Who is the Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry?

Alison Millar

Mrs Alison Millar was appointed as Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 on the 17th May 2018 succeeding Sir Denis Desmond KCVO CBE when he retired in early May 2018 after 18 years of service in the role.  Alison had been one of his Deputy Lieutenants since 2009.

Alison has lived and worked in the Coleraine area for over 50 years.  She was born in Banbridge and as her father worked in the Post Office administration it meant moving towns four times throughout the Province before she was 10 years old.  During that time she attended 5 different schools – the final one being Omagh Academy where she spent her most formative years.  This early history gave her an independent approach to life.


She studied Law at Queens in Belfast, graduating in 1974.  She gained a reputation in local Government and Commercial Law with the family firm of Solicitors Macaulay Wray in Coleraine (formerly Wray & Baxter).  For some years she was a member of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Law Society of Northern Ireland. She retired out of practice in 2017. She carried out part time judicial work for over 39 years and retired from that work in 2020. She farms with her husband near Aghadowey.


Over the years she has worked with and supported organisations in education and local Government, not least as a special legal advisor in the governance of the now University of Ulster during the 1980’s and early 1990’s and the former Coleraine Borough Council from 1978 to 2015.  She was much involved in charity fundraising in the areas of education, health and sport. She is a member of the Ladies Branch of Royal Portrush Golf Club. She is also involved in the regulation of Horse Racing and Point to Pointing in Ireland. Her knowledge of the County is considerable.


Her Late Majesty , Queen Elizabeth II approved the appointment and Honorary Commission of Mrs Millar as Honorary Colonel 152 (North Irish) Regiment the Royal Logistic Corps from 1st July 2021 to 1st July 2024.

Who is the Vice Lord-Lieutenant?

The Lord-Lieutenant appoints a Deputy Lieutenant to be his or her Vice Lord-Lieutenant. They remain in office following the demise or retirement of the Lord-Lieutenant and until a new Lord-Lieutenant is appointed. The position of Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry is currently held by Professor Gerry McKenna DL, MRIA.
Professor McKenna is a past Senior Vice President of the Royal Irish Academy and Vice Chancellor Emeritus and President of the University of Ulster. He is a Board member and chair of the Finance Committee of the Order of Mary Servite Trust and chair of Benburb Priory Library and Museum.

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant stands in the place of the Lord-Lieutenant as Her Majesty’s representative when the Lord-Lieutenant is absent, sick or otherwise unable to act.

How is the administration of the Lieutenancy managed?

There is a Clerk’s Office. 

It provides administrative support to the Lord-Lieutenant and offers assistance with the organisation of and protocol for Royal visits, the nomination procedures for National Honours, Royal Garden Parties, anniversary messages from His Majesty, ceremonial and special events.

For enquiries concerning the Lieutenancy, please contact:

Gillian Baird

What is the Role of a Deputy Lieutenant and Who are they?

The Lord-Lieutenant is required to appoint a number of Deputy Lieutenants from across the County to assist her in the exercise of her duties. Their appointment is made at the discretion of the Lord-Lieutenant subject only to His Majesty not disapproving the granting of the Commission. Deputy Lieutenants are chosen for the contribution they make to the County through their work, charitable or voluntary activities.

There are presently fifteen Deputy Lieutenants for Co. Londonderry in addition to the Vice Lord-Lieutenant:

    • Mr Richard Archibald DL
    • Mr David Cunningham DL
    • Dr Gerard Daly OBE DL
    • Mr Alastair M L Davidson DL
    • Lady Girvan (Karen Elizabeth) MBE DL
    • Mrs Leona Kane DL
    • Mrs Helen Mark DL
    • Ms Paula McIntyre MBE DL
    • Mr W Robert L Moore DL
    • Mr William Oliver MBE, DL
    • Mrs D Alyson Scott DL
    • Mr Peter Sheridan CBE DL BSc MS
    • Mr Ross Wilson BEM DL
    • Mrs Lorraine Young DL JP

The normal retirement age is seventy-five.

What etiquette is involved when meeting and addressing the Lord-Lieutenant or her Deputies?

Mrs Millar has chosen not to wear a Uniform. She wears a Badge, which is shown on the Home page and her Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenants wear the Deputy Badge.

There is a degree of protocol when the Lord-Lieutenant attends an Event or Service. The purpose of the protocol is not to add unnecessary formality but to reduce confusion and ensure that people feel comfortable. The Lord-Lieutenant represents His Majesty The King. When the Lord-Lieutenant is attending an event in her official capacity in her own County, she should be received with the same degree of etiquette and protocol as any member of the Royal Family. Where the Lord-Lieutenant is unable to attend and she is represented by her Vice Lord-Lieutenant or a Deputy Lieutenant, the same etiquette and protocol should be followed. The Lord-Lieutenant or her deputy should be met on arrival by the host.

The correct form of address is as follows:

Written: [Name], His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of [Lieutenancy]

Salutation: Dear Lord-Lieutenant,

In a Speech: In the preamble the Lord-Lieutenant should be referred to as “Lord-Lieutenant”. A speech might begin “Lord-Lieutenant, Ladies and Gentlemen…”

Conversation: [Name] should be initially addressed as “Lord-Lieutenant” and thereafter as “[Name]/[Maam]”

If the Lord-Lieutenant is represented by her Vice Lord-Lieutenant or a Deputy Lieutenant, the above etiquette should be adapted accordingly i.e. ‘Dear Vice Lord-Lieutenant’, ‘Dear Deputy Lieutenant’. A speech might begin “Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Ladies and Gentlemen…” or “Deputy Lieutenant…”

Church Services and Seating

At funerals, the Lord-Lieutenant or her representative (unless attending in personal rather than official capacity) always enters the church last (two minutes before the start of the service and before the coffin), and always leaves straight after the family. For other church services, the Lord-Lieutenant or her representative enters last and leaves first. The usual arrangement is for the Lord-Lieutenant to be seated at the front of the nave on the south side. For funerals the family is on the south side, the Lord-Lieutenant sits on the north side at the front and on the aisle edge.

Seating in general

At other functions, the Lord-Lieutenant should be seated in the same place you would seat a member of the Royal Family: simply as the principal guest. Other issues relating to protocol and precedence can be clarified in consultation with the Lord-Lieutenant.

There is also an Order of Precedence as follows:

1. The Lord-Lieutenant of the County Mrs Millar and her husband Mr Alan Millar

2. The High Sheriff of the County

3. The elected Mayor

4. The Deputy Mayor

5. Aldermen

6. Councillors

7. Justices of the Peace (where appropriate)

8. Chief Executive of the Council

9. The Chief Constable

How Can We Help?

  • Arranging for the Lord-Lieutenant or one of the Deputy Lieutenants (DLs) to visit your organisations as a means of acknowledging the work being done.
  • Following a visit by the Lord-Lieutenant or a DL, suggesting how the organisations might be included in the programme of a member of the Royal Family visiting County Londonderry.
  • Advising on procedures and nominations for the King’s Award for Voluntary Service, the King’s Award for Enterprise and the Elizabeth Cross.
  • Giving advice on how any member of the public can nominate a friends or colleague for a National Honour; offering advice on the completion of the forms and supporting the Honours nomination when referred back to the Lord-Lieutenant for comment.
  • Celebrating and encouraging volunteering and community service.
  • Accepting suggestions (by early January each year) for the attendance of Royal Garden Parties of individuals deserving recognition.

If you think we can assist, please contact us. If we cannot help you, we may know someone who can.

Contact us at clerk@lord-lieutenantoflondonderry.com


For many people, receiving a congratulatory card from His Majesty The King to mark a significant birthday or wedding anniversary is a very special part of their celebrations.

His Majesty will send a message of congratulations to an individual to celebrate their 100th and 105th birthdays and every year thereafter.

An application form for a birthday or anniversary message is available to download from the Royal website.   Please note that the date of a wedding anniversary must be notified to His Majesty The King to ensure a message is sent.  If assistance is required, please contact the Clerk to the Lieutenancy to ensure a message is received

What is a Citizenship Ceremony?

In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland the Home Office is responsible for granting British Citizenship and it does so only after the applicant satisfies a rigorous procedure. The last step in that procedure is the making of the Oath to the Sovereign and the Pledge of Citizenship. That Oath and Pledge is taken by the successful applicant either at Hillsborough Castle or at at Lagan Valley Island, The Head Offices of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, County Down. The ceremony will be conducted either by a Lord-Lieutenant or a nominated Deputy under authority from the Secretary of State for the Home Office.

Before receiving the Certificate of Citizenship the Applicant will be invited to swear the Oath (or an Affirmation) and make the Pledge and only then are they presented with their Certificate of Citizenship. Until the Oath and Pledge are made Citizenship cannot be awarded.

New citizens are encouraged to bring their family or a close friend to witness the ceremony.

While the granting of citizenship is the responsibility of the Home Office, the presence of a Lord-Lieutenant or a Deputy Lieutenant, as His Majesty’s representative, demonstrates the importance of the role of the Monarchy in welcoming the new British Citizens to our community.

What are Honours and How Do I Nominate Someone?

The Order of the British Empire was instituted by King George V on 4 June 1917 and is conferred for important services rendered to the Crown.  The Order consists of the Sovereign, the Grand Master Queen Camilla and six classes as listed below. In 1918 the Order was divided into military and civil divisions.

  • GBE (Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire)
  • KBE (Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
  • DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
  • CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
  • OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire)
  • MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire)
  • BEM (Medallist of the Order of the British Empire)

The BEM medal was founded in 1917 and was awarded for “meritorious” actions by civilians or military personnel, although the recipients did not attend a Royal Investiture.
It was suspended in 1993 but in 2012, to coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced its revival and about 300 are awarded annually to community volunteers.

The Lieutenancy will assist any member of the public who wishes to make any meritorious nomination.


For further information and guidance, go to:

The Royal Website

King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS). How do I nominate?

The King’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises exceptional work carried out by any voluntary organisation working in the community.  Any such organisation is eligible to be nominated but must demonstrate a very meaningful degree of success and certain other criteria.

Recipients of the KAVS in County Londonderry over the last few years:

Bann Rowing Club

Eglinton Community Centre

Garvagh Clydesdale & Vintage Vehicle Club

Maghera Cross Community Link

International North West 200, Coleraine

Assistant Dogs NI, Limavady

Vineyard Compassion, Coleraine

Learmount Development Group at Park, near Claudy

Building Ballysally Together at Ballysally, Coleraine

Burnfoot Community Group, Dungiven

Riding for the Disabled at Castleroe, Coleraine


Nominating an organisation

The procedure is similar to that for a personal nomination for National Honours. For further information and guidance, go to:


The nomination period runs from September to the end of November.

King’s Award for Enterprise. How does a business nominate?

There are four King’s Awards for Enterprise for organisations.

The King’s Awards for Enterprise are awards for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of:

  • innovation – for commercial success as a result of innovation
  • international trade – for growth and commercial success in international trade
  • sustainable development – for commercially successful products, services and management that benefit the environment, society and the economy
  • promoting opportunity through social mobility

These awards are valid for 5 years.

Organisations nominate themselves.


For further information visit:


The nomination period runs from the start of September to the end of November..

His Majesty The King makes the awards annually and they reflect the highest levels of excellence.  The Enterprise Award is recognised worldwide and the winners receive a number of associated benefits internationally as a result.


Recent recipients of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in County Londonderry:

Henry Brothers Ltd, Magherafelt

ATG Services (Ireland) Ltd

Armstrong Medical, Ltd. at Coleraine

Nicobrand, Ltd. at Castleroe, Coleraine

Cunningham Covers Ltd. at Maghera

The Workspace Group at Draperstown

Mrs Jayne Taggart for Enterprise Promotion, Causeway Enterprise Agency

What is the Elizabeth Cross?

The Elizabeth Cross is a posthumous award granted by the Crown, together with a Memorial Scroll, to the next of kin of service personnel who die on operations or as a result of terrorism.  It was the wish of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second that the Cross be presented to the next of kin by either the Lord-Lieutenant, a senior member of the Armed Forces or as the family desires.


This new award was first created in 2009 and is not just granted to families who have lost loved ones in recent conflicts in Afghanistan or Iraq but is available to the families of those who died in conflicts dating back to 1948 including the Korean War, the Falklands and Northern Ireland.  232 Cross and Memorial Scrolls have been issued to families of UDR CGC personnel whose deaths were officially attributed to their military service.

What is the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association Northern Ireland (RFCA NI)?

RFCA NI has close links with the 8 Lord-Lieutenants in Northern Ireland and one of their members serves as President, currently Viscount Brookeborough, Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, and the other 7 act as Vice-Presidents.

RFCA NI is required to draw its governing membership from local individuals who are qualified to act e.g., serving and retired Officers from the 3 Services (Army, Navy and Air Force), Councillors, local employees and employers, members of the Education Authority, civilians with an interest in the Reserves and Cadets etc. The common denominator is that they are all stakeholders within the reserve, cadet and veterans communities. In other words RFCA NI is an independent organisation rooted in the community charged with providing support to NI’s Reserves, Cadets and veterans as well as advising to the Defence Council and the MOD in relation to Defence interfaces in Northern Ireland. There are some 2000 Reservists and 3500 Cadets in NI.

RFCA NI is hugely effective in its role. For example, with a population of 3% of the UK whole, NI provides 5.7% of the national reserve and, on occasion, has provided over 20% of the UK’s deployed reserve at any one time. These figures are remarkable.

The Lord-Lieutenants have at least one Cadet appointed each year in March to attend the Lord-Lieutenant at Royal Visits, Garden Parties, local events, Citizenship Ceremonies, ceremonies and Remembrance Services etc. The Lord-Lieutenants also present Certificates in March each year to exceptional Reservists.

The Lord-Lieutenants, as His Majesty the King’s representatives in their Counties and County Boroughs, act as a link between the Monarch, the Services and their local communities and the RFCA NI is a crucial facilitator to the Lord-Lieutenants in that role.

The link to the website for RFCA NI is https://www.reservesandcadetsni.org.uk

What is The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust?


Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second was deeply committed to The Commonwealth and was it’s patron. At the age of 21 she pledged her life of service. She was an example of leadership and huge encouragement to young leaders in The Commonwealth through her patronage of the Trust.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust helps young people all around the world to lead transformational change in their communities – in education, healthcare, employment, the environment and more. It does this through three key elements of flexible funding, practical tools and guidance, and a network of other like-minded young leaders: https://www.queenscommonwealthtrust.org. QCT’s Resources Hub is free to all young people and has some learning tools on leadership and social entrepreneurship: https://www.queenscommonwealthtrust.org/resources. Young leaders wanting to seek support and inspiration from others, can visit their website or follow them on social media:

Facebook: @queenscommonwealthtrust

Instagram: @queens_commonwealth_trust

Twitter: @queenscomtrust

Linkedln: The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust