Royal Honour

After a humble beginning, Christopher Sandamas’s career has taken him to a senior role in the Royal Household – and he has now received a personal award from the Queen herself.

Christopher (OE 1978-1983), who is Chief Clerk in the Private Secretary’s Office, was made an MVO (Member of the Victorian Order) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Founded in 1896 by Queen Victoria, the Royal Victorian Order is given to people who have served her or the Monarchy in a personal way. It is entirely within the Sovereign's personal gift.

Christopher attended QE under the headmastership of Timothy Edwards. He left at 16 and took various jobs, including work in retail and as a warehouse operative, before deciding in his late twenties to return to education. He then completed a degree in Music and a Master’s in Historical Musicology, both awarded by the University of London.

On completing his studies, he joined the Royal Household as a part-time records clerk and has since enjoyed a successful career that has seen him rise to become Chief Clerk. From his base in Buckingham Palace, Christopher fulfils a varied role that includes outreach work on behalf of the Royal Household.

He re-established links with the School in 2014 when he was in touch with the School in his capacity as one of the judges for the Achievement Awards run by international children’s charity, Wings of Hope. In 2015, he was again among the judges, serving alongside actor Sir David Jason, the former British High Commissioner to India, Mike Nithavriankis, and leading figures from the business world. QE’s team Be The Change, won the charity’s 2015 Community Action Award and were presented with their prize in a ceremony at the Royal College of Surgeons.

As part of the outreach work, in the 2015 Summer Term he arranged for three current QE pupils to have a rare behind-the-scenes tour. The School chose the three by holding an essay competition on the subject of What it means to be British.

After clearing security checks at the palace gates, the winning trio, Year 8 boys Hector Cooper and Zakariya Shah, and Ivin Jose, of Year 7, enjoyed tea in Christopher’s office and went on an extensive tour of the Palace. This included State rooms and some areas not usually open to visitors.

The tour concluded with lunch in the staff canteen, where Christopher was keen to hear about the boys’ current experiences at QE, and to share his own memories.