Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps
Her Majesty's Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps is a senior member of the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. He is the Queen's link with the diplomatic community in London, arranges the annual Diplomatic Corps Reception by the Sovereign, organises the regular presentation of credentials ceremonies for Ambassadors and High Commissioners, and supervises attendance of diplomats at state events. Marshals generally hold office for 10-year terms and are normally retired senior military officers, though the last three Marshals have been diplomats. The Marshal is assisted by the Vice-Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, the First Assistant Marshal, and other Assistant Marshals.
The office was created as recently as 1920 to replace the former Master of the Ceremonies, an office dating from c.1620. Before 1920, the Vice-Marshal was known as the Marshal of the Ceremonies.
The Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps is, along with the Queen's Equerry, expected to walk backwards discreetly when leaving the presence of the monarch. They are the only two visitors who are expected to do this today, as the ancient tradition that all who had the honour of a meeting with the monarch were expected to walk discreetly backwards when leaving the Sovereign's presence has been dropped for health and safety reasons. These two senior members of the Royal Household are expected to walk backwards leaving the room when they have either been summoned to see the Queen personally or they are introducing others – such as senior foreign diplomats – for audiences with the Queen.
List of Marshals of the Diplomatic Corps
- Major-General Sir John Hanbury-Williams GCVO KCB CMG 1920–1934
- Lieutenant-General Sir Sidney Clive GCVO KCB CMG DSO 1934–1945
- Sir John Monck GCVO CMG 1945–1950
- Major-General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones GCVO CMG CBE MC 1950–1961
- Rear-Admiral the Rt Hon Earl Cairns GCVO CB 1962–1971
- Major-General Lord Michael Fitzalan-Howard GCVO CB CBE MC 1972–1981
- Lieutenant-General Sir John Richards KCB KCVO, Royal Marines 1982–1991
- Vice-Admiral Sir James Weatherall KCVO KBE 1992–2001
- Sir Anthony Figgis KCVO CMG 2001–2008
- Charles Gray CMG LVO 2008–2014
- Alistair Harrison CMG CVO 2014–present
List of Vice-Marshals of the Diplomatic Corps
- Sir John Monck KCVO CMG 1936–1945
- Sir Marcus Cheke KCVO CMG 1946–1957
- Captain Dugald Malcolm CMG CVO TD 1957–1965
- Sir Alexander Lees Mayall KCVO CMG 1965–1972
- Sir John Curle KCVO CMG 1972–1975
- Sir Roger Houssemayne Du Boulay KCVO CMG 1975–1982
- Sir Eustace Gibbs KCVO CMG 1982–1986
- Sir Roger Hervey KCVO CMG 1986–1991
- Sir Anthony Figgis KCVO CMG 1991–1996
- Philip Astley CVO 1996–1999
- Mrs Kathryn Colvin CVO 1999–2001
- Baron Charles de Chassiron CVO 2001–2006
- Miss Sarah Gillett MVO 2006–2009
- Mr Simon Martin 2009–2012
- Miss Anna Clunes 2012–2014
- Miss Catherine Nettleton CMG OBE 2015
- "The Lord Chamberlain's Office". gov.uk.
- Obituary of Sir Hubert Montgomery, The Times, 5 December 1942
- Andrew Alderson (9 August 2009). "Royal tradition takes a backward step as the Queen bows to 'health and safety' concerns". The Telegraph.