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Sir Richard gets The Queen’s Keys to the Crown Jewels

PUBLISHED: 21:46 09 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:02 05 October 2010

THE Queen has named top Army General Sir Richard Dannatt to look after the Crown Jewels for the next five years. She has appointed Sir Richard, Chief of the General Staff, as the 159th Constable of The Tower of London, a tradition going back nearly 10 centuries to William the Conqueror

THE Queen has named top Army General Sir Richard Dannatt to look after the Crown Jewels for the next five years.

She has appointed Sir Richard, Chief of the General Staff, as the 159th Constable of The Tower of London, a tradition going back nearly 10 centuries to William the Conqueror.

Sir Richard takes up his new role in the summer, Downing Street has confirmed, before he is formally installed on Tower Green in a ceremony where he is handed The Tower’s famous golden keys’ as a symbol of his custodianship. That custodianship includes the Crown Jewels.

It is the most senior appointment at the royal palace, a role dating back to William I who appointed the first Constable, Geoffrey de Mandeville, in the 11th century.

PERKS OF THE JOB

The Constable of the Tower of London was historically one of the most sought-after positions in the Crown’s service—and one of the most profitable.

Perks of the job included any horses, oxen or pigs and sheep that fell off London Bridge. Every vessel that sailed up the Thames to trade in the City of London had to moor at Tower Wharf to unload a portion of its cargo for the Constable. These included oysters, mussels, cockles and wine and spirits.

This tradition is still upheld every year when the Royal Navy visits the Port of London and delivers a barrel of rum to the Constable.

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