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The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy. Originally exercised by a single person, the office of Lord High Admiral was from the 18th Century onward almost invariably put "in commission", and was exercised by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, who sat on the Board of Admiralty.

In 1964 the functions of the Admiralty were transferred to a new Admiralty Board, which is a committee of the tri-service Defence Council of the United Kingdom and part of the Ministry of Defence. The new Admiralty Board meets only twice a year, and the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy is controlled by a Navy Board (not to be confused with the historical Navy Board described later in this article). It is not uncommon for the various authorities now in charge of the Royal Navy to be referred to simply as The Admiralty.

The title of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom is now vested in the Sovereign. However, there continues to be a Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom and a Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, both of which are honorary offices.


Function and organisation


The office of Admiral of England (or Lord Admiral and later Lord High Admiral) was created around 1400, though there were before this Admirals of the Northern and Western Seas. In 1546 King Henry VIII established the Council of the Marine, later to become the Navy Board, to oversee administrative affairs of the naval service. Operational control of the Navy remained the responsibility of the Lord High Admiral, who was one of the nine Great Officers of State.

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