The right to challenge King Charles III’s rule under an old tradition is no more

The right to challenge King Charles III’s rule under an old tradition is no more
The key moments from King Charles's coronation ceremony

If you thought King Charles III sitting on a throne containing the ‘Stone of Destiny’ was the most ridiculous tradition surrounding the coronation of a monarch, then you probably haven’t heard of the bizarre history concerning the King’s “champion”.

All the way back in 1066, following the Battle of Hastings, William the Conquerer took the crown and asked his mate Robert Marmion to act as his champion, a role which would see the holder literally throw down the gauntlet (a glove) during a banquet in Westminster Hall and challenge anyone who denied the monarch’s right to the throne to a duel.

In exchange for carrying out the duties – which also involved riding into the Hall on a horse – and putting himself in danger, Marmion was given land in the Lincolnshire village of Scrivelsby. How sweet.

After the Marmion family died out, it passed over to the Dymokes. According to St Mary’s Church in Dymock and the Museum of London, the whole ‘throwing down the gauntlet’ shebang last happened with the coronation of King George IV in 1821.

Queen Victoria ditched it for her coronation, and made her champion Henry Dymoke a baronet to make up for it.

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When the late Queen’s coronation took place in 1953, the champion was John Dymoke, but he didn’t have to throw down a gauntlet but carry the Royal Standard instead.

With John passing away in 2015, the duty passed on to Francis Dymoke, a farmer and former accountant.

Yes, he's just a farmer.

He again carried the Royal Standard, in another coronation which doesn’t adopt the whole gauntlet-throwing business.

A press release from Buckingham Palace at the end of April read: “Mr Dymoke’s claim to undertake a historic role in the coronation was upheld by the Coronation Claims Office.”

We imagine some republicans won’t be too happy with this route to challenging the monarchy no longer being available…

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