The Lord Mayor of Oxford said he would “be happy to act as assistant butler to the king if called upon to do so”.

In his speech at the proclamation of King Charles the Third today in Oxford city centre, the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor James Fry, told a story about how, historically, the Lord Mayor of Oxford would be called upon to serve as an assistant butler at a new monarch’s coronation feast.

In an interview with the Oxford Mail in the Town Hall after the event, Mr Fry said: “Originally the butler assistant’s job was to help put on the shoes of the monarch.

“Historically it was quite a serious role, but I doubt now that I’ll be called upon to do any ‘buttling’.

Read more: As it happened: Proclamation of King Charles III in Oxford

“Perhaps I’ll be asked to carry in, or wash cups or something, who knows.”

The honour accorded to the Lord Mayor of Oxford as serving as assistant butler at the coronation feast is thought to date from the end of the tenth century.

The task usually led to a knighthood for the mayor in question.

Only London and Winchester had similar rights – the Lord Mayor of London and the Mayor of Oxford assisted the chief butler, and the Mayor of Winchester assisted the King’s cook.

During the early centuries after the Norman Conquest, nearly all royal administrative offices and certain ecclesiastical positions were hereditary or semi-hereditary, meaning the role was filled by members of the same broader family.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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