Queen picks the first black equerry: Ghanaian-born officer will be the most visible man by Her Majesty’s side as Prince Philip’s retirement looms

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  • Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah set to replace Wing Commander Sam Fletcher
  • Ghanaian-born Afghanistan war veteran is an officer from the Household Cavalry
  • His royal career includes commanding regiment at Wills and Kate’s 2011 wedding

The Queen has picked the first black man to hold the role of equerry, one of the most important positions in the royal household.

Ghanaian-born Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, an Afghanistan war veteran and officer from the Household Cavalry, is thought to be preparing to take over the role from Wing Commander Sam Fletcher later this year.

Twumasi-Ankrah’s royal career so far has included acting as escort commander at the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s wedding in 2011, as well as commanding the Blues and Royals at the Queen’s birthday parade – but his new role will mean he could spend more time at Her Majesty’s side than even her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Since Prince Philip announced that he will be stepping down from public duties this autumn, the new equerry could be the most visible man by the monarch’s side.

Twumasi-Ankrah, 38, told the Sunday Times that as a young child he used to watch the trooping of the colour with fascination.

He said: ‘I would have never imagined that one day I’d command the regiment which I’d fallen in love with.

‘From what I’ve seen in the UK, our cultures really do mix and if I’m not a good example of that I really don’t know what is.’

The paper said the Queen is thought to have picked Twumasi-Ankrah personally from a group of candidates.

The Household Cavalry’s official Twitter page posted today and said: ‘Major T-A is a Regimental legend & couldn’t be a better fit for the Equerry job.’

The role of equerry, which involves personally assisting the Queen in her public duties, has often been associated with scandal.

Equerry to George VI, Peter Townsend, caused drama in royal circles when he and Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, became romantically involved.

The Battle of Britain fighter ace, 16 years Margaret’s senior and a father of two sons from a dissolved marriage, helped her write the emotional statement in which she announced that, ‘mindful of the Church’s teaching’, she would not marry him.

The pair separated because the conservative times meant she could not wed a divorcee.

In another more recent scandal in the role of equerry, Major Simon Robinson resigned from his post in 2010 following the break up of his marriage.

He lost his coveted ‘job for life’ as Crown Equerry amid speculation at the time of an extra-marital affair, which he denied furiously.

Accusations of racism at the Palace

A secretary who claimed she suffered years of racial abuse while working for the Prince of Wales lost her unfair dismissal claim in 2001.

Elizabeth Burgess told a hearing she quit her post at Highgrove, the Prince’s Gloucestershire estate, because she had been racially and sexually discriminated against.

Mrs Burgess, 39, who was Charles’s personal secretary for ten years, said she was subjected to racist jokes and name-calling.

She said: ‘There was always black jokes and names going around because it is the Royal Family and is still very protected.

‘It has its own rules and regulations. It does not live in the outside world. People have been able to get away with all sorts of things.’

But her case was unanimously rejected by the tribunal.

Chairman Olga Harper said Mrs Burgess had been a ‘respected and valued member’ of the Prince’s staff and her resignation followed a misunderstanding, not a plot to oust her.

What does the Queen’s equerry do?

The Queen’s equerry is an officer from one of the armed services, who takes on the role for three years.

The role includes generally assisting Her Majesty in her public duties.

Previous equerries have had responsibilities such as being in charge of the Queen’s treasured horses.

The Queen’s equerry would also be expected to look after the carriages, coaches and Rolls-Royces used at state ceremonies including Trooping the Colour and the State Opening of Parliament.

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