Role of the Lord-Lieutenant

Mr Edward Gillespie OBE DL is the King’s representative in Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire, fulfilling a range of civic and ceremonial duties which bring together voluntary services, business and cultural life.

The office of Lord-Lieutenant is military in origin and can be said to date from the reign of Henry VIII when its holder was made responsible for the maintenance of order and for all military measures necessary locally for defence.

The traditional links with the armed forces have been preserved in a modern form in the association of the Lord-Lieutenant with the Volunteer Reserve Forces. Lord-Lieutenants’ connections with uniformed organisations have led to links with other uniformed organisations, such as the police, fire and ambulance services and many voluntary bodies, such as the Red Cross, the cadet forces and other national and local youth organisations.

In recent years, the circles within which the Lord-Lieutenant’s leadership role is exercised have come to include a wide range of matters, civil and defence, professional and voluntary.

The fundamental principle concerning the office of the Lord-Lieutenant is that he is His Majesty’s representative in his county. Consequently, it is his first and foremost duty to uphold the dignity of the Crown.

In general, the Lord-Lieutenant promotes a good atmosphere and a spirit of co-operation by the encouragement he gives to voluntary service, and to benevolent organisations, and by the interest he takes in the business, industrial and social life of his county and the voluntary activity that goes on in it.

The role is essentially non-political.

While it is a matter for each Lord-Lieutenant as to how he carries out his role within the principles identified above, these duties may broadly be classified under the following headings: -

  1. To arrange visits by members of the Royal Family and to escort Royal visitors;
  2. To represent His Majesty The King, including duties with the armed forces and presenting certain honours, medals and awards;
  3. To assess nominations for honour, both personal and for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, and to encourage nominations;
  4. To liaise with local units of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, Royal Air Force and their associated Cadet Forces;
  5. To be involved in the Advisory Committee work of Justices of the Peace, in liaison with the Ministry of Justice.

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