By Paula Fowmes
British Overseas Territories, like the Falkland Islands, who have a permanent population, will have a Governor. Although the Falkland Islands is self-governing, the UK retains responsibility for defence and foreign affairs. The Governor is Her Majesty the Queen’s representative in the Falkland Islands.
No Governor’s uniform is complete without a sword. It’s not just a decorative addition; it has a history and function which dates back hundreds of years.
The sword particular to the Falkland Islands is a design known as a Mameluke sword and originates from the traditional bodyguards of the rulers of Egypt. The sword’s design was adopted by the British Army and from 1831 became the designated official sword for the rank of General and above. The sword has a slight curve, with only one edge sharpened.
The Governor’s sword for the Falklands has an insignia on the handle and the blade is engraved. It was manufactured by the company Wilkinson Sword, but this particular item is no longer made. As a result, in the late 1990s, Governor Richard Ralph gifted his sword to the Falkland Islands so that it could be used by subsequent Governors.
At the end of a Governor’s term, the Speaker of the House is responsible for taking the sword from the outgoing Governor and keeping it safe until the new Governor is sworn in.