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The King’s Champion, who took historic role at the Coronation, has died

The King’s Champion, Francis Dymoke, has died.

Francis Dymoke, 68, passed away just months after taking a leading and historic role at the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Cailla.

The King’s Champion now carries the Royal Standard into Westminster Abbey and Francis Dymoke proudly carried out that role, following in the foosteps of many ancestors. For this ancient role is hereditary.

For centuries, the King’s Champion challenged anyone who dared to question the right of a newly crowned monarch to rule. But while he no longer takes to horseback to issue a defiant cry to those who would deny the Sovereign’s status, he still plays an important part in the Coronation and the crowning of King Charles III was no different.

Francis Dymoke’s family have held the role of King’s Champion since the Middle Ages. However, before the crowning of King Charles, he had to prove that in the Coronation Court of Claims which he did, successfully. And that meant he walked in the footsteps of his forebears on that historic day, May 6th 2023.

Until the 19th century, The King’s Champion would have been expected to hop on to his trusty steed and canter into Westminster Hall to challenge anyone who disputed the power of the new king or queen. The spectacle took place at the start of the Coronation Banquet. However, the last of those came with the crowning of King George IV in 1821. Since then, the Champion of the King (or Queen) has taken a more low key role in the Coronation. Francis Dymoke strode into the Abbey holding the Royal Standard on his shoulder.

The Dymokes of Scrivelsby in Lincolnshire have held the role of King’s Champion since at least the 14th century. At the Coronation of King Richard II, it was noted that Sir John Dymoke performed the role of Champion. His wife, Margaret Marmion, was descended from a family who had performed the role of Champion for the Dukes of Normandy. The last of the family to ride into the Coronation Banquet was Sir Henry Dymoke who performed the duty in 1821.

The role will now pass to another member of the family. In the meantime, friends and relations of Francis Dymoke mourn him and tributes are being paid. The mayor of Horncastle in Lincolnshire told the BBC that the King’s Champion was ”a welcoming and friendly character.”

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.