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The Coronation Roll
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The Earl Marshal standing during the coronation of King Charles III in Westminster Abbey, London
© Victoria Jones/PA

Earl Marshal

The role of Earl Marshal dates from mediaeval times, along with other offices of state such as the Lord High Constable and the Lord High Steward. Whilst many of these posts have either fallen into disuse or become purely ceremonial, the office of Earl Marshal is still active. It has responsibility for State Ceremonial, including Coronations, State Funerals and the State Opening of Parliament. The Earl Marshal is responsible for the supervision of the College of Arms and the overseeing of all new grants of Arms.

Many Dukes of Norfolk have held the role of Earl Marshal since John, 1st Duke of Norfolk in 1483. The role is held by hereditary right, although, before the Earl Marshall’s Enabling Act 1824, some Earl Marshalls had to exercise their office through deputies, as the Howard family (who hold the title of Duke of Norfolk) have remained Catholic in spite of the Reformation.

Since 2002, the holder of the title of Earl Marshal is Edward Fitalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk.