Driving ban issued for duke organising Charles' coronation after he used cellphone behind the wheel

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Edward Fitzalan-Howard.
Edward Fitzalan-Howard.
Photo: PA/PA Images via Getty Images

  • Edward Fitzalan-Howard has been banned from driving after he was caught using his cellphone behind the wheel and running a red light.
  • The Duke of Norfolk is organising King Charles III's coronation, expected next year, and organised Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.
  • Lawyers for the duke argued a driving ban would lead to "exceptional hardship".
  • The court rejected his application saying: "Although we find inconvenience may be caused, we don't find it exceptional hardship."

The British aristocrat who organised Queen Elizabeth II's funeral was banned from driving on Monday, despite arguing that he needed his car to arrange King Charles III's coronation.

Edward Fitzalan-Howard, the duke of Norfolk, was banned for six months after pleading guilty at a magistrates' court in London to using his mobile phone and running a red light while driving his BMW on 7 April.

Fitzalan-Howard, the highest-ranking duke in England who also holds the title the Earl Marshal, had two previous speeding offences in 2019 and faced a compulsory ban after his latest charges.

The 65-year-old duke's lawyer Natasha Dardashti asked the judge not to implement the ban due to his upcoming role in organising King Charles III's coronation, expected next year.

"It is an extremely peculiar situation, whereby his grace, the duke of Norfolk... is now the person in the country who is responsible for the coronation of His Royal Highness King Charles III," she said.

The lawyer applied for a behind-closed-doors hearing to hear details of the argument due to potential national security issues.

"Given it is such an odd situation, and his grace has such a very, very particular and important role in this national coronation of a new king, I would ask this court to sit in camera," said Dardashti.

But the bench of magistrates rejected the application that he would suffer "exceptional hardship" if he were banned from the roads.

"We accept that this is a unique case because of the defendant's role in society and in particular in relation to the king's coronation," chairwoman of the bench, Judith Wray, said.

"The hardship needs to be exceptional and although we find inconvenience may be caused, we don't find it exceptional hardship."

Fitzalan-Howard was responsible for gathering 2 000 people, including world leaders and foreign royals, at London's Westminster Abbey last Monday for the queen's funeral, which he spent 20 years organising.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.