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Palaces & BuildingsPrincess Anne and Family

Princess Anne sent to the Tower as her ship sails through London

The Princess Royal attended a historic event at the Tower of London where a barrel of wine was presented to the fortress’ Constable.

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The Princess attended the historic Ceremony of the Constable’s Dues event, which dates back to the middle ages on 13 September. During the event, ships pass through London to pay “dues,” and in most cases, ship companies present a barrel of wine. The Princess, who is the sponsor of the HMS Albion, got to see the Royal Navy crew from the ship present a barrel of wine to the Constable of the Tower – Constable Nicholas Houghton. Other notable attendees included Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Lord Houghton, Constable of the Tower of London.

The ceremony begins with a ship’s captain ordering his men to the outer gate of the tower. Then, as the men reach the captain, they bestow a barrel of wine to the Beefeaters. The Beefeaters then bring the captain and the crew to the Constable of the Tower. After that is done, the barrel of alcohol is brought to The Queen.

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According to Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that manages a number of royal premises, including the tower, the event is described as the following: “Every ship that came upstream to the City had to moor at Tower Wharf to unload a portion of its cargo for the Constable. Still, today, whenever a Royal Naval vessel moors on the Wharf, the Captain must present the Constable with a barrel of wine (the ‘Dues’).

“This is ceremoniously escorted into the Tower by the Yeoman Warders and presented to the Constable on Tower Green. Other tariff once extracted from Londoners included any horse, oxen, pigs or sheep that fell off London Bridge. The Constable’s Dues has never become just a symbolic ceremony. Once delivered to the Queen’s House the barrel is opened and the wine enjoyed.”

The Royal Family announced on Twitter the Princess would attend the event. The ceremony happens once or twice a year depending on when the appropriate opportunity arises.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.