Earl Marshal

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Earl Marshal (alternatively Marschal or Marischal) is an ancient chivalric title used separately in England and the United Kingdom, and formerly in Ireland and Scotland. The current Earl Marshal is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, who inherited the position in 2002.



The Earl Marshal of England is a hereditary royal officeholder under the sovereign of the United Kingdom. The title was "Marshal" until William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, whose titles of "Earl" and "Marshal," though separate (although he is often referred to now as "Earl Marshal"), made it stand for something. After it came into the family of the Dukes of Norfolk, it evolved into "Earl Marshal". The Earl Marshal is the eighth of the Great Officers of State, with the Lord High Constable above him and only the Lord High Admiral beneath him.

In the Middle Ages, the Earl Marshal and the Lord High Constable were the officers of the king's horses and stables. When chivalry declined in importance, the constable's post declined, and the Earl Marshal became the head of the College of Arms, the body concerned with all matters of genealogy and heraldry, although the Earl Marshal's connection with heraldry came about almost accidentally.[citation needed] In conjunction with the Lord High Constable he had held a court, known as the Court of Chivalry, for the administration of justice in accordance with the law of arms, which was concerned with many subjects relating to military matters, such as ransom, booty and soldiers' wages, and including the misuse of armorial bearings. The Marshal, as eighth Great Officer of State, has to organise coronations and the State Opening of Parliament.

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