Plymouth based 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) took part in the historic and colourful Ceremony of the Constable’s Dues at the Tower of London on Friday 20 June.
The event can be traced back to the 14th century and is related to the Crown’s authority over the City of London.
This tradition is still upheld today in the Ceremony of the Constable’s Dues. Normally when the Royal Navy berths one of its ships in London, the Captain of that vessel delivers a barrel of port to the Constable as a symbol of these ancient rights.
This honour has been given to 1AGRM who are representing the Corps of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines during their 350th anniversary. The port was delivered to the Tower by landing craft.
Colonel Garth Manger, the Commanding Officer of 1AGRM, led the ancient ritual as 98 Royal Marines and Royal Naval personnel marched to the Tower’s West Gate where they were be challenged for entry to the Tower by the Yeoman Gaoler armed with his infamous axe.
They then marched through the Tower of London to Tower Green, accompanied by Yeoman Warders (commonly known as ‘Beefeaters’) in red and gold State Dress and the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth. Here, they delivered a barrel of port, as the ‘Dues’ to the Tower’s Constable, represented by the Governor of the Tower of London, Richard Harrold, as a symbol of these ancient rights.
Colonel Manger said: “It is a great honour for 1 Assault Group Royal Marines to be the first Royal Marine Unit to conduct the Ceremony of the Dues at the Tower of London, particularly as we commemorate our 350th anniversary.”
Press Release, June 23, 2014; Image: UK Navy