RETIRED solicitor Andrew Coombe has become one of the latest in a long line of High Sheriffs to be literally ‘hand pricked’ by the Queen during an ancient ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The 64-year-old from Sheffield was nominated last November in a ceremony at London’s High Court to take his place in history as the latest incumbent of the oldest secular office in Britain.
Now the nomination has been officially confirmed by the Queen, who used a silver bodkin to ‘prick’ his name on a list of all new High Sheriffs for England and Wales written on parchment.
The High Sheriff will now make a declaration in accordance with the 1887 Sheriffs Act and take office after that.
Legend has it the silver bodkin used to this day to ‘prick’ the names on the list was originally used by Elizabeth I, who was embroidering when she was asked to mark the names on the list.
She couldn’t find a pen so used the bodkin instead.
The ceremony, carried out by the Queen at the Privy Council at Buckingham Palace, dates from the reign of Queen Victoria and is the way monarchs give their Royal seal of approval to incoming High Sheriffs.
n High Sheriffs were originally known as ‘Shire Reeves’ andwere appointed for each county and gave yearly accounts to the reigning monarch of the money they had collected on their behalf.