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Two of the UK's oldest organisations welcome new master

Royal Mail / 19 October 2016

Royal Mail partnered with one of the City of London’s oldest liveries, The Worshipful Company of Carmen, to welcome the new Master, Mrs Marsha Rae Ratcliff.

The Worshipful Company of Carmen was formalised around 1517 – the year after Henry VIII knighted Brian Tuke, the first Master of the Posts¹ - making it one of the oldest transport organisations in the world. In the early 16th century, the organisation was responsible for helping to regulate the City’s trade through the issuing of vehicle licenses.

Today’s appointment sees Mrs Marsha Rae Ratcliff become the second female to take the reins of the livery. Mrs Ratcliff follows the lead of HRH Princess Anne who was appointed Master in 1986. As part of today’s century old ‘installation’ service, the new Master, along with her Wardens, marched through the City of London to the Guildhall Yard to take part in the 361 year-old, cart marking ceremony. The annual cart marking ceremony required that all vehicles around the City of London be ‘marked’ in order to show that the owner is a Freeman of the City and a member of the Fellowship of Carmen.

In her capacity as the new Master, Mrs Ratcliff was able to hire one cart in exchange for five shillings. She chose a 19th century Royal Mail coach in honour of the 500-year anniversaries the two organisations are celebrating. Royal Mail commemorates 500 years in 2016 and The Worshipful Company of Carmen will mark 500 years in 2017.

David Gold, head of public affairs at Royal Mail, said: “We are really pleased that the new Master of the Carmen has selected the Royal Mail coach as her chosen vehicle for this year. Over the last 500 years, the two organisations have facilitated huge change in the capital from enabling business to opening up new trade channels. It is an honour to see them working together.”

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