What does one wear when one visits the Lord Lieutenant, the Queens representative in Surrey? I selected my charity shop coat of course. Amongst his many charitable roles, Michael More-Molyneux is a major supporter of Shooting Star Chase (yes, that is where said coat was purchased!), having been involved in it since its foundation. It did not seem unfitting therefore, even if I was meeting at the family home of Loseley Park.
Michael took over as Lord Lieutenant of Surrey 6 months ago. It is a position which offers a tenure until the age of 75, so he is looking at a stint of another 11 years, bound to be interesting ones.
The role of Lord Lieutenant is to act as the conduit between the public and the monarchy, attending events with members of the royal family, or representing them. Michael talked of the feeling of excitement, pride and expectancy that a royal visit prompts. Our royals, he told me, have a kind word for everyone. They are inclusive and have the common touch. That excitement is something that transcends culture and faith. Everyone seems to be touched with a royal visit and we are lucky that our royals are so willing to spend time with the common people.
The role of Lord Lieutenant covers other areas other than royal visits. As the Queens representative, it will cover the Law, with operations within the Magistrates and Crown Courts. We have three magistrates courts in Surrey. It also covers the Military. Surrey has a very active military sector, from the regular army to cadets. Prince William recently made a visit to present medals to those who had been working in Ebola zones. The stories that Michael is privy to during this type of visits are immensely humbling, he tells me. For these brave souls, they are just doing a job. Recognition of their sacrifices by the royal family is therefore hugely appreciated.
The Lord Lieutenant also has 40 deputies who offer specialist experience, seven from the Military.
Awards also come under the remit of Lord Lieutenant. The Queens Award for Voluntary Service, recognising good causes and unsung heroes. Also the Queens Award for Enterprise, the highest accolade for business success. Such awards are an opportunity to “encourage all that is good in Surrey”, says Michael. There are many Surrey businesses which most of us are not aware of but which are making a huge contribution to the global economy. For the past 5 years Surrey has had up to 5 winners out of around 150 across the UK, showing that Surrey is a great place to do business.
Asked if he likes his job Michael didn’t need to give it any thought. “Do I enjoy it? No, I love it!” His son is taking over the day to day running of the family business at Loseley Park so Michael can throw himself into his official role. It is bound to keep him very busy indeed.