Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah of the British Household Cavalry has been appointed by Queen Elizabeth II to be her equerry, which means that he will soon be seen at Her Majesty’s side during public appearances. The appointment of Major Twumasi-Ankrah comes at a time when Prince Phillip, Her Majesty’s husband, has announced that he will retire from public duties and thus will not be at his wife’s side during her future appearances.
This is the first time an African has been appointed as royal equerry, a post that involves several duties. In the past, equerries were mostly tasked with keeping the horses of the royal family; as time went by, these royal aides became trusted members of the palace and were often selected to be personal attendants of the Crown, attending official events with the monarch.
Major Twumasi-Ankrah was born in Ghana; his family moved to the United Kingdom when he was just three years old. As a child, the 38-year-old British Army major used to be fascinated by the royal equestrian parades performed by the Household Cavalry, which integrates the two most senior regiments in the United Kingdom: the Royal Horse Guards and the First Dragoons. Although the Household Cavalry is mostly tasked with ceremonial and security duties, it is comprised of two active combat arms regiments that carry out traditional military duties. To this effect, Major Twumasi-Ankrah is a decorated soldier who has served in Afghanistan.
Royal equerries are military officers appointed to serve the Crown for three years; Major Twumasi-Ankrah is taking over duties from a Wing Commander of the Royal Air Force. They are selected from the Household Cavalry based on their poise, familiarity with royal pomp and tradition, and for their excellence in service. Major Twumasi-Ankrah is a dashing man who looks very sharp in his cavalry uniform; his poise and expert handling of horses was evident when he commanded his unit on parade during Her Majesty’s birthday celebration in 2011.
The fact that Queen Elizabeth will be accompanied by an African man in her public appearances is a significant event that has drawn many comments on social media in support of the Queen’s decision. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Major Twumasi-Ankrah stated that he believes cultures can mix well in the UK, and that he is an example of that.
As Her Majesty’s equerry, Major Twumasi-Ankrah will accompany the Queen at all official engagements. In the past, the Palace has been considered a place with little diversity; for this reason, the appointment of an African to serve so close to Her Majesty in such an important role is certainly welcome.
Photo Credits: Foreign & Commonwealth Office /Youtube