Tag: serjeant-at-arms

Richard Toasting at the State Opening of Parliament

London Toastmaster, Richard Birtchnell with Jill Pay, the first woman Serjeant-at-Arms

An interesting and privileged assignment this week - acting as Toastmaster for the Inter-Parliamentary Union which traditionally hosts a reception at the Houses of Parliament for, among other dignitaries, Ambassadors and High Commissioners after attending the State Opening formalities. My task was to announce these distinguished guests to the hosts. Although most of them have difficult to pronounce names, I am spared risk and embarrassment because correct protocol dictates that Ambassadors are referred to by their countries - as in, for example, "His Excellency The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany". Incidentally, for anoraks among you, an Ambassador is 'of' the country and a High Commissioner is 'for' the country, as in "Her Excellency The High Commissioner for the Maldives". In the picture I am with Jill Pay, the first woman to be appointed Serjeant-at-Arms, a position that dates back to 1415. She is responsible for security at the House of Commons and ceremonially carries the mace during the opening of Parliament and each day processes with it ahead of the Speaker into the chamber.

About the Author: Richard Birtchnell,?the?london toastmaster ?who covers? all types of events, from the State Opening of Parliament to weddings,?all over London and beyond. If you want your event to run smoothly, on time and with a bit of pizazz, why not contact Richard now?to check his availability.