Andrew Bertie

 

His Most Eminent Highness Fra’ Andrew Bertie, who died in Rome on February 7 aged 78, was Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta; the 78th man to hold the office, he was the first Englishman to be elected the Order’s leader since Hugh Revel in 1258, and the first non-Italian since the end of the 18th century.

Fra’ Andrew Bertie: a deeply reserved man, his dignity and charm earned him affection and respect

Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie (pronounced “Barty”) was born on May 15 1929, the elder son of James Bertie, a younger son of the 7th Earl of Abingdon, and of Lady Jean Bertie (née Crichton-Stuart), a daughter of the 4th Marques of Bute. A branch of the Berties had been Dukes of Ancaster, while the Crichton-Stuarts, descended from King Robert II of Scotland,

He was educated at Ampleforth, Christ Church, Oxford, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London. During his National Service he was commissioned in the Scots Guards.

Fra’ Andrew’s term of office proved highly successful. He spoke five languages (and had a working knowledge of half a dozen more), and he increased the Order’s membership, bringing a fresh approach to its humanitarian activities and extending aid to hitherto inaccessible regions.

The Order’s diplomatic missions, offering assistance during natural disasters or armed conflict, doubled from 49 to 100.

Although deeply reserved, he was a man of great natural dignity and charm, who inspired affection as well as respect. He had a remarkable sympathy for the young, and was frequently visited in Rome by his former pupils.

On Malta, where he loved to spend holidays, he organised judo classes for children, teaching them himself. He was a judo black belt.

Andrew was a firm believer in the maxim “Judo is not only a sport but a way of life” and took active part in Judo activities whenever his busy agenda permitted. He was an inspiration to all sportsmen and the Foundation saw fit to name the Sports Science Institute project in his memory.