Lord Mayor of London

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Lord Mayor Mountevans, 2015

The Lord Mayor of London is the Mayor of the City of London and the Chairman of the City of London Corporation . Its full title is The Right Honorable the Lord Mayor of London . His office is not to be confused with that of the Mayor of London (in the German-speaking area Mayor of London ), who is responsible for the larger area of Greater London , while the area of ​​office of the Lord Mayor extends only to the City of London. There the Lord Mayor is the highest dignitary as head of the City of London Corporation; only the monarch stands over him.

The Lord Mayor is elected every year in late September or early October. One day after taking office, the Lord Mayor's Show is performed, with the Lord Mayor traveling to the City of Westminster to swear allegiance to the monarch in the presence of the chief judges. The office of Lord Mayor is primarily of a ceremonial nature.

The Lord Mayor in the 2019/20 year of office and - due to the Corona crisis - also in 2020/21 is the investment banker William Russell .

Titles and honors

Sir John Stuttard during the Lord Mayor's Show (2006)

In the UK there are 66 cities; 30 of them are led by a Lord Mayor (in Scotland by a Lord Provost ). The Lord Mayor of London is a member of the Privy Council and holds the title The Right Honorable . This right is otherwise only available to the Lord Mayors of Bristol , York , Cardiff and Belfast , as well as the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow . If a woman is the Lord Mayor, she also bears this title. The wife of a Lord Mayor is referred to as Lady Mayoress , there is no corresponding title for the husband of a female Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor is addressed as My Lord Mayor , his wife as My Lady Mayoress .

Since the 16th century it was the custom that the Lord Mayor's office at about knights were beaten and in her resignation the title of baronet received. However, this automatism is no longer used today. The award of the nobility title was abolished in 1964. Since 1993 the Lord Mayors have not been knighted any more. However, it sometimes happens that they are awarded honorary degrees and medals by foreign heads of state .


The Lord Mayor of London in his coronation robe

The office of Lord Mayor was created in 1189, but the name has only been used since 1414. Since 1215 the Lord Mayors are no longer appointed by the monarch, but are elected by representatives of the City of London. The term of office is one year; it is not customary to run for a second term. Almost 700 people have already served as Lord Mayors. The only women elected so far were Dame Mary Donaldson in 1983 and Dame Fiona Woolf in 2013. Only two Lord Mayors were elected four times and only two were elected three times. However, these exceptional cases already occurred in the 14th and early 15th centuries. The last Lord Mayor to be elected for two terms was Robert Fowler in 1883 and 1885.

The vote

The Lord Mayor is elected by the Common Hall , a gathering of representatives of the city's Livery Companies . The Assembly is convened by the Acting Lord Mayor and place on 29 September ( Michaelmas or St. Michael in) Guildhall instead. If this day falls on the weekend, the meeting will take place on the next working day. The election is made by a show of hands. If a member of the electoral assembly wishes a secret election, this will take place two weeks later.

Since 1385 a Lord Mayor must have previously served as sheriff , since 1435 he has to be elected from the ranks of the councilors ( Alderman ) . In 25 constituencies, an Alderman is elected who will hold this office for life (or until his resignation). However, it is customary for Aldermen to run for re-election every six years. A newly elected Lord Mayor does not have to step down as Alderman. The Lord Mayor is sworn in in November. This ceremony is called the Silent Ceremony because no speeches are made other than a brief explanation from the newly elected. In the Guildhall the outgoing Lord Mayor hands over the official insignia to his successor; a seal, a wallet, a sword (Sword of State) and a ceremonial club.

Lord Mayor's Show

The Lord Mayors' Parade of London (1747)

One day after the swearing-in, the Lord Mayor takes part in a parade called Lord Mayor's Show ( Eng. " Lord Mayor's Parade "). This leads from the city to the Royal Courts of Justice in Westminster, where the Lord Mayor swears allegiance to the monarch in the presence of the highest judges. Until the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in Great Britain (1751), the parade took place on October 28th, then on November 9th. Since 1959, the Lord Mayor's Show has taken place on the second Saturday in November.

The route used to be different from year to year because the move passed through the constituency of the new Lord Mayor. However, the route has remained unchanged since 1952. The Lord Mayor once traveled on horseback to Westminster or by boat on the Thames , depending on the route chosen. After Sir Gilbert Heathcote was torn from his horse by a drunken flower girl in 1710, the Lord Mayor has used a state coach ever since. Boats have not been used since 1856. The elaborately decorated and gilded state coach used today was built in 1757 and cost 1,065 pounds and 3 pence at the time, according to today's value around 120,000 pounds or 180,000 euros.

The twelve largest Livery Companies take part in the parade every time. These include the guilds of velvet and silk merchants, grocers, cloth merchants, fish merchants, goldsmiths, tailors, fur merchants, clothes merchants, salt merchants, ironmongers, wine merchants and fabric processors. The smaller guilds have to hope for an invitation. In addition, marching bands and representatives of the army march .

The parade begins at the Guildhall. The Lord Mayor joins the Mansion House , the official residence, at the end of the move. On the way, the Lord Mayor stops at St Paul's Cathedral to receive the Dean's blessing. In the Royal Courts of Justice he swears an oath of allegiance. Upon returning to the Mansion House, he is received by representatives of the City of London Corporation . The parade starts at 11 a.m. and lasts around 2.5 hours. In the evening there is a fireworks display .


The Lord Mayor's duties are mainly ceremonial rather than political. It receives and houses foreign dignitaries. He travels abroad to promote the UK financial sector; usually those countries that are currently holding the EU Presidency. Several times a year the Lord Mayor holds banquets in his residence at which key members of the government give high-profile speeches (so-called mansion house speeches ), including the Prime Minister , the Finance Minister and the Foreign Minister .

The Lord Mayor also performs numerous other functions. He is the Supreme Magistrate of the City of London, Admiral of the Port of London, Chancellor of City University , Commander in Chief of the City Cadets and Reserve Forces, and Trustee of Saint Paul's Cathedral.

Rights and privileges

The Collar of SS was probably once worn by Sir Thomas More (Thomas More)

The Lord Mayor's residence is the Mansion House . Construction was decided after the Great Fire of London in 1666 but did not begin until 1739. Sir Crispin Gascoigne was the first resident in 1752. It is often mistakenly assumed that the Lord Mayor can deny the monarch access to the city. This assumption is based on a misunderstanding of the ceremony that takes place when the monarch is visiting. At Temple Bar , the Lord Mayor presented the monarch with the pearl-studded Sword of State as a sign of loyalty. The monarch is not waiting for permission to enter the city.

The importance of the office is evident in the composition of the Accession Council . This assembly proclaims the accession of the monarch to the throne. The Accession Council includes the Lord Mayor and the Aldermen of the City, high Anglican clergy, members of the House of Lords and the Privy Counselors . At the coronation banquets, which lasted until 1821, the Lord Mayor of London, along with his Oxford counterpart, had the right to assist the royal butler . The Lord Mayor of Winchester assisted the royal cook.

The Lord Mayor is entitled to wear the Collar of Esses . This is a chain of 28 gold S- shaped links (the exact reason for this is unknown). It is believed that the necklace once belonged to Sir Thomas More and was stolen from him before his execution in 1535.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. The Lord Mayor at cityoflondon.gov.uk, accessed April 7, 2020

Web links

Commons : Lord Mayors of London  - Collection of images, videos and audio files