Lives of the fellows

Robert William (Sir) Burnet

b.17 June 1851 d.20 February 1931
KCVO(1917) MB CM Aberd(1876) MD FRCP(1894)

Robert Burnet was born at Chryston, near Glasgow, the son of Rev. William Burnet, minister of the Free Church of Scotland. He was educated at Glasgow High School, and, after his father’s removal to Huntly, at Chanonry House, Aberdeen. After graduating as M.B, C.M, with honours, at Aberdeen University in 1876, he completed his medical training at the London Hospital. There he became Sir Andrew Clark’s private secretary and assistant for five years. In 1879 he succeeded Robert Bridges as physician to the Great Northern Hospital. In 1882, he accompanied Lord Lorne, later Marquess of Argyll, and Princess Louise to Canada, as medical attendant to the vice-regal household. On his return in 1883 he resumed his duties at the Hospital and actively furthered the schemes for its reconstruction; when he resigned in 1899, he was made one of its consulting physicians. He published in 1890 a work on Foods and Dietaries, which met with a popular reception.

In 1894 Burnet was appointed Physician-in-Ordinary to the Duke of York afterwards King George V, and, when the King succeeded to the throne in 1910, he was appointed Physician to the Royal Household. He retired in 1919. He v/as knighted in 1908 and created K.C.V.O. in 1917. Among his friends and patients was Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. He married in 1887 Bessie Horsman, daughter of William Morley of Streatham, and had one son and two daughters. He died at Budleigh Salterton.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1931; B.M.J., 1931; Times, 23 Feb. 1931]

(Volume IV, page 366)

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