Rupert Carrington, the 7th Baron Carrington, is the Lord Great Chamberlain

Is nothing sacred? Swathes of aristocrats might be axed from the king’s coronation on 6 May. The traditional and ceremonial roles under consideration for the day largely involve the bearing of specific items such as the Orb, the Sceptre or a white wand.

Edward Stanley, the 19th Earl of Derby, has a long family history of ­performing these historical ceremonial roles for the monarch’s coronation.

His family still has the right to give the king a pair of falcons because of their one-time position as lords of the Isle of Man. He told The Times newspaper, “The family has over the centuries been involved in all sorts of ways. But right now none of us has got a clue as to what is going on.”

Another aristocrat says he is mystified about what’s happening. Rupert Carrington, the 7th Baron Carrington, is the Lord Great Chamberlain, a peer who traditionally plays a major role in coronation ceremonies. “You can look up what Lord Great Chamberlains did in the past—dressing and undressing the king, and anointing him and so on—but this coronation is going to be different,” Carrington told The Times newspaper.

“The only piece of information I have is that I have to be there at 9:30am on the morning of the coronation.

“And there is a chart that shows me in a procession.” Carrington is one of over 200 aristocrats and others who believe they have a hereditary right to play a role at the coronation, and who have applied to play a role.

The Coronations Claims Office was created last month to enable people whose ancestors may have played a role at a previous coronation to put forward their case. The ceremony itself will not be a ­cut-price affair, with the king keen to use the event to showcase “UK plc” with a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of “glorious” pomp and pageantry.

However, Carrington, a 74-year-old banker, quipped, “A vast amount is going to be cut out of the coronation—but what I hope they don’t cut out is my ‘fee’.”

He revealed that in the past, the Lord Great Chamberlain was able to charge a fee for his services, which was taken to be a length or quite a few lengths of crimson velvet. This was presumably so “he could get his costume made properly”, Carrington added.

Illegal sewage dumper advises on dumping

Ministers are taking high-level environmental advice from a business leader whose firm was fined millions for pumping raw sewage into British waters. The Council for Sustainable Business, which advises the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on water, waste, and biodiversity, is chaired by Liv Garfield, the chief exec of Severn Trent Water.

Garfield grabs close to £4 million a year as the highest paid boss in the sector and is also a non-executive director of trade association Water UK. She received a CBE for services to the water industry in 2020. But in 2021, while she chaired Defra’s sustainability council, her firm faced a £1.5 million fine for illegally discharging 360,000 litres of raw sewage from four sewage treatment plants in Worcestershire.

It also lost more than 400 million litres of drinking water every day in the 2020-21 financial year due to leaking pipes, and was fined a further £500,000 in 2019 for flooding a park in Birmingham with human waste.

The Council’s members also include a scrap metal boss whose company was convicted of illegal dumping, and the CEO of Heathrow Airport. An investigation found Garfield has had high-level access to policymakers while Defra reformed its policy on water companies. In the ten months before the 2021 Environment Act was signed into law, official documents show her council met ministers at least ten times.

Campaigners subsequently criticised the act for weakening targets on sewage dumping.

Some realism about inflation. The price of pasta has nearly doubled in two years, new research for the BBC suggests. A standard 500g bag of pasta was 50p two years ago—now it’s 95p. The BBC has been tracking the cost of a small basket of 15 everyday essentials. The total has gone up by £5.34—from £15.79 in 2021 to £21.13 in 2023. Official figures suggest overall the CPI rate of inflation may have peaked. But the rate of food price rises is still running at 16.7 percent.

The Home Office has paid asylum seekers £1 an hour to carry out more than a million hours of work in the past five years. Detainees’ roles vary, but they include cleaners, welfare buddies, kitchen assistants, barbers, laundry orderlies, painters, gym orderlies and shop assistants. The authorities have not raised the wages in 15 years.

Cop used warrant card in rape case

A Metropolitan Police officer from Surrey allegedly raped a woman, having flashed his warrant card at her in a nightclub, a court has heard. Stephen Kyere, from Ashford, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of having sex with the woman without her consent after going back to her home after a night out in April 2004.

The case was reopened after the alleged victim wrote to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in 2018 about the “injustice” she still felt years after the case was closed. The defendant, who is now retired from the Metropolitan Police, was charged with rape and indecent assault.

A jury in Edinburgh last week cleared police officer Martyn Coulter of raping a woman and a six-year-old girl after doubts emerged about the dates of the alleged attacks.

Bankers and energy companies cash in   

Banking giant HSBC said last week its quarterly profit had almost doubled, boosted by rising interest rates around the world.

The London-based firm reported profit before tax of £4.3 billion for the last three months of 2022, up more than 90 percent from the same time a year earlier.

“2022 was another good year for HSBC,” chief executive Noel Quinn said. “We are on track to deliver higher returns in 2023,” he added. In November, HSBC said it planned to close 114 more branches in Britain. The bank said around 100 people would be laid off. Last week Quinn hinted at more job cuts ahead.

Meanwhile multinational energy giant EDF’s British arm grabbed a profit £1.12 billion in  2022. It was boosted by being able to sell the electricity it generated for a higher price. EDF supplies gas and electricity to about 5 million households, who have seen their bills double.

Things they say

‘The last Scottish female public figure to be treated so badly for her religion was Mary, Queen of Scots, who was eventually beheaded by her cousin Elizabeth for her Catholicism’

Tory Toff Jacob Rees-Mogg supports SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes

‘There is an honest difference of opinion on how best the Ukrainian people can protect themselves until peace is secured’

Labour MP and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell tries to explain why Jeremy Corbyn is wrong and the left should back Nato arms supplies 

‘The Covid-19 pandemic most likely arose from a laboratory leak’

Without any new evidence, the US department of energy returns to a discredited theory to increase pressure on China

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