Royal Navy leads Lord Mayor show

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines – both regular and reserves – have led from the front in this year’s Lord Mayor of London’s Show.

The Lord Mayor Elect, Peter Estlin, was born into a Royal Navy family, and is a distinguished banker and Alderman for the Ward of Coleman Street in the City of London.

Pageantry was on display to celebrate modern London and the 691st Lord Mayor of London. For more than 800 years the newly elected Lord Mayor of London has been rowing, riding or marching off to the distant village of Westminster to swear loyalty to the Crown and begin his or her year in office.

To mark the Lord Mayor Elect's family connections to the Royal Navy, the City’s Royal Naval Reserve unit, HMS President, was granted not one but two historic honours. Firstly, the professional head of the Naval Service, the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Andrew Jones granted HMS President the unique privilege of leading the Royal Navy contingent and so they led the procession through the City’s streets.

Secondly HMS President exercised 'privileged regiment status' – a civic honour granted in 2016 allowing the ship’s company to march with bayonets fixed.

Lord Mayor Elect Peter Estlin, said: "I am particularly proud to witness London’s Royal Naval Reservists leading the parade with fixed bayonets for the first time, to mark HMS President’s privileged status in the City.

"This wonderfully celebratory and inclusive event attracts a wide range of participants from home and abroad, all of whom clearly derive huge enjoyment from designing their floats, wearing their costumes, and being cheered on by the crowds along the route.

"My mayoral theme for the year, 'Shaping Tomorrow's City Today', will drive home the message that our fast-changing society and access to new technology must be open to all, in particular, the elderly, poor, and disabled, many of whom are at risk of being left behind."

It’s a real honour to get to pull the field gun in the Lord Mayor’s Show – I know the whole team was looking forward to it.

Sub-lieutenant Julian Fairclough RNR

The Commanding Officer of HMS President, Commander Richmal Hardinge VR RNR, said:

"This is an enormous honour for my ship to be asked to lead this year's Lord Mayor's Show. Every man and woman under my command takes their Reservist role very seriously and their professionalism will be on display as they lead the procession through the streets today.

"Many of the ship's company are employed in their civilian work in London and so it is most fitting that it is they who take the lead in a celebration of their newly elected Lord Mayor and their City."

Before the parade the Lord Mayor was invited to partake in a traditional Rum Ceremony Mansion House. The Coopers' Company, makers of wooden casks to store rum and other commodities, became involved in the Lord Mayor's Show in their Quincentenary year and continue to provide the rum today. This year, Master Cooper Anthony Behrens and his Clerk Adrian Carroll raised a tot of rum with Commander Hardinge.

As well as the personnel, a field gun was pulled by serving members of HMS President as part of the procession. Harking back to the Boar War when Ladysmith was besieged in 1899, HMS Terrible and Powerful came to the British Army’s rescue by transporting guns over unforgiving terrain in arduous conditions.

Gun-puller and member of HMS President's ship company, Sub-lieutenant Julian Fairclough RNR, said: "It's a real honour to get to pull the field gun in the Lord Mayor's Show – I know the whole team was looking forward to it. It was hard work but great fun to be part of this important and historic occasion. We're keen to show our commitment to our ship and our City."