Leeds Trinity University Pro-Chancellor Ed Anderson starts a new role as Lord Lieutenant for West Yorkshire today (1 September 2018) – but what does a Lord Lieutenant actually do, and has he ever met The Queen? MA Journalism student Alex Smith found out…
What does a Lord Lieutenant do?
Every county in the country has a Lord Lieutenant, who is the Queen's representative in that county.
They will carry out functions on behalf of the monarchy and can be a whole variety of things; civic ceremonies, Armed Forces Day, Remembrance Sunday and church services, openings of buildings and visits to charities – a whole host of events right across the county.
The Lord Lieutenant is also the host when members of the royal family visit. Here in West Yorkshire we get seven or eight visits a year, and normally it would be the Lord Lieutenant who would meet them when they arrive in the county and escort them to wherever they're going to pay their visit.
What is the difference between your role as a Deputy Lord Lieutenant and your new role as Lord Lieutenant?
The Lord Lieutenant is supported by a Vice Lord Lieutenant, who is the number two, and then in addition to that they're supported by a number of deputies. Here in West Yorkshire we have about 60 deputies, and before my role as Lord Lieutenant I was one of those. West Yorkshire is an enormous county. It covers Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees council areas, which has a population of about two million, and if you think about the number of communities that represents it is a very large number. If it was just up to the Lord Lieutenant they'd be able to cover very little by themselves, so with the help of the deputies they can hopefully make a really big impact across the county. The best illustration of that is Remembrance Sunday. The Lieutenancy manages to cover, in West Yorkshire, over a hundred events between all the deputies. These range from large parades in our major centres to some quite small ceremonies in our villages.
How does it feel to have been named Lord Lieutenant?
When you're appointed as Lord Lieutenant the expectation is you will do it until you're 75. The previous Lord Lieutenant, Dame Ingrid Roscoe, did the job for 14 years. What I'm saying really is this is something that only comes up every so often. It's an enormous honour, and I feel extremely proud that I've been thought of as suitable to take this on. The aim now is to make sure that West Yorkshire is the very best lieutenancy in the country, and that we make the strongest possible impact right across the county and across all communities
How much interaction do you have with the royal family?
The Lord Lieutenant is supported by The Lieutenancy Office, and it is the office which has contact with the office of the Royal Family.
Ideas and suggestions are coming in all the time to The Lieutenancy Office for royal visits. Obviously not all of these can be accommodated, but a careful process goes on to try and put together schedules which are suitable for royal visits. When members of the royal family come they would typically do about three things during the day, sometimes covering both West and North Yorkshire, or maybe West and South Yorkshire for example. So you can see there's a lot of liaising and logistics that goes into it, but the end result is a visit by a member of the royal family which brings a lot of pleasure to members of the public.
How much planning goes into a royal visit?
At our end it's mainly sifting through the various requests and suggestions. Then liaising with the offices of members of the Royal Family, and trying to put together programmes that are attractive, so you can imagine it's a lot of work.
Can we expect a royal visit to Leeds soon?
Well I think there will definitely be a royal visit. I don't know by whom, but I can say with some confidence that there would be one over the course of the next year or so, but I don't know of one currently.
What events have you got planned in the coming months?
Over the next few months we have citizenship ceremonies and a number of other events leading up to Remembrance Sunday in November. I will do two ceremonies for that, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. There are other things too, a lot of meetings and visits which are only coming into the diary now since I was appointed.
As well as your role as Lord Lieutenant, you are also Pro-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity. What does Leeds Trinity mean to you?
Leeds Trinity means an awful lot to me because I was on the Board of Governors for about 11 years, and Chair of Governors on behalf of the Bishop of Leeds for about five years. When I was on the Board, and particularly while I was Chair, we went on this great journey. We moved from Trinity and All Saints College to Leeds Trinity University College and then to Leeds Trinity University, just before I stood down as Chair of Governors.
Then I was very honoured five years ago, when I stood down as the Chair of Governors to be asked to be Pro-Chancellor. I've covered a lot of degree ceremonies over those five years.
The University is very close to my heart and always will be.