Queen Elizabeth has met with the first female to be appointed to the role of Black Rod in the House of Lords.
The 91-year-old monarch met with Sarah Clarke on Tuesday (13.02.18), who has become the first woman to hold the ceremonial position in the 650-year history of the role, as she was officially invested as Lady Usher of the Black Rod in Buckingham Palace.
Sarah has taken over the role from previous Black Rod David Leakey, and was presented with her ebony Black Rod and chain of office during her visit to the Palace, in preparation for being formally introduced into the House of Lords next week.
Black Rod is the senior official in the House of Lords responsible for maintaining order and is sent to bang the door of the House of Commons to summon Mos to hear the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament.
Within her role, Sarah will also act as secretary to the Lord Great Chamberlain, with responsibility for major ceremonial events in the Palace of Westminster.
The Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Fowler, said: "I am very pleased to welcome Sarah Clarke to the role of Black Rod.
"As the first woman to take on the role, this is a historic moment for the House. The Lords has a great record of women taking on senior political roles.
"Five of the last seven Leaders of the Lords and the current Leader of the Opposition have been women as well as both my predecessors as Lord Speaker.
"I am sure Sarah will continue that tradition and do an exemplary job as Black Rod.
"People are most familiar with Black Rod for the part they play at State Opening, but the job is much more than that.
"Some of the most important work happens behind the scenes in organising addresses to Parliament by visiting heads of state and other state events, as well as ensuring we have appropriate plans in place to keep the important work of the Lords going in a crisis."
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