The London Provincial Prior's Bodyguard

A word from E. Kt. Brian Francois
Commander of the London Provincial Prior’s Bodyguard:

“The London Bodyguard is a Provincial asset and performs many key roles within the Province. Our members are drawn from all Preceptories across the Province and together, we create a unique team of Knights that support our Provincial officers as well as the Preceptories themselves. The close bond of friendship that exists in the Bodyguard continues long after our Knights have received Provincial Rank and are no longer eligible to be active members, with membership to the Bodyguard Preceptory a popular way to continue that fellowship. The time served in the Bodyguard provides an excellent way for you to develop your ritual and confidence, assets which are of great value to the Bodyguard and to your own Preceptory”.

What is our role?

The Bodyguard primarily supports the Provincial Prior and senior officers of the Province at Provincial meetings and during their official visits to the London Preceptories. During these visits, the Bodyguard provides an Arch of Steel for the Provincial visitors and also provides a flexible, experienced resource to assist the Preceptory with the ritual of the meeting, e.g. in forming a Sepulchre Guard or acting as Heralds.

Who can join?

Membership is open to all Knights in the Province who have not yet been appointed to Provincial office or rank, and preferably those who have two or more years before installation as Eminent Preceptors within their Preceptory. Membership automatically ceases when Knights receive Provincial office or rank. Naturally, as a result of promotions or changes to personal circumstances, vacancies occur and there is a continuing requirement to seek suitable members to fill them.

What is my commitment?

Prospective members should, importantly, have the time, commitment and deportment to support the Provincial Prior at the two Provincial meetings in September and January, the Provincial Family Carol Service and to volunteer their services by representing the Province during Preceptory visits six or seven times each year.

How can I get accepted?

Each new member of the Bodyguard serves an initial probationary period which gives the Knight the opportunity to assess whether or not the role is for him, but likewise for the Commander, Deputy Commander and Registrar to assess whether they are suitable and sufficiently committed to be confirmed as full members. New members, once confirmed in the role, receive Certificates presented by the Provincial Prior during the September Provincial meeting. It is at this meeting that the Commander and the Deputy Commander of the Bodyguard are appointed or confirmed by the Provincial Prior. The Registrar of the Bodyguard is appointed by the Commander from among the Bodyguard members. Confirmed members also wear on their Mantles the distinguishing cross of membership of the Provincial Prior’s Bodyguard and are permitted to wear the Bodyguard tie, both deemed by many to be honours in themselves. Individual members can enjoy the close bond of friendship that Bodyguard generates, and they witness and take part in the Temple and Malta ceremonies on a more frequent basis than they would if only attending their own Preceptory or Priory. This assists them to pass through the offices of their own Preceptories which in turn benefit by having more experienced, capable and dedicated officers.

How can I find out more?

If you think that you might fit the criteria we have mentioned or you wish further information, please contact the Bodyguard Registrar or speak with the Commander or Deputy Commander whenever the opportunity arises. Further contact details can be obtained through your Preceptory Registrar or the Provincial Vice Chancellor.

In addition, we have Bodyguard information booklet that is available and this provides more details on the commitment, background information on representing the Province, dining, sword drill as well as protocol for us at Provincial visits. This helps you to be well prepared and you will be kept up to date with meetings, timings and our roles at each meeting as the year progresses.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kt. Vernon King
Registrar to the London Provincial Prior's Bodyguard