Farmer and former children’s TV presenter to take on ceremonial coronation roles
Buckingham Palace has officially confirmed a Lincolnshire farmer will perform the ancient duty of acting as the King’s champion during the coronation.
Francis Dymoke will not have to throw his gauntlet down and see if anyone accepts his challenge but instead will carry the Royal Standard during the Westminster Abbey ceremony.
Buckingham Palace has released details of the dukes, bishops, peers and retired generals who will perform a range of ceremonial duties when Charles and Camilla are crowned, from carrying regalia in a procession to presenting the items to the King and Queen Consort.
Baroness Floella Benjamin, the former children’s TV presenter, and now an author and peer, who chaired the Windrush Commemoration Committee, will carry Charles’s sceptre, traditionally known as the Rod Of Equity And Mercy, which represents his spiritual role.
She said: “I feel honoured and privileged to be part of the historic coronation ceremony.
“To be selected to carry the Sovereign’s Sceptre With Dove, which represents spirituality, equity and mercy, is for me very symbolic as it’s everything I stand for and sends out a clear message that diversity and inclusion is being embraced.”
Mr Dymoke, a former accountant turned farmer, is the 34th generation of his family to run the Scrivelsby country estate in Lincolnshire – with the role of King’s champion unusually attached to the land rather than his family.
His claim to undertake the historic role during the Westminster Abbey ceremony was recently upheld by the Coronation Claims Office.
The office of King’s Champion began in the reign of William the Conqueror and it was the warrior’s role to ride a horse into Westminster Hall during the coronation banquet and challenge anyone who denied the sovereign’s right to the throne to combat.
Queen Victoria dispensed with the custom at her coronation, and Henry Dymoke – Queen’s Champion at the time – was made a baronet by way of compensation.
The first processions into Westminster Abbey will be made up of faith leaders and representatives, but it is not known if they will play any formal role in the service.
They will be followed by governors-general and prime ministers from each of the 15 realms, including the UK, where the King is head of state, as well as their flagbearers, although some of the countries, including Belize and Jamaica, have indicated they will move to become a republic.
Bearing the flag of the United Kingdom ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty will be Cadet Warrant Officer Elliott Tyson-Lee.
The King and Queen Consort’s procession will follow, led by the Marquess of Anglesey, the Duke of Westminster, the Earl of Caledon and the Earl of Dundee, who will carry the Standards of the Quarterings of the Royal Arms and the Standard of the Principality of Wales.
Mr Dymoke will carry the Royal Standard.
Petty Officer Amy Taylor will be the first woman to bear the King’s Jewelled Sword Of Offering into the abbey.
She has been selected to represent servicemen and women as a Royal Navy petty officer in a tribute to the military career of Charles who also served as a naval officer.
She said: “Having served most of my senior career as an aircraft engineer on 845 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton where His Majesty originally trained and served as a pilot, I am deeply honoured and humbled to play my part in this historic event.
“Coming from a farming family, His Majesty has always been such a great advocate for our community and someone I have admired growing up.”
Buckingham Palace said: “Those undertaking these historic roles in the service have been chosen to recognise, thank and represent the nation due to their significant service, and include representatives from orders of chivalry, the military and wider public life.”