Royal Patrons and Honorary Fellows

Patron of the Linnean Society of London

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Honorary Members

Honorary Members (HonMLS) shall not exceed four, besides members of Royal Families as may express a wish to belong to the Society, and is given to a distinguished Personage who has made an outstanding and unique contribution to the biological sciences.

Our Current Honorary Members are:

HRH The Prince of Wales KG FRS

HRH The Princess Royal KG

His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

His Imperial Majesty The Emperor Emeritus of Japan

HIH The Prince Hitachi of Japan

Baroness Young of Old Scone

Sir David F Attenborough OM FRS FLS FZS


His Imperial Majesty The Emperor Emeritus of Japan is recognised as an ichthyologist.

HIH Prince Hitachi of Japan is recognised as a cell biologist who is involved in the comparative histology of human and lower vertebrate tumors. He is additionally Honorary Patron of the Japanese Association for the Protection of Birds.

Baroness Young of Old Scone is a member of the House of Lords and a passionate defender of nature and natural history. She is currently the Chancellor of Cranfield University, a position she has held since 2010. Since 2016, she has served as Chair of The Woodland Trust. She served as the chief executive of health charity Diabetes UK from 2011 to 2015. She was Chief Executive of the Environment Agency from 2000 to 2008, chair of the Care Quality Commission from 2008-2010, and previously chair of English Nature, vice chairman of the BBC, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and of a number of local health authorities. In 2017, she was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is passionate about the environment, technology, agriculture, trade, and industry. He is a Patron of Friends of the Swedish Museum of Natural History, the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, among others.

Sir David Attenborough is an English broadcaster, writer, naturalist, and probably one of the most recognisable faces and voices on television. He has written and narrated some of the iconic TV series on the state of our planet, including Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Blue Planet (2001), State of the Planet (2000) and Are We Changing Planet Earth? (2006), both of which dealt heavily with environmental issues such as climate change. More recently, Sir Attenborough narrated Our Planet (2019), a Netflix series. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020) was described as his “witness statement.” His most recent show is the five-part A Perfect Planet that debuted on BBC in 2021. Sir Attenborough is the recipient of numerous awards, including several BAFTA Awards and a Peabody Award in 2014. He was knighted in 1985.

Former Patrons and Foreign Members

Queen Victoria was Patron of the Society (see illuminated page from the Roll and Charter that was signed by her).

The former Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, was an Honorary Member from 1931.

Queen Victoria

Fellows "Honoris causa" and Foreign Members

The Society recognizes those who have made an excellent achievement in the advancement of the biological sciences.

Fellows HonFLS, shall not exceed twenty-five and be British subjects.

Foreign Members, FMLS, shall not exceed fifty. No British subject nor any person usually residing in any part of the United Kingdom shall be elected a Foreign Member.

Once proposed for election as Fellow honoris causa or Foreign Member, the name of the candidate must be read at two General Meetings preceding the Anniversary Meeting at which the third reading and election shall take place. Following election, the Fellow honoris causa or Foreign Member receives a Diploma in the Latin language over the Common Seal of the Society and signed by the President, Treasurer and Executive Secretary.

A Fellow honoris causa or Foreign Member will be entitled, without contribution, to the full privileges of a Fellow of the Society.

Fellows honoris causa:

The number of Fellows honoris causa shall not exceed twenty-five.

  • William Lawrence Banks
  • Mrs Lynda Brooks
  • Lord Cranbrook (Gathorne)
  • Professor Laurence Martin Cook
  • Dr Lewis Derrick
  • Ms Georgina Lundy Douglas
  • Dr Michael Fitton
  • Professor Brian J Ford
  • Professor Vernon Hilton Heywood
  • Dr Charles E Jarvis
  • Professor Grenville Lucas OBE
  • Dr Desmond Morris
  • David P Taylor Pescod
  • Dr Lisbet Rausing
  • Dr Elizabeth Rollinson
  • Dr John Sparks
  • Professor Clive Anthony Stace
  • Dr Vaughan Southgate OBE
  • Dr Mark Watson

Foreign Members

The number of Foreign Members shall not exceed 50.

  • Dr Pieter Baas
  • Professor Wilhelm Barthlott
  • Professor Angelika Brandt
  • Professor Kåre Bremer
  • Professor Sherwin Carlquist
  • Professor Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
  • Professor Mee-mann Chang
  • Professor Sir Peter Crane FRS
  • Professor Friedrich Ehrendorfer
  • Dr Nelson Estrada
  • Professor Else Marie Friis
  • Professor Ib Friis
  • Professor Peter Grant
  • Professor Rosemary Grant
  • Dr Frederick Hochberg
  • Professor Bengt Edvard Jonsell
  • Dr Per Magnus Jorgensen
  • Dr James Kitching
  • Professor H Walter Lack
  • Professor Jean Leclercq
  • Dr Charles Duncan Michener
  • Dr Gareth Jon Nelson
  • Professor Eviatar Nevo
  • Dr Claus Nielsen
  • Professor Hugh E H Paterson
  • Professor Giorgio Pilleri
  • Dr Peter Hamilton Raven
  • Dr Oliver Cedric Rieppel
  • Dr John P Rourke
  • Professor J William Schopf
  • Professor Erik Francois Smets
  • Dr Dennis W Stevenson
  • Professor Edward O Wilson
  • Professor Emeritus Helmut Zwolfer