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State & CeremonialThe Queen

History is made as The Queen appoints the first ever female Black Rod

Buckingham has Palace announced that The Queen has appointed a female Black Rod, the first women to hold the position in its 650-year history.

Miss Sarah Clarke will become the Lady Usher of the Black Rod, Secretary to the Lord Chamberlain and Serjeant at Arms of the House of Lords.

Miss Clarke is currently the Championships Director at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. She has previously held roles at four Olympic Games as well as the London Marathon.

Miss Clarke succeeds Lieutenant General David Leakey, who retired from the position after six years in the job.

Black Rod, who is The Queen’s representative in Parliament, is best known for their role during the State Opening of Parliament, where they knock on the door of the House of Commons to summon MPs for the Queen’s Speech.

Black Rod manages toe day to day running of the House of Lords and Parliament’s ceremonial events. The job holder manages a team of 30 staff who deal with an array of tasks from security to media management.

Speaking exclusively to Royal Central earlier this year, outgoing Black Rod, David Leakey, Explained how he was selected for the job.

He said: “A panel went through the CVs and eight candidates were interviewed by a panel of peers. That long list of eight was reduced to a shortlist of two, and we were interviewed by the party political leaders, the convener of the Crossbench Peers and the Lord Speaker. That panel selected somebody, that happened to be me, and made a recommendation to The Queen; it is The Queen who appoints Black Rod.”

This is a breaking news story. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.