Tower of London appoints Royal Navy Commander and charity director as new Deputy Governor

Tower of London appoints Royal Navy Commander and charity director as new Deputy Governor

Commander Debra Whittingham takes up the post of Tower of London Deputy Governor following 31 years in the Royal Navy and 5 years working with the Confederation of Service Charities.

Debra, who joined in March 2017, is the first naval officer to take up this historic role. The appointment involves taking on ceremonial duties and wearing the Tower Officer’s full ceremonial uniform, which she will complete with the Royal Naval sword.

As well as taking part in many of the Tower’s ancient ceremonies, such as the Constable’s Dues and royal gun salutes, Debra is responsible for the day to day running of the Tower, managing front of house teams, coordinating events across the site, looking after the Tower community, and deputising for the Governor.

Debra Whittingham, Deputy Governor of the Tower of London, said, “I’m absolutely delighted and thrilled to be taking up this position. It still feels quite surreal, as a young Lieutenant I came here and took part in a naval ceremony and now today, almost thirty years later, I’m standing on the other side representing the Tower. It really is a dream job and I’m very much looking forward to immersing myself in the rich history of such an iconic and historic building.”

When not at the Tower Debra enjoys country life in Berkshire with her two spaniels.

Notes to editors

For media enquiries and images please contact Cat Steventon in the Historic Royal Palaces press office 0203 166 6302.

Debra Whittingham joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1981 as a Radar Operator, before commissioning in 1986 as a Third Officer WRNS into the General Service Branch.  She served a total of 31 years in a variety of appointments including Assistant Naval Liaison Officer (London); Intelligence Officer with the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington DC; Assistant Staff Officer Operations for Flag Officer Sea Training; Company Training Officer at RMAS Sandhurst; Staff Officer for the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Defence Academy UK; Commandant of the Joint Equality and Diversity Training Centre achieving the rank of Commander. 

On retirement from the Royal Navy at the beginning of 2012, she undertook the position of Director of Operations at Cobseo, The Confederation of Service Charities.  Her main responsibilities at Cobseo were to execute the decisions of the Cobseo Executive, whilst managing the day-to-day running of Cobseo to meet the Confederation’s purposes as the overarching organisation for service charities. Debra stood down in February 2017 before joining the Tower of London.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit

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