Skip to main content

The role of the Lieutenant Governor

There are three overlapping roles: Constitutional, Community and Ceremonial.


The Lieutenant Governor derives his powers directly from the Crown, from United Kingdom Acts of Parliament in respect of certain specific functions (e.g. Nationality); and from Acts of Tynwald or Customary Law. The purpose of the constitutional role is to maintain the legitimacy and continuity of government as this is the foundation of civil peace and order which is maintained by the rule of law.

The First Deemster, the Second Deemster and the Judge of Appeal are Crown Appointments but the Lieutenant Governor appoints, after independent process, the remaining members of Island’s Judiciary including Magistrates. HMs’ Attorney General and Solicitor General are Crown Appointments.

The Lieutenant Governor has a role to play with certain Crown Appointments within the Church of England on the Island.

State Awards and Honours. After taking advice, the Lieutenant Governor is responsible for making recommendations, on behalf of Isle of Man residents, for Honours that are announced in His Majesty The King’s New Year and Birthday Honours lists. The following link provides more information for individuals considering making an Honours nomination for someone living on the Isle of Man.

The Lieutenant Governor also has a responsibility to provide supporting comment on all Isle of Man nominations for both The King's Award for Voluntary Service and The King's Award for Enterprise.


The Lieutenant Governor’s community role is by far the busiest. The Lieutenant Governor and his wife are patrons of many organisations and charities, and give their support and encouragement whenever there is an opportunity. Patronage of the Lieutenant Governor signals that an organisation is worthy of wide support. During most years, there will be many functions to attend all over the Island.

After taking advice the Lieutenant Governor is also responsible for the appointment of the Captain of each of the 17 ancient parishes of the Island. This office, normally for lifetime, was first recorded in 1626 to provide Watch and Ward and originated from Norse times in order to maintain ceaseless vigilance to prevent invasion. Formerly the head of the local militia, these days the post is largely ceremonial and recognition of the primary citizen of the Parish. On appointment a Captain takes the oath of office in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor and will receive their badge of office from him. A Captain is entitled to use the letters ‘CP’ after his or her name.

Birthdays and Anniversaries. With prior notification, the Lieutenant Governor sends birthday wishes to Island residents who celebrate their 90th or 100th birthdays, and letters of congratulation to those couples who celebrate their Golden or Diamond (or longer) Wedding Anniversary. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor can liaise with Buckingham Palace on the occasion of Diamond Wedding Anniversaries or 100th Birthdays on behalf of Manx residents. Detailed information can be found at the our Anniversary and birthday cards page


The Lieutenant Governor takes part in public ceremonies as the representative of His Majesty The King. This role includes such duties as Presiding on Tynwald Hill during the Tynwald Ceremony on Tynwald Day each July, attending the National Remembrance Sunday Service, holding occasional Honours Investitures and hosting visiting Ambassadors and High Commissioners in conjunction with the Island Authorities. Many of the Lieutenant Governor’s community functions also have a ceremonial dimension, such as attendance at the official openings of buildings, addressing conferences, or the launching special of events and appeals.

Neither The King nor the Lieutenant Governor takes an active or initiating role in the executive functions of government. By binding convention, the Head of State almost always acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers.

Outline Job Specification of the Lieutenant Governor

  • To be His Majesty The King’s personal representative and impartial adviser
  • To be the personal representative and impartial adviser to His Majesty The King, Lord of Mann
  • To represent His Majesty The King on ceremonial occasions
  • To host Royal and VIP visits and occasions in conjunction with the Island’s Government
  • To play a full and active part in the social and charitable affairs of the Island and assist the Isle of Man Government to promote community activity
  • To carry out certain executive functions such as the issuing of passports and Naturalisation and the exercising of delegated authority to give Royal Assent to a wide range of primary legislation
  • To make recommendations for certain Crown appointments in consultation with the Island or Church authorities, as appropriate
  • To make recommendations for official Honours and Awards
  • To work with the Island’s Government to help promote the Island’s interests on public and social occasions.