General Sir Richard Dannatt announced as new Constable of the Tower

General Sir Richard Dannatt announced as new Constable of the Tower

The Tower of London from South of the river

5 February 2009

Press release

Number 10 Downing Street confirmed on 3 February that HM the Queen has approved the appointment of the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt GCB CBE MC, as the 159th Constable of the Tower of London, from summer 2009. The Constable is the most senior appointment at the Tower, which is a royal palace and fortress as well as the most visited paid-for heritage attraction in the UK. General Sir Richard will be the Queen’s representative within the Tower of London and its formal custodian. 

Since 1784 the Constable has always been a senior military officer. Today, the role of Constable is conferred upon Field Marshals or retired Generals with distinguished service and is expected to be for a period of five years.

General Sir Richard Dannatt will be installed formally as Constable in a ceremony to be held at the Tower of London in autumn 2009 and will succeed the current incumbent General Sir Roger Wheeler GCB CBE, whose appointment expires on 31 July 2009.  The installation of a new Constable takes place on Tower Green within the Tower, with much pomp and ceremony, and involves the Lord Chamberlain, as the monarch's representative, handing the Tower's golden keys to the Constable, as a symbol of his custodianship. 

General Sir Richard said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the next Constable of Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London, following in the footsteps of some particularly illustrious forebears. It is a considerable honour and I look forward with relish to undertaking the duties and responsibilities of this historic office.”

Charles Mackay, Chairman of the Trustees of Historic Royal Palaces, said: "We are delighted at the announcement of General Sir Richard Dannatt as the 159th Constable of the Tower of London and look forward to welcoming him to the Tower later this year. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank General Sir Roger Wheeler for all his invaluable help, advice and support in his tenure as the 158th Constable of the Tower of London."

Further information

Notes to editors
For further information on the Tower of London or the role of Constable, please contact the Press Office
Tel: 020 3166 6166     
For MoD media enquiries please contact the MoD Press Office on 0207 218 2661.

Generic Historic Royal Palaces images can also be viewed and downloaded immediately and for free by registering on the website

• The Constable of the Tower of acts as a Trustee of both Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that runs the Tower of London and the four other unoccupied palaces, and the Royal Armouries, the guardian of the national collection of arms and armour which has one of its four bases within the Tower.  In addition to formal Trustee meetings, the Constable attends ceremonial and social events at the Tower and chairs bi-annual meetings of the Constable’s Fund and Choral Foundation, non-public charitable trusts.  The Constable is also required to be present when a member of the Royal Family or a Cabinet Minister visits the Tower of London.
• William the Conqueror appointed the first Constable, Geoffrey de Mandeville, in the eleventh century. 
Recent holders of the position are:
General Sir Roger WHEELER  August 2001 – July 2009
Lord INGE  August 1996 – July 2001
Sir John STANIER  August 1990 – July 1996
Sir Roland GIBBS  August 1985 – July 1990
Sir Peter HUNT  June 1980 – July 1985
•  As well as being one of the most honourable positions in the Crown's service, the Constable of the Tower was once one of the most profitable.  Perks of the job included any horses, oxen or pigs and sheep that fell off London Bridge and every ship that came upstream to the city had to moor at Tower Wharf to unload a portion of its cargo for the Constable - these included oysters, mussels, cockles, rushes and wine.  This tradition is still upheld at the Ceremony of the Constable's Dues every year when one large Royal Navy ship that visits the Port of London delivers a barrel of rum to the Constable on Tower Green. 
• General Dannatt was commissioned into the Army in 1971 as a member of the Green Howards. He will be replaced as Chief of the General Staff later this summer by General Sir David Richards KCB CBE DSO, currently Commander in Chief Land Forces.

Historic Royal Palaces
Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We receive no funding from the Government or the Crown, so we depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors. 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. We believe in four principles.  Guardianship: giving these palaces a future as long and valuable as their past. Discovery: encouraging people to make links with their own lives and today’s world.  Showmanship: doing everything with panache. Independence: having our own point of view and finding new ways to do our work. Registered charity number 1068852

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    The Constable
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