The Royal Household have decided to outsource in their search for a new ‘Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps’ by placing an advertisement for the job on the Royal website’s job vacancies section.
Working as part of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office the Marshal will be based at St James’s Palace where he (or she) will “act as the Royal Household’s point of contact for the London accredited diplomatic Heads of Mission, organises their participation at State and other official occasions; and provides informal, non-official, non-political advice about the UK”.
Despite this exciting, yet rather basic sounding synopsis of the job, the role requires quite a bit more from any potential applicant.
The Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps must have ‘good knowledge of spoken French’, have natural interpersonal skills and the gravitas to influence at all levels, be a confident public speaker and have good planning, organisation and administration skills.
The job description also specifies that the person should have ‘experience in a senior grade UK diplomatic post’. Applications for the role close on 28th October.
The outgoing Marshal is a Mr Charles Gray, who has served in the post for over five years. In real terms, the job basically entails meeting and greeting diplomats and generally being The Queen’s bridge between the her and any foreign representatives.
If you’re thinking of applying for the job, however, you’ll have to be sure to practice your back-step. HM Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps (as the role is correctly titled) along with the Queen’s Equerry are the only two people who are required to walk backwards when leaving The Queen’s presence. The Queen did away with this protocol rule in 2009 for safety reasons, leaving it only for on the most formal of occasions and also for those two roles exclusively.
Prior to Charles Gray taking the post of Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, the office holder was traditionally a retired military officer of a high rank – Mr Gray, however, was a career diplomat, which signalled a change to how posts were awarded within the Royal Household when he was appointed to the role in 2008.
The office of HM Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps is yet to be held by a woman, though the job description specifies that the post is open to applications from both men and women with a diplomatic background. The Vice-Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps is a woman however (Ms Anna Clunes) - the Vice-Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps assists the Marshal along with the First Assistant Marshal and other Assistant Marshals.