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Fri 07 Oct 2016

General Sir Nicholas Houghton, the ex-Chief of the Defence Staff, was installed as the 160th Constable of the Tower of London in a traditional ceremony at the Tower of London on Wednesday, 5th October 2016. The Installation ceremony took place in front of an invited audience totalling some 600 spectators.

The ceremony saw General Sir Nicholas Houghton being handed the gold master-keys of the Tower by the Lord Chamberlain, The Earl Peel, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen symbolising the Constable‘s responsibility for this royal palace. The Tower’s famous Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) were also on parade in their scarlet and gold State Dress as well as General Sir Houghton’s previous regiment the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.  Other troops on parade included the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, The Honourable Artillery Company, The Band of the Scots Guards and the State Trumpeters of the Life Guards.

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The role of Constable is the most senior appointment at the Tower, acting as the monarch’s representative, and is one of the most ancient offices in England, dating back to within a few years of the Norman Conquest. In the past, this appointment has been held by eminent prelates of the Church, prominent politicians and distinguished soldiers. Today the 5-year appointment is predominately a ceremonial role, but also includes becoming a trustee of both Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for the Tower, and the Royal Armouries.

General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Constable of the Tower of London, said: “Taking up the mantle of the 160th Constable of the Tower of London is an enormous privilege and I'm very mindful of the wonderful diversity of characters that have preceded me in this office and of the enormous responsibilities involved, not least in assisting with the custodianship of this remarkable building which has been at the heart of our nation’s history for almost a thousand years.”

Following the ceremony, Moving Venue by Smart proudly catered for guests at three canape receptions, held in various sections of The Tower of London including the new Armouries and the Yeoman Warder Club. This was followed by a three course dinner in the White Tower, overseen by Simon Packer, Moving Venue’s Head Chef. Guest tucked into an exquisite three course dinner, which consisted of shoulder of Cornish lamb, slow roasted with herb potato galette, ratatouille with Lilliput capers and rosemary and garlic lamb jus. For dessert, guests were served a salted caramel peanut butter slice, with a cocoa nib tuile, frosted nuts and milk ice cream.

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Richard Beggs, Managing Director of Moving Venue said “It is always a great honour for Moving Venue to cater inside the iconic Tower of London, which is steeped in such illustrious history. The 160th Constable installation was a fantastic example of an age old tradition being celebrated in such unique style.”

William the Conqueror was appointed the first Constable, Geoffrey de Mandeville, in the eleventh century. 

Recent holders of the position are:

General the Lord DANNATT        August 2009 – July 2016
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

For more information on the Constable Installation, please visit:


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