Keepers of the Kingdom: The Ancient Offices of Britain Hardcover – 1 Sep 1999
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This book examines the histories of many of Britain's historic offices, both ancient and relatively modern. The office-holders are beautifully photographed, many in their distinctive dress and regalia. Many of these stories are fascinating. I never knew, for example, that the Bishop of Norwich is also legally the Abbot of St. Benet-at-Holme or that anyone visiting the Hospital of St. Cross can still get the Wayfarer's Dole, a piece of bread and a cup of beer, merely by asking for it.
Essential for anyone interested in history. Also, a fascinating read.
The pictures and writing are top notch.
If you're British and you aspire to any of these grand old posts, with or without the ermine, this is probably a good book to start plotting your ascent.
I've also read the slightly more recent 'Jubilee' edition (which I gave to my father as a present and is available from amazon.co.uk). Only a few of the entries have changed, largely to reflect the replacement of Conservative politicians by their Labour equivalents.
If you want another analysis of where the power lies in Britain today, but without the photos, read Anthony Sampson's excellent 'Who Runs this Place?'.