Office of Lieutenant Governor
Her Majesty The Queen
For many centuries the Stanley family (the Earls of Derby) were feudal Kings or Lords of Man, but in 1765 the Island was purchased by the British Crown. Her Majesty The Queen is the Head of State and is Lord of Man.
The Isle of Man is an internally self-governing Crown Dependency and the Crown has ultimate responsibility for its good Government.
Her Majesty’s UK Government is responsible for the Island’s defence and international relations but the Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom.
The UK Parliament has paramount power to legislate for the Isle of Man on all matters but it is a long-standing convention that it does not do so on domestic matters without the Island’s consent.
The Lieutenant Governor
The Queen’s Personal Representative on the Isle of Man is formally styled the Lieutenant Governor and is appointed by Warrant of HM The Queen, on the advice of the Secretary of State for Justice.
The term of office of the Lieutenant Governor is at HM The Queen’s pleasure but is normally five years. The Warrant sets out the role in broad terms and speaks of the requirement to promote the Royal Family, HM The Queen as Head of State and the need to promote the happiness of the people.
The present Lieutenant Governor is Sir Richard Gozney. His Excellency was sworn in at a ceremony in Douglas on Friday 27 May 2016. (View his: Biography)
Whilst HM The Queen and the Lieutenant Governor have certain executive functions, it is considered that all material functions are discharged by the Isle of Man Government as the Head of State almost always acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers.
Changes in the role of the Lieutenant Governor were amongst the most significant of the Isle of Man constitutional reforms during the 20th century. This process continues and it is the wish of the Isle of Man Government that the Lieutenant Governor encourages such change, subject to him being the guardian of the affairs of HM The Queen or Crown matters.
Job Specification of the Lieutenant Governor
- To be Her Majesty The Queen’s personal representative and impartial adviser
- To be the personal representative and impartial adviser to Her Majesty The Queen, Lord of Mann
- To represent Her Majesty The Queen on ceremonial occasions
- To host Royal and VIP visits and occasions in conjunction with the Island’s Government
- To play a full and active part in the social and charitable affairs of the Island and assist the Isle of Man Government to promote community activity
- To carry out certain executive functions such as the issuing of passports and control of immigration and the exercising of delegated authority to give Royal Assent to a wide range of primary legislation
- To make recommendations for certain Crown appointments in consultation with the Island or Church authorities, as appropriate
- To make recommendations for official Honours and Awards in consultation with the Islands’ Honours Committee
- To work with the Island’s Government to help promote the Island’s interests on public and social occasions.
The Deputy Governor
The Warrant of appointment of the Lieutenant Governor also appoints the First Deemster (Chief Justice) to act as Deputy Governor or, in the event of his absence or inability to act, the Second Deemster. When acting as Deputy Governor the First Deemster has all the powers of the Lieutenant Governor and these become effective during the absence of the Lieutenant Governor from the Island or in the event of the inability of the Lieutenant Governor to act. A Deemster, when acting as Deputy Governor, is titled His Honour the First (Second) Deemster (Name), Deputy Governor and is referred to as Your Honour.
The Role of the Lieutenant Governor
There are three overlapping roles: Constitutional, Community and Ceremonial
The Lieutenant Governor derives his powers directly from the Crown, from United Kingdom Acts of Parliament in respect of certain specific functions (e.g. Nationality and Immigration); and from Acts of Tynwald or Customary Law. The purpose of the constitutional role is to maintain the legitimacy and continuity of government as this is the foundation of civil peace and order which is maintained by the rule of law.
Both the First Deemster and the Second Deemster are Crown Appointments but save for these the Lieutenant Governor appoints, after independent process, the Island’s Judiciary. HM’s Attorney General is also a Crown Appointment. The Lieutenant Governor also has a role to play with certain Crown Appointments within the Church of England on the Island.
After taking advice, the Lieutenant Governor is responsible for making recommendations, on behalf of Isle of Man residents, for Honours that are announced in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year and Birthday Honours lists. Click on this link for a copy of the Honours Nomination Form.
He also has a responsibility in connection with nominations for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and for The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.
The Lieutenant Governor’s community role is by far the busiest. The Lieutenant Governor and his wife are patrons of many organisations and charities, and give their support and encouragement whenever there is an opportunity. Patronage of the Lieutenant Governor signals that an organisation is worthy of wide support. During most years, there will be many functions to attend all over the Island.
After taking advice the Lieutenant Governor is also responsible for the appointment of the Captain of each of the 17 ancient parishes of the Island. This office, normally for lifetime, was first recorded in 1626 to provide Watch and Ward and originated from Norse times in order to maintain ceaseless vigilance to prevent invasion. Formerly the head of the local militia, these days the post is largely ceremonial and recognition of the primary citizen of the Parish. On appointment a Captain takes the oath of office in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor and will receive their badge of office from him. A Captain is entitled to use the letters ‘CP’ after his or her name.
The Lieutenant Governor sends birthday wishes to all Island residents who celebrate their 90th or 100th birthdays, and letters of congratulation to those couples who celebrate their Golden or Diamond (or longer) Wedding Anniversary. All couples that celebrate a Diamond Wedding Anniversary (or 65th/70th) are invited to Government House for a celebratory tea with the Lieutenant Governor and his wife.
The Lieutenant Governor takes part in public ceremonies as the representative of Her Majesty The Queen. This role includes such duties as Presiding on Tynwald Hill during the Tynwald Ceremony on Tynwald Day (5 July), attending the National Remembrance Sunday Service, holding occasional Honours Investitures and hosting visiting Ambassadors and High Commissioners in conjunction with the Island Authorities. Many of the Lieutenant Governor’s community functions also have a ceremonial dimension, such as attendance at the official openings of buildings, addressing conferences, or the launching special of events and appeals.
Neither The Queen nor the Lieutenant Governor takes an active or initiating role in the executive functions of government. By binding convention, the Head of State almost always acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers.
Government House is the Official Residence of the Lieutenant Governor and his wife. It also provides accommodation for official guests to the Isle of Man and is used extensively for official functions such as lunches, teas, dinners and receptions. The House was originally Bemahague Farm and owned by the Heywood family. The main part was built between 1820 and 1830 with an extension to its present size in 1904 when the Manx Government bought the house. It has eight main bedrooms and two large sitting rooms, service rooms and a wing of offices.
The grounds cover about 12 hectares, some of which is lawn or garden, with much of the rest being grazing land. Exotic species of trees are increasingly being complemented by trees and shrubs native to the Island. Many visitors pass through Government House each year, from foreign Ambassadors, Politicians, to those who live on the Island, both young and old. Functions hosted by the Lieutenant Governor range from formal ceremonies to lunches, receptions or dinners.
The management of the functions of the Lieutenant Governor requires the services of a small dedicated team of administration and house staff. The Private Secretary, House Manager and Social Secretary handle all administrative matters, such as maintaining the Lieutenant Governor’s diary, assisting with correspondence, speeches, arranging the daily programme and handling the protocol associated with all official events. The House Manager and staff look after the house and organisation of each event. There are also a number of Honorary ADCs to assist with public functions.
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