Since the removal of hereditary peers’ automatic right to sit in the House of Lords, Lord Cholmondeley is the only remaining marquess among the 92 elected hereditary peers. Michael Kerr, 13th Marquess of Lothian, is a sitting peer but only by virtue of a life peerage as Baron Kerr of Monteviot.
However, as Lord Great Chamberlain of England, Lord Cholmondeley does not take part in debates as, along with the Earl Marshall (Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk), he is a ceremonial Royal office holder.
The Lord Great Chamberlain has charge over the Palace of Westminster, though since the 1960s his personal authority has been limited to the royal apartments and Westminster Hall.
He also has a major part to play in royal coronations, having the right to dress the monarch on coronation day and to serve the monarch water before and after the coronation banquet, and also being involved in investing the monarch with the insignia of rule.
Lord Cholmondeley is a direct descendent of Sir Robert Walpole, the first prime minister, as well as the Rothschild and Sassoon families. He was educated at Eton and also took classes at the Sorbonne. In 1974, he was a Page of Honour to Her Majesty The Queen at the age of 14.
He now works as a filmmaker under the name David Rocksavage, which is derived from the marquessate’s subsidiary title Earl of Rocksavage. In 1995, he directed the film adaptation of Truman Capote’s novel ‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’ and, in 2007, directed ‘Shadows in the Sun’ starring Jean Simmons and James Wilby. The film was shot in Norfolk where one of the family’s seats, Houghton Hall, is located.
Cholmondeley succeeded to the marquessate on March 13, 1990, upon the death of his father, Hugh, the 6th Marquess. The office of Lord Chamberlain is a hereditary one and has been held by the Marquesses of Cholmondeley since 1780 through the marriage of the 1st Marquess to Lady Georgiana Charlotte Bertie, daughter of Peregrine Bertie, 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven.
On June 24, 2009, Lord Cholmondeley married Rose Hanbury, a 25-year-old fashion model turned researcher, their engagement having been announced the previous day. She is a daughter of Tim Hanbury, a website designer, and his fashion designer wife, Emma. On October 12 that year, the Marchioness gave birth to twins, Alexander Hugh George and Oliver Timothy George.
The second of the family’s seats is Cholmondeley Castle in Malpas, Cheshire, which is surrounded by 7,500 acre estate. According to the 2008 Sunday Times Rich List, Lord Cholmondeley has an estimated net worth of about £60 million, primarily in inherited landholdings.
In 2007, he was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his 17 years’ service as Lord Great Chamberlain.