Ancient Coronation Traditions & Etiquette

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Previous page: Part 5 - Ancient Coronation Traditions & Etiquette

It has been said that all the Scottish and Irish offices and services are performed by custom, but at his Majesty's pleasure and not in virtue of established or recognised right because those offices and services may properly only be performed as of right in their respective countries of origin.

To this category, therefore, include offices such as the Hereditary Standard Bearer of Scotland, the Hereditary Usher of the White Rod of Scotland, the Lord High Constable of Scotland, and the Hereditary Lord High Steward of Ireland. The Scottish Standard Bearer bases his right to his service on a charter dated 1298. He walks in the Procession bearing the Standard of Scotland. It is an office belonging to the family of Scrymgeour.

The Scottish White Rod was represented at more recent Coronations by the Walker Trustees, who were permitted to send a deputy approved by his Majesty to be present and to walk in the Procession Sir Patrick Walker performed the office (which was then recognised as heritable) at the Coronation of King George IV.

His heir female succeeded him and conveyed her rights to a body of trustees who became incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1877. The Scottish High Constable was accorded the privilege of walking in the Procession at recent Coronations, his right to do so being based on precedent. He is provided on each occasion with a new baton as a perquisite.

The Irish High Steward walks in the Procession, is given appropriate precedence, and hears a White Wand as a symbol of his office. This office is held by the Earls of Shrewsbury, to whose ancestor, Sir John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, it was granted by Patent in 1446.

The duties of the Barons of the Cinque Ports, which disappeared with the Banquet, have at recent Coronations been to some extent revived, in that the Barons have had a special station within the Abbey. The origin of the close attendance of the Cinque Ports Barons on his Majesty seems to come from the fact that the Cinque Ports, Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich, together with their "limbs" Rye, Winchelsea, and other towns, were regarded as the Gates of the Kingdom through which an invader would have to pass, and the Barons of the Cinque Ports symbolised the protection of the Kingdom from invasion by their close attendance on his Majesty with their canopy.

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