A Naval Aide-de-Camp was an officer of the Royal Navy appointed by the British monarch. They were eleven in number, one of whom was usually an Admiral and was styled First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp. The other ten were Post-Captains, who relinquished the appointment when promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral. The first Naval Aides-de-Camp were appointed by William IV on 4 August, 1830. In addition two Marines Aides-de-Camp were appointed.
In 1831 the King appointed an extra eight Aides-de-Camp, but following the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 as vacancies occurred they were not filled, with the result that by 1842 the number had returned to ten. Lord Adolphus FitzClarence was appointed an extra Aide-de-Camp in November, 1846, but was appointed to the regular establishment in in February, 1848, when a vacancy occurred.
In 1856 an Admiralty clerk stated, "There are no definite duties attached to the appointment." The duties of the Naval Aides-de-Camp appear to have been to wait upon the Monarch at Court. Whilst originally considered an honour, by the outbreak of the Great War the Aides-de-Campships tended to be awarded to the senior Captains on the list rather than by selection.
Of the Captains, the six senior were paid, as late as the Great War, 10s. a day, for £182 10s. a year, and the four junior were unpaid. In addition the Monarch could also appoint Personal Naval Aides-de-Camp (naval officers who were members of or related to the Royal family) or Honorary Naval Aides-de-Camp (e.g., Sir James R. T. Fullerton).
Aiguillettes were worn on the right shoulder when in attendance on the Sovereign. From 1864 to February, 1874, a crimson and gold sash had been worn over the left shoulder, before the introduction of the aiguillette.
- "Naval Aides-de-Camp" dated 15 January, 1856. The National Archives. ADM 1/5674.
- The Navy List. (October, 1915). p. 832.
- Bulletins and Other State Intelligence for the Year 1874: Part 1.—January to June. p. 198.
- May; Carman; Tanner. Badges and Insignia of the British Armed Services. p. 13.