Lord-Lieutenants are Her 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 also in those they choose to undertake.
However certain duties are expected of the Lord-Lieutenant and they are broadly classified as follows.
- Support and promote a wide range of voluntary activity both publicly and behind the scenes.
- Support and promote civic and social activity within the Lieutenancy.
- Support local business, including visits to local businesses.
- Support the Armed Forces, liaise with local units of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force and their associated Cadets Forces; support the Territorial Army.
- Play an active part in the honours system, including increasing public awareness of the honours system, encouraging nominations, helping to assess nominations, and presenting certain honours, medals and awards on behalf of The Queen (such as the Elizabeth Cross, Queen’s Commendations for Bravery, CBEs, OBEs, MBEs, Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service).
- Select, appoint and make appropriate use of a Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenants. Lord-Lieutenants normally retire at 75 although it is possible for them to retire earlier if they so wish.
- Presiding over Citizenship Ceremonies to welcome new UK citizens resident in Northern Ireland.