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HMS Albion meets her Royal Sponsor and pays her ‘Dues’

HMS Albion's ship's company marched through the Tower of London for the traditional Ceremony of the Dues, watched on by HRH Princess Anne. Picture: LPhot Lee Blease
14 September 2021
Amphibious assault ship HMS Albion visited the Tower of London to participate in the Ceremony of the Constable of the Dues, watched on by her Royal Sponsor HRH Princess Anne.

Princess Anne, who launched Albion in Barrow 2001, witnessed the ship’s company pay the Constable of Tower of London their ‘Dues’.

The ceremony is a tradition that dates back to the 14th Century when naval ships passing into London were ordered to pay a levy to the Constable of the Tower.

Yesterday, the Royal Navy paid this levy in the form of a ceremonial barrel of wine. The current Constable of the Tower of London, General the Lord Houghton of Richmond, received the ‘Dues’ in exchange for protection from the Tower’s guns. Lord Houghton, the 160th Constable, believes it is a great reminder of the capital’s diverse history.

Before the ceremony started, Princess Anne presented a number Long Service and Good Conduct awards.

Receiving his 2nd Long Service and Good Conduct Clasp, in recognition of 35 years service in the Royal Navy, was Chief Petty Officer David Axford.

CPO Axford, the senior Communications and Information Systems Specialist onboard Albion, said: “It was a massive honour to have met HRH Princess Anne today, in the historic Tower of London. I am delighted to have had the privilege to mark such a major milestone in my career in such a special way."

 
This rare privilege was made even more special as it was witnessed by our Royal Sponsor HRH Princess Anne, and we were delighted to have had the opportunity to host her after the ceremony in such historic surroundings

Captain Simon Kelly, Commanding Officer of HMS Albion

On completion, the Princess Royal observed the ceremony as Albion’s sailors marched through the tower, led by their captain.

They presented their levy on Tower Green to the accompaniment of the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. On completion of the ceremony the barrel of wine was marched into the New Armouries where the ship’s company had the opportunity to meet their Royal Sponsor.   
  
Captain Simon Kelly, Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, said: “I was honoured today to have led Albion’s ship’s company in performing this ancient ritual, paying our ‘Dues’ to the Constables of the Tower of London for our passage along the Thames as we support London’s International Shipping Week.

"This rare privilege was made even more special as it was witnessed by our Royal Sponsor HRH Princess Anne, and we were delighted to have had the opportunity to host her after the ceremony in such historic surroundings.” 


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