The Secretary and Keeper of the Records
The chief executive of the Duchy is referred to as the Secretary and Keeper of the Records.
Bertie Ross was appointed to the Prince’s Council in 1996 and became Secretary and Keeper of the Records in June 1997. Prior to that, from 1973 to 1997 Bertie worked at Savills, as a Partner and subsequently Director from 1982 and then as Head of Agricultural Agency from 1986. He is a Fell
ow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the trustee of several private Estates in England and Scotland, a Board Member of the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative and a member of the Rural Action Leadership Group of Business in the Community.
The title of Secretary dates back to the late medieval period, to a time when it was comparatively rare to be able to read or write. So a powerful or influential person needed a right-hand man, someone absolutely trustworthy who could write letters on his behalf. Secretaries were kept to write people’s intimate letters to each other, whether business or personal. Clearly the post has now evolved to become the chief executive of a modern, commercial organisation, with capital assets in excess of £500 million.