CHAMBERLAIN

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CHAMBERLAIN ; a court officer, originally employed, as the name indicates, either to take charge of the private apartments of the king, or of the treasury, called, in the 10th century, camera. (See Chamber.) The golden key, which is worn by the chamberlains of the European courts on two small golden buttons (as well as the buttons themselves, when the key is omitted), indicates, also, the origin of the office. At present, their employment (when their office is not merely nominal) is to attend on the persons of the princes and their consorts. There is generally a chief or high chamberlain. This officer, in England, is called lord great chamberlain of England. His office is one of great antiquity and honor, being ranked as the sixth great office of the English crown. He dresses and undresses the king before and after the coronation. There exists, also, a lord chamberlain of the household, a lord chamberlain of the queen's household, &c. In fact, there are almost as many chamberlains as chambers.Chamberlain of London is the officer who keeps the city money, which is laid up in a chamber of London, in Guildhall. He also presides over the affairs of masters and apprentices, makes free of the city, &c.