The recent ruling against Edward Fitzalan-Howard is going to make it much harder for him to plan King Charles‘s upcoming coronation ceremony.
Fitzalan-Howard, who is also known as the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, plead guilty in a London courtroom on Monday to using his cell phone while driving. ITV News reported that the royal was driving his BMW in the Battersea district in south London this spring when he became distracted by his phone and ran a red light. The use of a handheld cellular device while driving is against the law in the United Kingdom.
When pulled over by the police, the Duke reportedly told officers at the time that he had “not been aware of going through the red light but accepted this was because he was using his mobile phone,” adding that he was using it to speak to his wife. Fitzalan-Howard also apparently tried to make the case that his license shouldn’t be taken away because of that infraction as not being able to drive would cause him “exceptional hardship” due to the fact that he is currently planning King Charles’s upcoming coronation. A date has not yet been announced for that royal ceremony but it is expected to be held next year. The Earl Marshal was also responsible for planning Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral that took place last Monday.
According to the BBC, following the Duke’s statement, the Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court added six points to his license and banned him from driving for the next six months as he already had nine penalty points on his driving license due to previous speeding offenses. He has also been fined around $850 and will have to pay another $425 in additional costs. Magistrate chair Judith Way said in their ruling, “We accept that this a unique case because of the defendant’s role in society and in particular in relation to the King’s coronation. The hardship needs to be exceptional and although we find inconvenience may be caused, we don’t find it exceptional hardship.”
The title of Earl Marshal, the highest-ranking duke in England, has been passed down through Fitzalan-Howard’s family for 350 years. He inherited his dukedom from his father, Miles Fitzalan-Howard, when he died in 2002. This unique role within the royal family comes with the huge responsibility of planning all major ceremonies, including state funerals, coronations, and the state opening of Parliament. The Times previously reported that the Duke of Norfolk had been planning Queen Elizabeth’s funeral for 20 years prior to her passing. He told the outlet, “It’s all pretty scary, but you have to rise to the occasion. I have an incredible team, but the buck stops with me.”
Listen to Vanity Fair’s DYNASTY podcast now.