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Princess Anne attends historic ceremony from middle ages – ‘Never become just a symbol’

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The royal attended the historic Ceremony of the Constable’s Dues event on Monday which featured the ship’s company of HMS Albion. Other notable attendees included Defence Secretary Ben Wallace along with Lord Houghton, Constable of the Tower of London.

The ceremony, dating back to the middle ages, requires ships which pass through London to pay dues, and in most cases ship companies present a barrel of wine.

The ceremony begins with a ship’s captain ordering his men to the outer gate of the Tower.

Upon reaching the tower the captain bestows a barrel of wine to the Beefeaters, who bring the captain and the crew to the Constable of the Tower.

Then the barrel of alcohol is brought to the Queen.

Historic Royal Palaces, a charity which manages a number of royal premises including the Tower, described the event on its website:

“Every ship that came upstream to the City had to moor at Tower Wharf to unload a portion of its cargo for the Constable.

“Still today, whenever a Royal Naval vessel moors on the Wharf, the Captain must present the Constable with a barrel of wine (the ‘Dues’).

“This is ceremoniously escorted into the Tower by the Yeoman Warders and presented to the Constable on Tower Green.

“Other tariff once extracted from Londoners included any horse, oxen, pigs or sheep that fell off London Bridge.

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“The Constable’s Dues has never become just a symbolic ceremony. Once delivered to the Queen’s House the barrel is opened and the wine enjoyed.”

The Royal Family announced that Princess Anne attended the event on their Twitter page.

The tweet wrote: “The Princess Royal has attended the Ceremony of the Constable’s Dues at the @TowerOfLondon.

“When a @RoyalNavy vessel sails through London, it is tradition to present the Constable with a barrel of wine – the “dues”.

“HRH is Sponsor of @hms_albion, who arrived today!”

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