attended by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, as well as eight other members of Her Majesty’s Household in Scotland (Ecclesiastical): Very Rev Dr John Chalmers; Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance; Very Rev Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal and Dean of the Order of the Thistle; Rev Neil Gardner; Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood; Very Rev Dr John Cairns; Rev Professor Norman Drummond; and Rev Charles Robertson.

‘Extensive experience and many gifts’

Pictured from left to right: Very Rev Dr John Chalmers; Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance; Rev Dr George Whyte; Very Rev Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal and Dean of the Order of the Thistle; Rev Neil Gardner; Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood; Very Rev Dr John Cairns; Rev Professor Norman Drummond; and Rev Charles Robertson.
From left to right: Very Rev Dr John Chalmers; Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance; Rev Dr George Whyte; Very Rev Professor David Fergusson; Rev Neil Gardner; Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood; Very Rev Dr John Cairns; Rev Professor Norman Drummond; and Rev Charles Robertson.

Originally from Barrhead, Dr Whyte has previously served as a parish minister at Kilchrenan and Dalavich with Muckairn in Argyll and Langside in Glasgow.

He then became the minister of Colinton Parish Church, before serving as the Presbytery Clerk of Edinburgh Presbytery.

Since 2017 the keen golfer has been Principal Clerk of the Church of Scotland, a position which requires in-depth knowledge of church law, history, practice and procedure.

The role of Chaplain-in-Ordinary dates back to the 15th century and is a largely a ceremonial honour with chaplains taking part in formal state occasions and conducting services at significant national events.

There are a total of 10 chaplains to the Queen in Scotland and Dr Whyte will hold this post for 10 years.

The chaplains, along with a physician, a surgeon, an apothecary, a sculptor, an astronomer, an historiographer and others form part of Her Majesty's Household in Scotland.

They are all personally known to the Queen and are people in whom she has placed her trust.