in England, an official of the royal household, whose duties were originally domestic and who was known as the "chief steward" of the household. The office was of considerable political importance under the Tudors and Stuarts, and it carried cabinet rank during the 18th century. In 1924 it ceased to be a political appointment and since then it has been filled at the discretion of the sovereign. In theory the lord steward is responsible for the day-to-day management and financial affairs of the royal household; in practice these functions are carried out by the master of the household. Thus, the duties of the lord steward are now purely ceremonial, though he is still the first dignitary of the court and is always a peer and a privy councillor.
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