THE FIRST BLACK EQUERRY

IN BRI­TISH HIS­TORY

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - THE IN­DE­PEN­DENT

ANEW per­sonal as­sis­tant se­lected by Queen El­iz­a­beth II is to be­come the first black equerry in Bri­tish his­tory.

Ma­jor Nana Kofi Twu­masi-Ankrah, a Ghana­ian­born of­fi­cer who fought in the Afghanistan war, will fill one of the most im­por­tant roles in the royal house­hold, The Times has re­ported.

As an equerry, Twu­masiAnkrah – known as “TA” to his friends – will act as one of the queen’s most-trusted at­ten­dants, as­sist­ing her with of­fi­cial en­gage­ments and wel­com­ing high-pro­file guests to royal res­i­dences.

His­tor­i­cally, the role was cre­ated for some­one to look af­ter the cav­alry’s horses, but in modern times, an equerry is ex­pected to be pub­licly vis­i­ble as an aide at the monarch’s side.

The ap­point­ment is said to be es­pe­cially im­por­tant now that the Duke of Ed­in­burgh is set to re­tire from pub­lic life this year.

Twu­masi-Ankrah, who is 38, moved to the UK from Ghana with his par­ents in 1982.

He stud­ied at Queen Mary Univer­sity in Lon­don and the Royal Military Acad­emy Sand­hurst.

He joined the Blues and Royals to be­come the first black Bri­tish Army of­fi­cer com­mis­sioned into the House­hold Cav­alry and acted as es­cort com­man­der for the wed­ding of the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge in 2011.

In the same year, he com­manded the Blues and Royals tak­ing part in the queen’s birthday parade.

He lives in Lon­don with his wife, Joanna Hanna-Grindall, who works as the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum’s cor­po­rate part­ner­ships man­ager.

Buck­ing­ham Palace has been ac­cused of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion in the past.

In 2001, El­iz­a­beth Burgess, a for­mer per­sonal sec­re­tary to Prince Charles, brought for­ward a claim for con­struc­tive dis­missal, al­leg­ing she had been sub­ject to dis­crim­i­na­tion by other mem­bers of staff.

She told a tri­bunal that Charles’s house­hold at High­grove es­tate, in Glouces­ter­shire, “wanted a white face”, adding: “There were al­ways black jokes and names go­ing around, be­cause it is the royal fam­ily and it is still very pro­tected.”

The claims were dis­missed by the prince’s so­lic­i­tor as “out­ra­geous” and Burgess lost her claim.

Staff pol­icy pub­lished by Buck­ing­ham Palace states: “The house­hold aims to em­ploy the best peo­ple from the widest avail­able pool of tal­ent… ir­re­spec­tive of gen­der, race, eth­nic or na­tional ori­gin.”

Speak­ing on film for a doc­u­men­tary about Bri­tain’s open and demo­cratic so­ci­ety, Twu­masi-Ankrah said: “As a young child, watch­ing her majesty the queen’s birthday parade on tele­vi­sion, I would never have imag­ined that one day I’d com­mand the reg­i­ment which I’d fallen in love with.”

He added: “From where I sit and from what I’ve seen in the UK, our cul­tures re­ally do mix and in­ter­min­gle, and if I’m not a good ex­am­ple of that, I re­ally don’t know what is.”

Twu­masi-Ankrah is in a tran­si­tion phase with equerry Wing Com­man­der Sam Fletcher and will take over fully by the end of the year.

An ex­am­ple of in­ter­min­gling cul­tures

PIC­TURE: FACE­BOOK

DEC­O­RATED OF­FI­CER: Ma­jor Nana Kofi Twu­masi-Ankrah is the first ever black per­sonal as­sis­tant to the Bri­tish throne. He will as­sist Queen El­iz­a­beth with en­gage­ments and wel­com­ing high-pro­file guests to the royal res­i­dences.

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