First Lord Mayor’s Show


First Lord Mayor’s Show

City, London The 28th of October 1215 AD

Though for most onlookers these days the Lord Mayor’s Show is an entertainment, an annual pageant for the amusement of Londoners and visitors to the capital, it still retains an important official element that was the reason for the first Lord Mayor’s Show in 1215. That is for the Lord Mayor – simply the Mayor until 1354 - to be presented to the monarch, or nowadays his or her representatives. Thus it was and is not (just) a show put on by the mayor, but the showing of the mayor.
It was in the reign of King John that the tradition of the show began. The man appointed as the first Mayor of London in 1189, Henry Fitz Alwyn, kept hold of the office until his death in 1213. John granted the City a charter in May 1215 whereby its citizens were given the right to elect the Mayor annually, in return for support for the City in certain domestic political matters. The first mayor presented to the monarch in October 1215 was William Hardell, who went in procession from the City to Westminster to swear the oath of allegiance to the King. Hardell had been a Sherriff of the City of London since 1207, and was one of the enforcers of Magna Carta , the only such figure not to have been a Baron; fittingly given he was one of the first elected officials in our history.

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