Prince Edward has been appointed ‘Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland’ for 2014, Royal Central has learnt.
The appointment, though only active for one week (General Assembly week) in Scotland, will involve Prince Edward sitting in the assembly as The Queen’s representative, reporting back to Her Majesty what has been said during the meetings. It was last made to a member of the Royal Family in 2007 when Prince Andrew was appointed.
For the week of the General Assembly, The Lord High Commissioner ranks just behind The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in the Order of Precedence in Scotland and to all intents and purposes, acts as Queen during this time.
Prince Edward will reside at the Palace of Holyroodhouse during the week, (which commences from 16th May) and will use the Scottish royal banner flag to show when he is in residence. He will also be styled as His Grace for the week instead of His Royal Highness, as the position of Lord High Commissioner ranks higher than other members of the Royal Family in the Order of Precedence.
Whilst staying at Holyrood, Prince Edward will be surrounded not by a court, but by what is known as a suite. In this he will have his own Purse Bearer (who is the head of the Household), Chaplain, several Aides-de-Camp, a Lady-in-Waiting, Extra Lady-in-Waiting, and Maids of Honour.
The car which Prince Edward will be driven in will also not require number plates for the week, a privilege normally only enjoyed by The Queen.
Although the Lord High Commissioner has no formal role in proceedings at the assembly, he attends as The Queen’s representative – he will not be able to vote as part of the meetings.
Many members of the Royal Family have acted as Lord High Commissioner at one stage or another during The Queen’s reign. Her Majesty herself personally attended in 2002 as well as in 1969 and from her own family has been represented by Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and the Duke of Gloucester.
The Queen made the appointment in December and the notice appeared in the London Gazette today. This is the first time the Earl of Wessex has represented Her Majesty.