The Gentleman Usher of the Blue Rod is one of the six officers of the Order of St Michael and St George.
It was established in 1882 as “Officer of Arms” and became an Usher in 1911.
Blue Rod is titled based on the colours of the mantles worn by the Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the Order.
The 47 ½ inch rod he carries is made of ebony and adorned with spherical gold knobs between horizontal fillets.
The incumbent is a senior member of The Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He has ceremonial as well as administrative duties in connection with the Order.
Blue Rod is sixth in order of Precedence following the Registrar among the brother officers.
The Order of St Michael and St George is one of five Orders of Chivalry. The other four are the Orders of the Garter, Thistle, Bath and British Empire.
The current Gentleman Usher of the Blue Rod is Sir Anthony Figgis. From 1991 to 1996, he was Assistant Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and was Her Majesty’s Vice-Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps.
In 1993, Sir Anthony was appointed CMG and in 1996 knighted as a KCVO.
From 2001 to 2008, Sir Antony was Her Majesty’s Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps in the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom.
He was appointed Gentleman Usher of the Blue Rod in 2002.