Michael Boyce smiling to camera

Doctor of Law

Former professional head of the British Armed Forces, with an extensive career in the Royal Navy.

Admiral of the Fleet Lord Boyce joined the Royal Navy in 1961 and served for 42 years. 

After qualifying as a submariner – and later as a torpedo and anti-submarine specialist – he was posted to 3 HM submarines before going on to command 3 and thence commanded a frigate.

In 1982, he was promoted to Captain while at the Ministry of Defence Directorate of Naval Plans, leading to an appointment as Captain (SM) Submarine Sea Training. In 1988, after attending the Royal College of Defence Studies, he was made Senior Naval Officer Middle East in the rank of Commodore before becoming Director of Naval Staff Duties (DNSD), 1989 to 1991. He was then promoted to Rear Admiral, taking up the duties of Flag Officer Sea Training and Naval Base Commander Portland.

In 1992, he became Flag Officer Surface Flotilla with the NATO appointment of Commander Anti-Submarine Warfare Striking Force. He rose to Vice Admiral in 1994 and to Admiral in 1995, with a simultaneous appointment of Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command. In 1997, he became Commander-in-Chief Fleet with the accompanying NATO position of Commander-in-Chief Eastern Atlantic and Commander Allied Naval Forces North Western Europe. In 1998, he became First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, and First and Principal Naval ADC.

He served as the professional head of the Royal Navy until 2001. He was Chief of Defence Staff and professional head of the Armed Forces from 2001 until his retirement in 2003.

Lord Boyce was knighted in 1995, appointed the Knight Grand Cross in 1999, elevated to the peerage in 2003 and received the honorary appointment of Admiral of the Fleet in 2014. He was made Knight (of Justice) of St John (2002); Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London (2003); was the first Colonel Commandant of the Special Boat Service (2003-) and became Patron of the SBS Association; Lord Warden and Admiral of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle (2004); King of Arms of the Order of the Bath (2009-2018); and Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter (2011). He was appointed Vice Admiral of the United Kingdom in 2021.

He is a Freeman of the City of London, an Elder Brother of Trinity House and has received honorary doctorates from four universities, including the University of Portsmouth.

Lord Boyce’s civic and professional contributions are many and varied. They include serving as Chairman of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the HMS Victory Preservation Company, the Advisory Board Centre for Blast Injury and ADVANCE Charity. He has been the President of St John Ambulance (London District), Pilgrims Society, Royal Navy Submarine Museum; and a trustee/governor for the National Maritime Museum and Hospital of Sir John Hawkins. He is or has been a patron of such organisations as Sail4Cancer, Trafalgar Woods, Tall Ships Youth Trust and Forces in Mind Trust.

He was a Non-Executive Director and SID of WS Atkins plc (2004-2013); a Non-Executive Director of VT Group plc (2004-2010); Chairman of the Board (2004-2021) - and now Life President - of the D Group. He has been an advisor to Atkins International, Computer Sciences Corporation, Atos and Protection Group International.