John Peel

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Sir John Harold Peel, (10 December 10 1904 - 31 December 2005, aged 101) was Surgeon-Gynaecologist to the Queen from 1961 to 1973 and was present at a number of royal births.[1]

Peel, the son of a clergyman, was born on December 10 1904 and educated at Manchester Grammar School, Queen's College, Oxford, and King's College Hospital Medical School in London. He qualified in 1930, and... two years later passed his membership examinations for the Royal College of Physicians.
Peel became a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1944. In 1955 he became a member of its council, and in 1959 its honorary treasurer. In the latter role he was instrumental in raising funds to finance the College's expansion into its handsome premises in Regent's Park. In 1966 he became President of the RCOG, a job he performed with enthusiasm. His presidency concluded in 1969, but he remained a respected and influential presence for many years, and was elected to an honorary fellowship in 1989.
...In 1967, during his tenure as President of the RCOG, Peel chaired the committee advising the government on the Bill, introduced by the Liberal MP David Steel, proposing to legalise the medical termination of pregnancy. The RCOG was closely involved with the Bill, and monitored its progress through Parliament until it became law as the 1967 Abortion Act.[1]

Moral conservative activist

Peel was a supporter of Family and Youth Concern. According to an obituary in the Telegraph:

In the 1980s, as sponsor of the Responsible Society, Peel accused two government departments - Education, and Health and Social Security - of encouraging girls under 16 to have sexual intercourse.
"Young girls," he wrote in a booklet, "are the victims of exploitation by unscrupulous adults, by misleading information in popular teenage magazines; by pernicious theories from some 'trendy' experts; all leading to the glorification of sex for physical satisfaction alone." He also had strong reservations about research on human embryos.[2]


  • Textbook of Gynaecology (1943);
  • Lives of the Fellows of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 1929-1969 (1976);
  • Biography of William Blair Bell (1986)



  1. 1.0 1.1 Sir John Peel, Obituaries, Daily Telegraph, 2 January 2006.
  2. Sir John Peel, Obituaries, Daily Telegraph, 2 January 2006.