AceShowbiz - The Duke of Norfolk has begged a court not to bar him from driving because of his main role in planning King Charles' coronation. Prosecuted after he was spotted using his mobile phone when driving through a red light in Battersea, south London, in April and on Monday (25.09.22), Edward Fitzalan-Howard, who also helped arrange Queen Elizabeth, pleaded guilty to the offence at Lavender Hill Magistrates' Court.
Due to previous speeding convictions, the 65-year-old duke - who is England's most senior peer - faces a six-month driving ban but his lawyers argued to stop him getting behind the wheel would cause "exceptional hardship" because of his role as Earl Marshall in the king's upcoming coronation, the date of which has yet to be publicly confirmed.
lawyer, Natasha Dardashti, asked for the rest of the hearing to be held in private because she would need to share sensitive information about her client's role in the proceedings.
She told magistrates, "It's an extremely peculiar situation whereby his grace, the Duke of Norfolk, is Earl Marshal. One of his responsibilities is for the preparation and organisation of the funeral of Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II. He is now the person in the country responsible for the coronation of His Royal Highness, King Charles III."
"In relation to exceptional hardship, his Grace needs to provide some details and information about the preparations of the coronation of His Royal Highness, King Charles...."
"Details will be provided that have not yet been discussed with His Royal Highness, King Charles, not yet discussed with the Prime Minister, not yet been discussed with the Archbishop of Canterbury. It would be unacceptable for these details to be public or made known, to risk the escape of that information of a very sensitive nature."
She insisted the date for the coronation is already set but it is not ready to be made public. She added, "Organisation of a national state occasion involves considerable matters of national security, not just officials in this country but world leaders attending the UK. In order to be able to properly advance the argument, it will require His Grace to go into detail."
The case continues.