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Herald honoured by his role in Prince Philip’s funeral

Herald who proclaimed Prince Philip’s styles and titles as his coffin was lowered into the royal vault reveals sense of ‘honour’ for being part of a ‘moment of history’

  • Thomas Woodcock, 69, has been Garter Principal King of Arms since 2010 
  • He is the principal member of the royal household and adviser on ceremonies
  • He read out Prince Philip’s long list of titles as he was lowered into the vault  

The herald who proclaimed Prince Philip’s styles and titles as his coffin descended into the royal vault spoke yesterday of the ‘honour’ he felt at being part of a ‘moment of history’.

Thomas Woodcock, 69, has been Garter Principal King of Arms since 2010 and will retire later this year.

As Garter, he is a member of the royal household and the principal adviser to the Queen on ceremonial matters and heraldry.

Thomas Woodcock, 69, has been Garter Principal King of Arms since 2010 and will retire later this year, pictured, read out the list of Prince Philip’s titles and honours 

Mr Woodcock did not take part in the funeral procession on Saturday, but was seated in St George¿s Chapel, Windsor, behind the Archbishop of Canterbury, as he waited to perform his role

Mr Woodcock did not take part in the funeral procession on Saturday, but was seated in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, behind the Archbishop of Canterbury, as he waited to perform his role

He wore his ceremonial dress of a tabard bearing the royal coat of arms, black breeches and stockings, and a black sash, or mourning scarf. He carried a sceptre, a badge of his office

He wore his ceremonial dress of a tabard bearing the royal coat of arms, black breeches and stockings, and a black sash, or mourning scarf. He carried a sceptre, a badge of his office

Mr Woodcock did not take part in the funeral procession on Saturday, but was seated in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, behind the Archbishop of Canterbury, as he waited to perform his role.

He wore his ceremonial dress of a tabard bearing the royal coat of arms, black breeches and stockings, and a black sash, or mourning scarf. He carried a sceptre, a badge of his office.

Prince Philip’s titles 

Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich

Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle

Member of the Order of Merit

Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order upon whom had been conferred the Royal Victorian Chain

Grand Master and Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom

One of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council

Admiral of the Fleet; Field Marshal in the Army; Marshal of the Royal Air Force

Husband of Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second

 

The list of styles and titles included Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich and Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, as well as more familiar ones such as Admiral of the Fleet.

The final one was ‘Husband of Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second…’, whereupon a long list of the Queen’s styles and titles followed.

Yesterday Mr Woodcock told the Daily Mail: ‘The concept of a senior herald proclaiming styles and titles goes back centuries. It was wonderful and an honour to participate in a moment of history.

‘It was a particularly moving service, and I felt in some ways more so than if it had been a huge one. It made it somehow more sombre with everyone [the family] in civilian dress.’

During his research for the funeral, Mr Woodcock referred to Heralds Of England. The book includes an image of the funeral of Princess Charlotte, daughter of future King George IV, at St George’s in 1817, which shows the heralds wearing mourning scarves similar to Mr Woodcock’s.

Since 1843, Garters have attended royal funerals without the other heralds; in the case of the sovereign’s, they all attend. The College of Arms was founded in 1484. The heralds mainly work on granting coats of arms and genealogical research. Mr Woodcock’s duties also include attending the State Opening of Parliament.

The officers are self-employed but are also paid nominal, historical salaries of less than £50 by the Crown.


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