46 The Lord Mayor's Banquet at Guildhall

Monday 10th November 2014

The Lord Mayor's Banquet is the most glittering event in the Civic year, hosted by the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs.

Members of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee had ceremonial duties and I had the honour of receiving, on behalf of the Lord Mayor, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Mrs Welby when they arrived at Guildhall. As we were about to enter the receiving room, the Archbishop was asked for his tickets, which of course he had not been sent. I explained who they were asking and mercifully we proceeded on our way. It was amusing looking back, but at the time it was not, although the Archbishop immediately saw the funny side!

Trumpeters from the Household Cavalry, four at each end, played various fanfares which echoed around the Hall, magnificant with huge flower arrangements and candles on the numberous tables set for the seven hundred guests. The food and drink were excellent and the company great fun.

The main guest was the Late Lord Mayor, Alderman Fiona Wolfe. The other speakers were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor and the Prime Minister, who, by tradition, gives a keynote speech on foreign affairs. The toasts and some of the speeches were moved at the last minute to the begnning of the evening as the Prime Minster and the Lord Chancellor had to leave for votes in the House of Commons. Fortunately, the Lord Chancellor returned to make his speech later in the evening.

An amazing evening which I shall never forget.