Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Earl Marshal

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Style  His Grace
Earl Marshal
Inaugural holder  Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk (1672 creation)
Formation  1672 (current office granted by Letters Patent)

Earl Marshal (alternatively Marschal, Marischal or Marshall) is a hereditary royal officeholder and chivalric title under the sovereign of the United Kingdom used in England (then, following the Act of Union 1800, in the United Kingdom). He is the eighth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Constable and above the Lord High Admiral. The Earl Marshal has among his responsibilities the organisation of major ceremonial state occasions like the monarch's coronation in Westminster Abbey and state funerals. He is also a leading officer of arms and oversees the College of Arms.


The current Earl Marshal is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, who inherited the position in 2002. There was formerly an Earl Marshall of Ireland and Earl Marischal of Scotland.


The office of royal marshal existed in much of Europe, involving managing horses and protecting the monarch. In England, the office became hereditary under John FitzGilbert the Marshal (served c.1130—1165) after The Anarchy, and rose in prominence under his second son, William Marshal, later Earl of Pembroke. He served under several kings, acted as regent, and organised funerals and the regency during Henry III's childhood. After passing through his daughter's husband to the Earls of Norfolk, the post evolved into "Earl Marshal" and the title remained unchanged, even after the earldom of Norfolk became a dukedom).

In the Middle Ages, the Earl Marshal and the Lord High Constable were the officers of the king's horses and stables. When chivalry declined in importance, the constable's post declined and the Earl Marshal became the head of the College of Arms, the body concerned with all matters of genealogy and heraldry. In conjunction with the Lord High Constable, he had held a court, known as the Court of Chivalry, for the administration of justice in accordance with the law of arms, which was concerned with many subjects relating to military matters, such as ransom, booty and soldiers' wages, and including the misuse of armorial bearings.

In 1672, the office of Marshal of England and the title of Earl Marshal of England were made hereditary in the Howard family. In a declaration made on 16 June 1673 by Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, the Lord Privy Seal, in reference to a dispute over the exercise of authority over the Officers of Arms the powers of the Earl Marshal were stated as being "to have power to order, judge, and determine all matters touching arms, ensigns of nobility, honour, and chivalry; to make laws, ordinances and statutes for the good government of the Officers of Arms; to nominate Officers to fill vacancies in the College of Arms; [and] to punish and correct Officers of Arms for misbehaviour in the execution of their places". Additionally it was declared that no patents of arms or any ensigns of nobility should be granted, and no augmentation, alteration, or addition should be made to arms, without the consent of the Earl Marshal.

The Earl Marshal is considered the eighth of the Great Officers of State, with the Lord High Constable above him and only the Lord High Admiral beneath him. Nowadays, the Earl Marshal's role has mainly to do with the organisation of major state ceremonies such as coronations and state funerals. Annually, the Earl Marshal helps organise the State Opening of Parliament. The Earl Marshal also remains to have charge over the College of Arms and no coat of arms may be granted without his warrant. As a symbol of his office, he carries a baton of gold with black finish at either end.

In the general order of precedence, the Earl Marshal is currently the highest hereditary position in the United Kingdom outside the Royal Family. Although other state and ecclesiastical officers rank above in precedence, they are not hereditary. The exception is the office of Lord Great Chamberlain, which is notionally higher than Earl Marshal and also hereditary, but as it is currently held by a marquess (Marquess of Cholmondeley), is consequently lower in the general order of precedence. The holding of the Earl Marshalship secures the Duke of Norfolk's traditional position as the "first peer" of the land, above all other dukes.

The House of Lords Act 1999 removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, but the Act provided that the persons holding the office of Earl Marshal and, if a peer, the Lord Great Chamberlain continue for the time being to have seats so as to carry out their ceremonial functions in the House of Lords.


Among the men who have held the title of Earl Marshal of Ireland are William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex (1539–1576).


See Earl Marischal.

Lords Marshal of England, 1135–1386

  • Gilbert Marshal ?–1129 (?)
  • John Marshal 1130–1165 (?)
  • John Marshal 1165–1194
  • William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke 1194–1219
  • William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke 1219–1231
  • Richard Marshal, 3rd Earl of Pembroke 1231–1234
  • Gilbert Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke 1234–1241
  • Walter Marshal, 5th Earl of Pembroke 1242–1245
  • Anselm Marshal, 6th Earl of Pembroke 1245
  • Roger Bigod, 4th Earl of Norfolk 1245–1269
  • Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk 1269–1306
  • Robert de Clifford 1307–1308
  • Nicholas Seagrave 1308–1316
  • Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk 1316–1338
  • Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk 1338–1377
  • Henry Percy, Lord Percy 1377
  • John FitzAlan, 1st Baron Arundel, Lord Maltravers 1377–1383 (died 1379)
  • Thomas Mowbray, 1st Earl of Nottingham 1385–1386
  • Earls Marshal of England, 1386–present

  • Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk 1386–1398
  • Thomas Holland, 1st Duke of Surrey 1398–1399
  • Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland 1400–1412
  • John de Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk 1412–1432
  • John de Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk 1432–1461
  • John de Mowbray, 4th Duke of Norfolk 1461–1476
  • jointly:
  • Anne de Mowbray, 8th Countess of Norfolk 1476–1481 (Countess Marshal)
  • Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York 1478–1483
  • Sir Thomas Grey 1476–1483 (acting)
  • John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk 1483–1485
  • William de Berkeley, 1st Marquess of Berkeley 1486–1492
  • Lord Henry, Duke of York 1494–1509
  • Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk 1509–1524
  • Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk 1524–1547
  • Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset 1547–1551
  • John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland 1551–1553
  • Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, restored 1553–1554
  • Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk 1554–1572
  • George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury 1572–1590
  • in commission 1590–1597
  • Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex 1597–1601
  • in commission 1602–1603
  • Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester 1603
  • in commission 1604–1622
  • Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey 1622–1646
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey 1646–1652
  • ??? 1652–1661
  • James Howard, 3rd Earl of Suffolk 1661–1662
  • in commission 1662–1672. Commissioners in 1662:
  • Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton
  • John Robartes, 1st Baron Robartes
  • Henry Pierrepont, 1st Marquess of Dorchester
  • Montagu Bertie, 2nd Earl of Lindsey
  • Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester
  • Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland
  • Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk 1672–1684
  • Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk 1684–1701
  • Thomas Howard, 8th Duke of Norfolk 1701–1732
  • Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk 1732–1777
  • Charles Howard, 10th Duke of Norfolk 1777–1786
  • Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk 1786–1815
  • Bernard Edward Howard, 12th Duke of Norfolk 1815–1842
  • Henry Charles Howard, 13th Duke of Norfolk 1842–1856
  • Henry Granville Fitzalan-Howard, 14th Duke of Norfolk 1856–1860
  • Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk 1860–1917
  • Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk 1917–1975
  • Miles Francis Stapleton-Fitzalan-Howard, 17th Duke of Norfolk 1975-2002
  • Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk 2002–
  • Deputy Earls Marshal

    The position of Earl Marshal had a Deputy called the Knight Marshal from the reign of Henry VIII until the office was abolished in 1846.

    Deputy Earls Marshal have been named at various times, discharging the responsibilities of the office during the minority or infirmity of the Earl Marshal. Prior to an Act of Parliament in 1824, Protestant deputies were required when the Earl Marshal was a Roman Catholic.


    Earl Marshal Wikipedia

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