Her Majesty the Queen, on the recommendation of the prime minister, appoints a lord-lieutenant for each county in England and Wales and for Greater London. In North Yorkshire, the role is held by Lord Crathorne KCVO.
The fundamental principle concerning the office of lord-lieutenant is that he or she is Her Majesty's representative in his or her county, and consequently it is his or her first and foremost duty to uphold the dignity of the Crown.
As the representative in his or her county, the lord-lieutenant remains non-political, does not hold office in any political party and is unpaid.
North Yorkshire is geographically the largest lieutenancy in England and Lord Crathorne KCVO has undertaken nearly 1,000 official engagements travelling large distances to do so. These include civic functions, presenting awards to organisations such as Queen's Awards for Enterprise, or personal awards such as an MBE when the recipient cannot for some reason attend Buckingham Palace.
Main duties of the lord-lieutenant
The main duties of the lord-lieutenant are:
- To organise royal visits to the county (which average one per month) and to meet and attend Her Majesty and the members of the royal family, and visiting heads of state on visits to the county;
- To advise on honour nominations and submit a limited number of names to Buckingham Palace for attendance at the three annual royal garden parties. Names are normally submitted to the lord-lieutenant via the deputy lieutenants;
- To present awards to organisations such as the Queen's Awards for Enterprise;
- To present awards to individuals such as an MBE (when the recipient cannot for some reason go to Buckingham Palace) and to present bravery awards;
- To act as custos rotulorum - keeper of the commissions of justices of peace. He is the chief magistrate in the county and acts as the chairman of the lord chancellor's magistrates' advisory committee. He also has responsibility for overseeing the appointment of general commissioners of income tax;
- To represent Her Majesty at numerous other events in North Yorkshire; and
- To carry out duties connected with the armed forces and the volunteer reserve forces including the presentation of lord-lieutenant certificate for meritorious service. He also appoints up to three young people from the army, navy and air cadet associations to act as lord-lieutenant's cadets for one year. One of the cadets accompanies the lord-lieutenant on some of his duties.
In addition, the lord-lieutenant is involved with numerous voluntary organisations such as the Scouts, Red Cross and St John Ambulance.
The lord-lieutenant is supported by a number of deputy lieutenants. There are degrees of etiquette and protocol that should be followed for visits by the lord-lieutenant or his representative.