By David Young-
The distinguished man who organised the Queen’s funeral has been banned from driving for six months despite arguing that he should keep his licence because he is instrumental in the forthcoming coronation of King Charles III, a court has heard.
Edward Fitzalan-Howard, the 18th Duke of Norfolk, (pictred)pleaded guilty to using his mobile phone when he ran through a red traffic light in Battersea. He also admitted to officers that he had not been concentrating on the road.
The hereditary peer oversees major events for the Royal Family, including the Platinum Jubilee and the state opening of parliament.
He argued that he needs his licence to enable him to drive around the country in his role of organising the coronation.
On top of his driving ban, His Grace was also fined £800, with £350 costs and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge. He also received six penalty points for using his mobile phone
He pleaded guilty to the driving offence at Lavender Hill Magistrates Court on Monday morning and could now face a six-month ban because he already has past speeding convictions on his record.
Pushing his luck, the Duke, 65, argued for leniency, citing his key role as Earl Marshal in King Charles’ coronation and asked for part of the hearing to be held in private in the interests of “national security”.
This latest conviction brings six penalty points, triggering an automatic disqualification, unless His Grace can make submissions to the court to the court why such a ban would cause him “unreasonable hardship.”
His Grace originally contended the case, submitting a not guilty plea. He was scheduled to stand trial today, until he made a sudden change of plea.’
Applying for the press to be excluded from His Grace’s “exceptional hardship” application, his lawyer Natasha Dardashti said details of the coronation of King Charles III would have to be revealed.
She said: “This is an extremely peculiar submission. His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, as Earl Marshal was responsible for the preparations of the funeral of her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II and is now the person in the country responsible for the coronation of his Royal Highness King Charles III.
“His Grace will need to provide some information and details of the coronation of his Royal Highness.
“The reason for this to be in camera is for reasons of national security and there are details that have not yet been discussed with his Royal Highness; the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
“The application for exceptional hardship should be in camera to prevent the escape of that information, which is of an exceptionally sensitive nature.”
It is assumed His Grace will wish to give the magistrates details of why he needs his licence to enable him to drive around the country in his role of organising the coronation.
However, the father-of-five and is a member of the House of Howard and inherited his title from his father Miles Francis Stapleton Fitzalan-Howard, the 17th Duke of Norfolk.