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Tuesday 11 June, 2024
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What is the ‘Wand of Office’? Why did Lord Chamberlain ‘breaks’ it?

BY Sharmeen Hussain Sep 19, 2022. 07:29 pm

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The formal funeral for Her Majesty in Westminster Abbey was followed by the Queen Elizabeth II’s committal service.

Around 2,000 people attended the funeral, including world leaders and celebrities. In contrast, the service at St. George’s Chapel was a smaller gathering where close relatives and friends could say their final goodbyes.

The funeral included one additional act of pageantry at the conclusion—the shattering of the Wand of Office—in a ritual rich in symbolism.

What is the ‘Wand of Office’?

The ceremonial staff known as the “wand of office” was first employed for punishment.

It may be used to punish boisterous courtiers because it was the most senior member of the Royal Household and was in charge of maintaining order.

The Lord Chamberlain would tap them with the wand to admonish them to act properly.

The Queen herself has several sceptres and rods among the royal jewels, and special rods and staffs have a lengthy history.

Why does the Lord Chamberlain ‘break’ it?

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The Lord Chamberlain, Lord Andrew Parker, symbolically broke the Wand of Office and placed it on Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin at the conclusion of her funeral.

His service to the Queen as ruler came to an end with this.

The last time this custom was followed, which has a long history, was when the Earl of Clarendon broke his staff over George VI’s tomb in 1948.

The Lord Chamberlain, who holds the most senior post in the Royal Household, is in charge of all departments, plans events, and serves as a link between the House of Lords and the monarch.

Prior rights also allowed for the censorship of theatre, but that privilege was abolished in 1968.

The role remained political until 1924 and was initially a component of the Cabinet.

On April 1, 2021, Lord Andrew Parker, Baron Parker of Minsmere, was appointed to the position.

He was MI5’s director general from 2013 to 2020 and a former British intelligence officer.

He was tasked with organising Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’s burial as one of his first tasks as Lord Chamberlain.

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