The world came to a standstill last year as millions watched the state funeral for the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Two million people crowded onto the streets of London, protected by thousands of police officers within Scotland Yard’s ‘ring of steel’ as the funeral procession made its way through the capital.
It was a service more impressive than any other Sovereign in living memory, with 2,000 VIPs – including members of European royal families, prime ministers, presidents, war heroes, NHS workers and members of the Armed Forces – in attendance.
However smooth it seemed on the surface, however, it had taken a full two decades worth of planning by one man – the Duke of Norfolk. And that some man is now tasked with planning King Charles III‘s coronation, dubbed Operation Golden Orb, on May 6.
Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, 66, inherited England’s most senior peerage. He became the 18th Duke of Norfolk following the death of his father Miles in 2002
The Duke of Norfolk in his role as Earl Marshal walking in the funeral procession of the late Queen Elizabeth II
The Duke of Norfolk was in charge of organising the Queen’s funeral in September and is now tasked with planning the Coronation
The Duke married Georgina, Duchess of Norfolk in 1987. Their divorce was finalised in August
Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, 66, inherited England’s most senior peerage, becoming the 18th Duke of Norfolk following the death of his father Miles in 2002.
As a result, he also inherits the ancient office of Earl Marshal, making him responsible for overseeing major royal events, a tradition that has been handed down through the family’s generations for 350 years.
The peer’s grandfather, Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, was the 16th Duke of Norfolk and was responsible for organising the late Queen’s coronation in 1953, the state funeral of Winston Churchill in 1965 and the investiture of Charles as the Prince of Wales in 1969.
The Duke of Norfolk shares a common ancestor with King Charles, as both their families are descendants of Elizabeth I. The aristocratic Fitzalan-Howard family also claim they have ties to Edward I and two of Henry VIII’s wives.
Historically, the Duke of Norfolk has always been Catholic, with the current duke being the most senior lay member of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.
As a result, it was a Catholic who oversaw the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey, the committal at Windsor Castle and the Coronation, which is a religious and spiritual occasion.
Eddie, as he is known to friends, was born on December 2 1956 and went on to study at Ampleforth College, a boarding school in York, before later studying at Lincoln College, Oxford.
In his younger days he was a racing driver and a keen skier.
The recently divorced couple have five children together, Henry, Earl of Arundel, Lady Rachel, Lord Thomas and Lady Isabel. Pictured: The Duke and Duchess in 2003
Weeks after revealing the marriage was over, however, the duke had fallen in love with another woman – Francesca Herbert, known as Chica. The two are pictured after exchanging vows
The duke formerly lived in his ancestral seat of Arundel Castle in West Sussex, but today he lives with his new wife in a nearby farmhouse
He has five children, Henry, Earl of Arundel, Lady Rachel, Lord Thomas and Lady Isabel which he had with his now ex-wife, Georgina, Duchess of Norfolk.
The couple, who married in 1987, made their divorce final in August last year, after years of being on-and-off again with his wife.
The couple initially called it quits and separated in 2011, a split so bitter they both failed to attend the Royal Wedding of William and Kate because they could not be in the same room as one another.
By 2016, however, they were back together, just in time for the marriage of their eldest son Henry who will one day become the 19th Duke of Norfolk.
The late Queen, who was a close friend of the Duke and Duchess, was said to have been delighted by their reunion.
But despite their attempts to salvage their marriage, for the sake of their children and their Catholicism, the pair divorced in August.
It was reported at the time that the Queen was saddened that the couple ‘were unable to mend the marriage’.
The Duke told the Mail on Sunday following the split: ‘By God we tried. For the sake of the family, and because we are Catholic, we really, really tried everything. It proved completely impossible, and we had to move on.’
Weeks after revealing the marriage was over, however, the duke had fallen in love with another woman – Francesca, known as Chica, Herbert.
Chicha is the former wife of Harry Herbert, son of the 7th Earl of Carnarvon, who was the Queen’s racing manager and close friend. In November, the pair married at a registry office in West London.
Prior to his second marriage, the duke lived in his ancestral seat of Arundel Castle in West Sussex. But the couple chose to live on a cosier farmhouse nearby instead.
His ex-wife still lives nearby at Angmering Park House and has 100 acres of the estate – just a small part of the 16,000 acres the duke owns across the South Downs.
Eddie is a major landowner, worth more than £100 million after he ran a bottled gas company and joiner business.
Alongside his royal responsibilities, he throws game shoots at his 1,000-year-old ancestral home.
Weeks after the Queen’s funeral took place, the duke was banned from driving for using his phone while driving in Battersea, south-west London on April 7.
He admitted the offence, but his team attempted to avoid the ban due to ‘exceptional hardship’ and claims he needed his licence in order to arrange the King’s upcoming coronation.
A friend of the duke told the Mail on Sunday at the time: ‘Eddie acknowledges that his attempt to avoid a driving ban went haywire and feels very sorry to have displeased the King.
‘Eddie’ Norfolk is a major landowner. He also ran a bottled gas company and a joinery business. Pictured: An aerial view of Arundel Castle
The Duke of Norfolk played a major role at the proclamation of the new King at St James’s Palace following the death of Queen Elizabeth. Here, right, he watches as Queen Camilla signs the Proclamation of Accession
The current Duke of Norfolk’s father greeting the Queen and Prince Philip ahead of the rehearsal for her Coronation ceremony in Westminster in 1953
The duke will be tasked with balancing the historic gravity of the Coronation while keeping the pomp and ceremony in check. This has meant slashing the guest list from the 8,000 guests that attended the Queen’s coronation, pictured above, to a relatively modest 2,000.
Every coronation since 1838 has taken place a year or so following the accession of the monarch. However, Charles’s coronation will be just eight months after his mother’s death
‘He plans to lay low and and just get on with making the nation proud by planning Golden Orb.’
The duke will be tasked with balancing the historic gravity of the Coronation while keeping the pomp and ceremony in check.
This has meant slashing the guest list from the 8,000 guests that attended the Queen’s coronation, to a relatively modest 2,000.
Charles will also not wear the traditional silk stockings and breeches.
‘Though some of the more long-winded elements of the Coronation will be removed or modernised, the King was happy to wear the breeches and stockings,’ a source told The Sun.
‘But in discussion with senior aides they are saying he should not wear them, so will arrive in a military uniform instead.
‘It is largely to do with modernising the Coronation and stripping away the stuffiness.
‘They think having a 74-year-old King arriving in stockings and breeches in 2023 looks too dated. They are probably right.’
There have been some bumps along the road while planning for the big day. British music sensations Adele and Ed Sheeran, have both said they could not perform at the coronation concert.
A source involved with the project told the Mail on Sunday: ‘The King has suggested a number of people he would like to perform, and Adele and Ed were on that list. He was very keen that they were part of the concert.
‘There is a team set up to get the talent signed up but they were unavailable, which was a massive disappointment. They are titans of the showbiz industry and are quintessentially British but also known across the globe. It’s such a shame.’
So far, the line-up included Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Take That.
The duke’s niece Lady Kinvara Balfour told Tatler magazine: ‘In organising the Queen’s funeral (and the coronation to come), Uncle Eddie has done a truly outstanding job.
The Duke’s niece Lady Kinvara Balfour applauded her uncle for his work for the Queen’s funeral
Weeks after the Queen’s funeral took place, the duke was banned from driving for using his phone at the wheel in Battersea. Pictured: The Duke of Norfolk outside the Magistrates’ Court
‘What a show of elegance, efficiency and rare precision he has produced for our nation, and the world – just like the late Queen Elizabeth II herself did. He is an incredible father of five, a grandfather too’.
The duke was in fact the first person to receive a Knighthood from King Charles.
It had been issued quietly to Edward just ten days after he inherited the throne from his mother.
The Knighthood had been decided by the Queen while she was alive and announced her Birthday honours list in June, but no ceremony had taken place, meaning he was not entitled to wear his Royal Victorian Order medal at her funeral.
The Queen and the Duke were good friends, so much so she regularly invited him to shoot in her beloved Scotland with her.
So on the eve of the funeral, the King found a short period of time to issue the insignia and carry out the accolade, known as ‘dubbing’, where he placed a sword on the shoulder of the Duke in recognition of his work as Earl Marshal of the Royal Household.
A source said: ‘The dubbing is what actually makes you a knight. The King had to have given it to him along with a sash for him to be dressed properly at the funeral the following day.’
Another source described the Knighthood as a ‘quickie’ organised to thank the duke for his hard work in the wake of the Queen’s passing. It is thought to have taken place in a back room of Buckingham Palace.
The duke was first involved in the planning for the Queen’s funeral the week of his father’s death 20 years ago, however, plans for the service, codenamed Operation London Bridge, had been underway since the 1960s.
Eddie held annual meetings in the throne room of Buckingham Palace, working alongside Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Mather, a long-serving member of the royal household who commanded the bearer party at Churchill’s funeral, for the first 10 years.
By April last year, the number of people involved in the operation rocketed from 20 to 280.
It is unknown how long planning for the coronation has been underway, but it is taking place in a smaller time frame than the Queen’s coronation.
The Duke of Norfolk, right, meets Charles and Camilla at the State Opening of Parliament, 2015
Every coronation between 1838 and 1953 has had a year gap between the accession of the monarch and the Coronation.
The Queen’s Coronation on June 2, 1953 was held more than a year after the death of her father King George VI who died on February 1952.
King Charles Coronation will take place just eight months after the death of his mother, breaking the tradition of a year-long mourning period.
During the proclamation of the King at St James’s Palace, he also played a major role standing on the balcony overlooking Friary Court as the principal proclamation was read aloud in public by the garter king of arms.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-11889733/Meet-Duke-Norfolk-Coronation-planner-got-haywire-driving-ban.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Meet the Duke of Norfolk – the top Coronation planner who got a ‘haywire’ driving ban