Joan is Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant

BALLYBOGEY resident Joan Christie took up her position as The Queen's official representative in County Antrim on Monday.

Her Majesty has been pleased to appoint Mrs Christie, OBE, DL, as Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for the County of Antrim upon the retirement of The Right Honourable the Lord O'Neill TD JP.

Lord O'Neill held the office since 1994.

Mrs Christie has been active in many public and voluntary bodies. She is a former civil servant and was Assistant Private Secretary to successive Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland until 1979 and was the Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Antrim from 2005.

She is currently a member of Ballymoney District Policing Partnership.

Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenants are the representatives of the Crown for each county in the United Kingdom.

Men or women of all backgrounds, they are appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Lord Lieutenants were originally appointed in Henry VIII's reign to take over the military duties of the Sheriff and control the military forces of the Crown.

In 1662 they were given entire control of the militia, but the Forces Act of 1871 transferred this function back to the Crown.

Lord Lieutenants are responsible for the organisation of all official Royal visits to their county.

On the day they escort the Royal visitor around the different locations - not simply The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, but any member of the Royal Family.

Lord Lieutenants also carry out other duties in their county, such as the presentation of decorations (where the recipient is unable to attend an Investiture), The Queen's Awards for Export and Technology, and Queen's Scout and Queen's Guide Awards.

Lord Lieutenants are also responsible for ensuring that The Queen's Private Office is kept informed about local issues relating to their area, particularly when a Royal visit is being planned.

There are 98 Lord Lieutenants, who cover all areas of the UK, from Shetland to Cornwall, County Tyrone to South Glamorgan.

The duties of Lord Lieutenants include: Organising Royal visits and escorting Royal visitors; Presenting decorations and prizes.

Male Lord Lieutenants wear a military-style navy blue uniform with scarlet stripes on the trousers and a scarlet band round the peaked cap. Women are still known as 'Lord' Lieutenants, and a wear a brooch to indicate their office.

Invitations to members of the Royal Family should be sent to the local Lord Lieutenant. Lord Lieutenants can also advise on how to contact the various Royal households.