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Precedence & Protocol

Precedence and Protocol- Guidance Notes.
15.3.1. Background. When organising various official parades and services during the year the Legion normally invites various local VIPs to attend, and unless the organisers are aware of the Civic and Social Precedence Table, and Protocol Procedures, embarrassing errors can occur.
15.3.2. Sources of Advice. Should special problems arise, the event organisers should seek the advice of the following, as appropriate: Royal British Legion Regional Manager or County/District staff in the first instance. The staff of the corporation, borough or council where the event is to be held, and where normally there is an officer conversant with protocol. When the Lord Lieutenant is invited – his clerk to the Lieutenancy. For major occasions. National Head Office (Head of Policy Planning and Coordination) especially when Royalty is present.
15.3.3. Useful References. Guidance on protocol can also be found in:
Protocol and Ceremonial Guidance Notes issued by County/District Hall or a County/District Directory (if issued). – Any good encyclopaedia under the heading “Precedence”. Various specialist manuals on ‘Etiquette’ (eg Debretts). Reference books in the local library.
15.3.4. Possible Variations. The only person whose precedence is absolute is Her Majesty The Queen. The precedence of all other, despite published Table of Precedence, may vary from time to time depending on local traditions, the relationship between host and guests, and the requirements of courtesy and hospitality. Normally an acceptable compromise can be reached provided there is adequate consultation beforehand. It is most important to avoid embarrassment. Assuming no Royal Personage is present. If the Lord Lieutenant is formally invited as the Sovereign’s Representative to an event within his County/District, he has precedence. If the Lord Lieutenant attends in uniform he must be honoured as the representative of the Sovereign: and even if he is in civilian clothes it is prudent to recognise the dignity of his appointment. When a Lord Lieutenant is invited in his own right to a social rather than a formal ceremonial event, he will not be in uniform. Nevertheless, because of his office his presence should be specially recognised by receiving him properly, escorting him, and noting his presence by special welcome – for example at the beginning of a speech. Lord Mayors, Mayors and Council Chairmen, however, within the precincts of their City Halls and County Head Office have precedence. The wives of VIPs are accorded the same precedence as their husbands when both attend a function, and even if they are unaccompanied it may be desirable to accord them their husband’s precedence. If the VIP is female her spouse should be similarly recognised.
15.3.5. A Simplified Table of Precedence for most Legion Occasions. Bearing in mind the points made above, and assuming that a member of the Royal Family is not present, the following simplified Table of Precedence would normally apply for those who might attend a Legion event: however there may be local variations for example in such places as Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, etc – hence local consultation is crucial. The Lord Lieutenant of the county in which the event is held (or a Vice-Lieutenant or DL he may appoint in his place). Archbishop, (Canterbury or York – special occasions). The Prime Minister or a Secretary of State. A Bishop or Moderator (Reformed Church) attending as a guest and not conducting a service. The Lord Mayor and other Mayors and Chairmen of Councils (but see paragraph above and note 2 below ). The Recorder of the Borough. The High Sheriff of the County. The Lord Chief Justice: see note 1 below (frequently attends in Northern Ireland). Privy Councillors where known locally. The Senior Officers of the Military Forces. Judges. The Head of the Civil Service and other Senior Civil Servants. The Chief Constable.
15.3.6. Reception Arrangements. It is most important that those VIPs listed above should be formally met and escorted to their places, or where appropriate, conducted to a room where they are temporarily entertained and briefed as necessary pending the assembly of all the guests for a more formal announcement and entry.
15.3.7. Remembrance Services. Since there are normally several Remembrance Services in each county, often occurring simultaneously, there is an obvious problem for all local dignitaries, and especially the Lord Lieutenant. He should be formally invited only to major events and services in his own county. He may also wish to attend services in each of the larger towns in turn. Such an annual rota would need to be co-ordinated, probably by the County/District Secretary in the light of the wishes of the Lord Lieutenant, and possibly in consultation with Group Secretaries.
1. Senior officers of The Royal British Legion, such as a National Officer, County/District President, National Vice-President, County/District Chairman. etc, could probably best be fitted in at a Legion event after the Lord Chief Justice ( above).
2. There is no mention in published Tables of Alderman and Councillors, but they normally accompany the Lord Mayor, particularly when robed: and often the Chief Officer and Mace Bearer are also in attendance.
3. Nor is there mention of local MPs but presumably they should be fitted in after the Chief Constable as a miscellaneous group including other military officers, other Royal British Legion officers and other dignitaries.
4. On those rare occasions, such as dinners, when several Lord Lieutenants attend the same event (eg a funeral of a very VIP the Lord Lieutenant of the county within which the event takes place has precedence, followed by the others in date order sequence of their appointment.
5. On social occasions, such as dinners, when anyone is making a speech or proposing a toast and the Lord Lieutenant is present the speaker must take care that the ‘salutation’ or ‘preamble’ to his speech has the correct protocol sequence eg “Mr Chairman (who comes first) then ‘Lord Lieutenant, Lord Mayor (or Mayor, or District Council Chairman)”, and the other distinguished guests in the official sequence given in paragraph 15.3.5. above if they are individually listed