The Lieutenancy

The Lieutenancy is composed of men and women who have given significant public service in one form or another. The principal person is the Lord-Lieutenant who is appointed by HM The King and is his representative in the county. The Lord-Lieutenant is supported by a Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenants that she appoints. Please see the links on the right for more information about the Lord-Lieutenant and Vice Lord-Lieutenant.

The primary role of the Lord Lieutenant is to uphold the dignity of the Crown but she also arranges visits of the members of the Royal Family, presents medals and awards on behalf of the Sovereign, participates in civic and voluntary activities, liaises with the Armed Forces and their association of cadets and is the Keeper of the Rolls.

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant assumes responsibility should the Lord-Lieutenant be ill or abroad or otherwise incapacitated.

Deputy Lieutenants

The Lord-Lieutenant may appoint up to 94 Deputies; the figure is calculated on the basis of population. Deputies undertake various tasks, specifically attending all Citizenship Ceremonies throughout the county but also making cheque presentations, giving talks and a plethora of other duties as determined by the Lord-Lieutenant.

Group of pictures of Deputy Lieutenants conducting Lieutenancy duties
Deputy Lieutenants conducting various Lieutenancy duties

The Lord-Lieutenant is currently assisted by over 70 Deputy Lieutenants in fulfilling her task.

Former Deputy Lieutenants

The Greater Manchester Lieutenancy has a number of former Deputy Lieutenants who have either retired or resigned their commission because they have moved out of the area or have been unable to continue with their duties.

All of them remain a valued member of the Lieutenancy family . They have a wealth of knowledge of the County and continue to be an extra set of eyes and ears for the Lord-Lieutenant.


Greater Manchester is one of 48 Ceremonial Counties in England which are areas of England to which Lord-Lieutenants are appointed. It is made up of 10 Metropolitan Districts and Boroughs namely, Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan and has a combined population of 2.8 million people.

County Map
County Map

History of the Lieutenancy

Sir William Downward
Sir William Downward

The Office of Lord-Lieutenant is military in origin and can be said to date from the reign of Henry VIII when its holder was made responsible for the maintenance of order, and for all military measures necessary locally for defence. By 1569 provision was made for the appointment of deputies. In 1757 the militia was reorganised under the Lord-Lieutenant and deputies at a time when the country was feeling the strain of the lengthy wars of that century.

By the Regulation of the Forces Act 1871, the militia was removed from the Lord-Lieutenants’ direct control, but not until 1921, did they finally lose the power to call on all able-bodied men of the county to fight in case of need.

Colonel Sir John Timmins
Colonel Sir John Timmins

From the earliest days Lord-Lieutenants have also been closely associated with the magistracy and until the 19th century they appointed the Clerk of the Peace. She is now appointed Keeper of the Rolls and it is her duty as such to ensure that the correct standard of conduct as Magistrate is observed by all Justices of the Peace.

The Lieutenancy in Greater Manchester came into existence on the 1st April, 1974 with creation of the County and the appointment of Sir William Downward. Sir William remained as Lord-Lieutenant until 1987; he died on New Years Day 2005.

Colonel Sir John Timmins succeeded Sir William and was appointed as Lord-Lieutenant on 10th December, 1987 serving until retirement on 23rd June, 2007.

Sir Warren Smith
Sir Warren Smith

Colonel Sir John Timmins was succeeded by Sir Warren Smith who was appointed on the 24th June, 2007 after serving as a Deputy Lieutenant since 1995. He retired on 4th July 2022.

The current Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs. Diane Hawkins, was appointed on the 4th July, 2022 after serving as a Deputy Lieutenant since 2008 and as High Sheriff during 2021/22.

The Purpose Today

Mrs Diane Hawkins, The Lord-Lieutenant speaking
Mrs Diane Hawkins JP LLB

The fundamental principle concerning the office of Lord-Lieutenant is that she is His Majesty’s representative in her county, and consequently, it is her first and foremost duty to uphold the dignity of the Crown.

It is considered that the Lord-Lieutenant will be following the example of His Majesty The King as she seeks to promote a good atmosphere and spirit of co-operation by the encouragement she gives to voluntary service; benevolent organisations; and by the interest she takes in the commercial and social life of her county.

Her main duties are to:

  • Arrange visits by members of the Royal Family and escort them throughout the visit
  • Represent His Majesty The King and present certain honours, medals and awards and manage invitations to Garden Parties
  • Assess nominations for UK Honours, both individual and for The King’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is for groups, and encourage and assist those making nominations for both
  • Encourage and assist businesses to apply for The King’s Award for Enterprise
  • Liaise with local units of the armed services and uniformed organisations
  • Conduct duties with respect to the local magistracy including acting as Keeper of the Rolls
  • Act as a catalyst and bridge-builder and a focus for key parts of civic life in the county

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant and the Deputy Lieutenants assist the Lord-Lieutenant, as and when called upon to do so, across the full range of her duties (except for Keeper of the Rolls).

How is a Lord-Lieutenant Appointed?

Lord-Lieutenants are His Majesty’s representatives in the county and as such must uphold the dignity of the Crown. Essentially non-political, the Lord-Lieutenant’s role is a varied one in the community of which the ceremonial aspect is only one part. Lord-Lieutenants give their time to the office voluntarily. Aside from royal duties, Lord-Lieutenants generally promote and encourage voluntary and charitable organisations, and take an interest in the business, urban and rural and social life of the county. Lord-Lieutenants have wide discretion in how they carry out the tasks expected of them and in those they choose to undertake.

As a first step of appointing a Lord-lieutenant, a list is prepared of the individuals and bodies whose views should be established. They are then consulted as a key element of the selection process. In England, the process of consultation is carried out by the Head of Honours and Appointments Secretariat in the Cabinet Office. Normally, this individual will write to most of the individuals/groups in the list and spend two or three days in the county having face to face discussions with some individuals who may have particularly relevant knowledge. The results of the consultation are reported to the Prime Minister for consideration. The Prime Minister makes the eventual recommendation to The King.

A protocol for the appointment process can be found at the following link: