Captain Robert Neil Blair, CVO, RN, who died 17 April, 2021, aged 84, was a courtier who served in the households of both the Duke of York, and Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy.
Capt Blair was Private Secretary and Treasurer to The Duke of York, 1990–2001.
Blair was born 14 July, 1936, the son of Harley Blair and his wife the former Jane Tarr, and educated at St John's College, Johannesburg, and Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He served in the Royal Navy from 1954, and was on the RAF staff course.
From 1958 to 1959, he was on HMY Britannia. He served in various positions in the Fleet Air Arm 1961–1970, and was in command of HMS Shavington 1965–1967.
In 1970–71, he was again on HMY Britannia. He was promoted to Commander 31 December 1971. He was Commanding Officer of the frigate HMS Ashanti 1972–1974.
Blair was in command of HMS Royal Arthur in 1978, and Commander of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth 1979–1980, and was promoted to Captain 30 June 1981. From 1982 to 1985 he was Naval and Air Attaché in Athens, and Defence and Naval Attaché in The Hague 1986–1989.
He was appointed was Private Secretary and Treasurer to the Duke of York in 1990, and was also an Extra Equerry. He was Comptroller to Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy 1996–1997, and Private Secretary to the princess 1996-2001.
He was appointed LVO in 1997, and promoted to CVO in 2001.
He married in 1960, Barbara Jane, daughter of Ian and Monica Rankin.