Royal Navy’s HMS Richmond set to undertake historic ceremony at the Tower of London
HMS Richmond will take part in the ancient ceremony of the Constable’s Dues at the Tower of London on 15 May 2017. This traditional ceremony sees a colourful procession by the ship’s crew, through the infamous fortress, to offer a barrel of fine wine to the Tower’s high ranking officials.
The ceremony dates back to the 14th century and signifies the Crown’s authority over the City of London. Previous kings believed it was their right to take tolls or taxes from passing ships entering London. Each ship had to pay their ‘Dues’ at the Tower in order to proceed. Past offerings have included barrels of rum, wine or even oysters, mussels and cockles.
The ship’s commander and crew will arrive from their mooring at West India Dock to the Tower’s imposing gates where they will be challenged for entry by the Yeoman Gaoler, who will be armed with his famous axe. The shore party will then march through the Tower of London accompanied by a group of Yeoman Warders (commonly known as ‘Beefeaters’) who will be dressed in their finest red and gold State Dress. The Band of HM Royal Marines Lympstone will accompany the party to Tower Green where Commander Antony Crabb, Commanding Officer HMS Richmond will offer up the dues, in the form of a barrel of wine, to The Lieutenant of The Tower, Lt Gen Simon Mayall.
On the day visitors to the Tower of London will be able to enjoy the colour and spectacle of this long-standing ceremony. After the parade, the participants will retire to the Queen's House to sample the contents of the barrel!
HMS Richmond is a Type 23 ‘Duke Class’ frigate launched on 6th April 1993 and commissioned into the Royal Navy in June 1995. She has been on operations around the world and is now focussed on operations within UK and Northern European waters. Most recently HMS Richmond was tasked to escort a Russian task force, which included the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, from the North Sea through the English Channel and has been conducting training exercises with international partners to improve international relations.
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