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Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie (May 15, 1929 – February 7, 2008) was the 78th and the first British Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta since 1258, serving for nearly 20 years from 1988 until his death in 2008.

His full title was His Most Eminent Highness Fra Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ. He never married and had a younger brother. He was the fourth cousin twice removed of Queen Elizabeth II.

Early career

Fra Andrew was born in Londonmarker, the son of the Hon. James Bertie (Montagu Arthur Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon) and Lady Jean Crichton-Stuart (the daughter of the John Crichton-Stuart, 4th Marquess of Bute). He was educated at the English Roman Catholic public school, Ampleforth Collegemarker, and graduated in Modern History from Christ Church, Oxfordmarker. He also attended the School of Oriental and African Studiesmarker of the University of London. From 1948 to 1950 he carried out military service in the Scots Guards, becoming a commissioned officer in 1949. After a short experience in the commercial sector, he taught modern languages (particularly French and Spanish) for twenty-three years at Worth Schoolmarker, a Benedictine public school in Sussex, Englandmarker.

78th Grand Master, the Order of Malta

Fra Andrew was admitted to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) in 1956; he took Perpetual Vows and in 1981 became a Religious member . He also joined the government of the Order in 1981 as a member of the Sovereign Council and in April 1988 he was elected the 78th Grand Master. He was Hospitaller of the Sanctuary of Lourdesmarker . He succeeded the late Fra Angelo de Mojana, the Milanese nobleman who had served the Order as Grand Master since 1962 and accomplished a great deal of modernization to the organization.

Although it is considered sovereign, the Order of Malta is also a religious order of the Catholic Church, so Bertie's election needed the ratification of Pope John Paul II, which was obtained on 11 April 1988.

Fra Andrew described the aims of the Order as “to help the poor and the sick; that is and always has been our primary aim”:

  • “The other military orders were there to fight the Saracens and to save Spain or the Holy Land or Prussia from the pagans. But we always had this special commitment to the poor and the sick. Our aims today are exactly the same as they were in 1099, the sanctification of our members through service to the sick”.

Fra Andrew Bertie did not marry and had no children. He died in Romemarker on February 7, 2008.

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