Meet Their Majesties' entourage at Charles's first King's Speech

Meet Their Majesties' entourage at Charles's first King's Speech

Half a dozen page boys, a pair of ladies-in-waiting and two VERY dashing equerries… Meet Their Majesties’ full entourage at Charles’s first King’s Speech

  • READ MORE: The King’s protector: Princess Anne carries out her duty as Charles’s ‘bodyguard’ and Gold Stick-in-waiting at the State Opening of Parliament

King Charles and Queen Camilla were flanked by their entourage of page boys and equerries at the State Opening of Parliament yesterday. 

Charles, 74, addressed MPs and peers in the House of Lords this morning in the first King’s Speech for more than 70 years – his first as British monarch.

He was joined by his wife, 76, and his sister Princess Anne, 73, who reprised her role as Gold-Stick-in-Waiting which she performed at the Coronation in May.

Several Pages of Honour who helped arranged the King’s robes as he sat on his throne performed the same role at the Coronation.

Wearing traditional uniforms, schoolboys Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Nicholas Barclay, Ralph Tollemache, and Charles van Cutsem were tasked with the duty

William Keswick and Arthur Elliott, Camilla’s great nephew, also tended to the Queen during yesterday’s event. 

Meanwhile, the King and Queen’s dashing equerries, Major Johnny Thompson and Major Ollie Plunkett, stood guard throughout the illustrious ceremony.

1. Major Johnny Thompson, King’s Equerry 2. Lord True, Lord Privy Seal 3. Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 4. Ralph Tollemache, 5. Charles van Cutsem, 6. Nicholas Barclay, 7. King Charles III, 8. Queen Camilla, 9. Marchioness of Lansdowne, 10. Arthur Elliot, 11. Lady Sarah Keswick, 12. William Keswick, 13. Lord Stirrup, Marshal of the RAF, 14. Major Ollie Plunkett, Queen’s Equerry

King Charles has relied on some of the same Pages of Honour that featured in his Coronation to perform the duties at the State Opening of Parliament (pictured)

In this portrait taken after the Coronation, the King and Queen are joined by (pictured, left to right) Ralph Tollemache, Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Nicholas Barclay, Prince George, the Marchioness of Lansdowne, the Queen’s sister Annabel Elliot, the Queen’s grandson Freddy Parker Bowles, the Queen’s great-nephew Arthur Elliot, and the Queen’s grandsons Gus Lopes and Louis Lopes

MailOnline takes a look at the youngsters picked to be Pages of Honour, the decorated military personnel selected for the prestigious equerry roles, and other figures present as Charles III read his first King’s Speech…

1. Major Jonathan Thompson, the King’s Equerry

Major Jonathan Thompson (pictured), of the 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, first won over admirers at the Queen’s funeral – becoming an unlikely online heartthrob following his appearance

The Army officer, 40, known to friends as ‘Johnny’, was once the Queen’s most senior bodyguard 

Major Jonathan Thompson, of the 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, is the trusted right-hand man of the monarch, and was present for the King’s Speech yesterday.

During the historic Coronation in May, the kilt-clad equerry stood between King Charles and the Pages of Honour.

The Army officer, 40, known to friends as ‘Johnny’, was once the Queen’s most senior bodyguard but now serves His Majesty and has been seen constantly at his side.

What is the role of a monarch’s equerry? 

The King’s equerry is an officer from one of the armed services, who takes on the role for three years.

The role includes generally assisting His Majesty in his public duties and being his ‘eyes and ears’.

Previous equerries have had responsibilities such as being in charge of Queen Elizabeth II’s treasured horses.

The King’s equerry would also be expected to look after the carriages, coaches and Rolls-Royce vehicles used at state ceremonies including Trooping the Colour and the State Opening of Parliament.

But outside of his royal duties, Major Thompson, from Northumberland, is a father-of-one and loving husband to his marketing manager wife Caroline.

He and Caroline, 44, have been happily married since 2010 and welcomed their son in 2018. 

The couple, who currently live in Surrey, has two black Labradors called Odin and Piper – a nod to Major Thompson’s military time in Scotland.

2. Lord True, Lord Privy Seal

Nicholas True, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, had the historic role of presenting the cap of maintenance during the State Opening.

3. Lord Oliver Cholmondeley 

Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, son of David, the Marquess of Cholmondeley, and his former model wife, Rose, was also a Page of Honour. 

Oliver’s father was recently appointed to be the King’s Lord-in-Waiting – a significant royal role in which he will be invited to attend important state and royal occasions. 

In 1974, the Marquess of Cholmondeley, as Earl of Rocksavage, was Page of Honour to the late Queen, before becoming Lord Great Chamberlain from 1990 to 2022.

Meanwhile, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley’s maternal grandmother, the late Lady Elizabeth Lambart, was one of the late Queen’s bridesmaids at her 1947 wedding.

King Charles III’s equerry, Major Johnny Thompson (L) stands with the King’s Pages, Prince George (centre left), Ralph Tollemache (second left), Oliver Cholmondley, and Nicholas Barclay, at Westminster Abbey

The family – which also includes Lord Oliver’s twin brother, Alexander, Earl of Rocksavage, and his younger sister, Lady Iris – live at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, which is just four miles from Anmer Hall, their friends’, the Prince and Princess of Wales’s, country retreat.

4. Ralph Tollemache

Another Page of Honour is Ralph Tollemache, son of British banker and aristocrat The Honourable Edward Tollemache and Sophie Tollemache.

Edward, the heir apparent of the 5th Baron Tollemache, is a godson of the King and was a Page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth. 

Ralph has a brother, Theo James Tollemache, and a sister, Stella Isabel Dinah Tollemache. The family live at Helmingham Hall in Suffolk, which has belonged to the family for 500 years.

Edward and Sophie wed on 3 February 2007 at St Columba’s Church in Knightsbridge. The then Prince of Wales was one of the guests.

Prince George of Wales (in his role as Page of Honour), Page of Honour Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Page of Honour Nicholas Barclay and King Charles III watch an RAF flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the Coronation

5. Charles van Cutsem 

Charles van Cutsem, son of Hugh and Rose van Cutsem, also attended the State Opening of Parliament as a Page of Honour.

His sister, Grace, went viral after stealing the show with her scowl when newly weds, Prince William and Kate, now the Prince and Princess of Wales, shared their first public kiss on the balcony in 2011.

Rose, who has chosen professionally to be known as Rose Astor, told The Times in February 2020: ‘I’m fed up with being associated with the royal family in everything I do. 

‘I have nothing to do with them apart from I married someone who grew up with them.’

Rose, who holds local yoga workshops, said her job is looking after her children. She added: ‘I just want them to be happy, confident and have good manners and a work ethic.’

6. Nicholas Barclay 

Pages of Honour outside the Palace of Westminster for The State Opening of Parliament 

Nicholas Barclay is the grandson of Sarah Troughton (pictured with Camilla), who is one of the Queen’s six companions (a role which replaced the former lady-in-waiting position) and oldest friends

Nicholas Barclay is the grandson of Sarah Troughton, who is one of the Queen’s six companions (a role which replaced the former lady-in-waiting position) and oldest friends.

Sarah, the Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, is a second cousin of King Charles via her maternal grandfather, who was a brother of the Queen Mother, reported Tatler. 

She served as a lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Kent from 1990-2000 and was made a Commander of the Order of St John by the Queen in 2013, before being raised to Dame of the order in 2021.

Nicholas is the only son of Sarah’s daughter Rose (nee Troughton) and solicitor Piers Barclay. Rose is also one of the King’s goddaughters. 

Nicholas is one of Rose and Peter’s three children, along with Beatrice and Aurelia.

7/8. King Charles III and Queen Camilla

The King and Queen during the first King’s Speech of Charles III’s reign on November 7 2023

9. Marchioness of Lansdowne 

The Marchioness of Lansdowne, 69, was another of Camilla’s companions present at Parliament on Wednesday.

Fiona Shelburne – full name Fiona Mary Petty-Fitzmaurice – usually works as an interior designer.

She has long been a friend of the Queen’s and is regularly dubbed a ‘lookalike’ of Her Majesty during her appearances alongside her.

Fiona Petty-Fitzmaurice, Marchioness of Lansdowne took part in the Coronation ceremony alongside the Queen’s sister, Annabel Elliot

She took part in the Coronation ceremony alongside the Queen’s sister, Annabel Elliot.

The pair were striking in matching ivory ensembles, and the Marchioness of Lansdowne, had the honour of lifting the new Queen’s ceremonial robe.

She supported Camilla, giving her refuge during the 1990s when details of her relationship with Charles saw interest in her private life peak. 

10. Arthur Elliot

Camilla’s great-nephew, Arthur Elliot – whose father is former Tory Party chairman Ben Elliot – was one of the Queen’s Pages of Honour.

Arthur Elliot was also a Page of Honour at the monarch’s crowning last summer. 

Arthur’s father is the son of Camilla’s sister, Annabel, who is an interior designer and antiques dealer.

The Queen’s sister has joined her at a number of events, including sitting alongside her in the Royal Box at Wimbledon this summer.

It is perhaps not surprising that the duo are being spotted together more, with Camilla proving to be a pillar of support for the recently widowed Annabel. 

11. Lady Sarah Keswick

Lady Sarah Keswick (pictured sitting next to the Queen in the Royal Box on Centre Court at Wimbledon in 2011 is married to former Arsenal Chairman Chips Keswick

Lady Sarah Keswick is a close friend of the Queen and King’s, along with her husband, Sir John Chippendale ‘Chips’ Lindley Keswick.

From 2013 until his retirement in 2020, 82-year-old Chips was chairman of Arsenal Football Club.

Lady Sarah appears to be a sports fan herself, and was spotted at Wimbledon with Camilla in June 2011.

The pair sat in the royal box to get ready for a day of action on Centre Court, while the late TV legend Bruce Forsyth appeared to join them.

The mother-of-three shares three sons, David, Tobias and Adam, with Chips.

Lady Sarah is the daughter of former Conservative MP and 16th Earl of Dalhousie Simon Ramsay.

During his five years in Parliament from 1945 until 1950, when he assumed the title of Earl of Dalhousie from his late brother, Simon did a stint as Conservative whip.

12. William Keswick 

The Pages of Honour included William Keswick, grandson of Lady Sarah Keswick.

The youngster was stood in front of his grandmother during the ceremony.

13. Lord Stirrup, Marshal of the RAF

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Graham Eric Stirrup, Baron Stirrup, is informally known as Jock Stirrup, was holding the Sword of State at the ceremony. 

14. Major Ollie Plunkett, the Queen’s equerry

The Duke of Gloucester (centre right) arriving for the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in London, joined by Captain Ollie Plunket (left)

Major Ollie Plunket, the equerry to Queen Camilla, was among those present during the pomp and pageantry of the King’s first State Opening of Parliament.

Plunket, who is in his late twenties, was picked by Queen Camilla as her first ever equerry last November.

He is unmarried and an officer in The Rifles, the regiment which Queen Camilla has been colonel-in-chief of since 2020.

Before joining the forces while still in his teens, he embarked on a solo motorbike ride from Argentina to Alaska, covering 24,500 miles and raising more than £100,000 for wounded servicemen.

There were some vivid experiences along the way. ‘He survived a rock fall,’ a friend told The Daily Mail’s Richard Eden.

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