IMAGE ID GC2F1E Gordon Messenger 100909 CREDIT PA IMAGES, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
General Sir Gordon Messenger, pictured here in 2009, joined the Royal Marines in 1983 (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).
Royal Marines

Four-star Royal Marine makes history – again

General Sir Gordon Messenger's new appointment comes after he became Rear Admiral of the United Kingdom.

IMAGE ID GC2F1E Gordon Messenger 100909 CREDIT PA IMAGES, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
General Sir Gordon Messenger, pictured here in 2009, joined the Royal Marines in 1983 (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).

A Royal Marine has made history by taking charge of the Tower of London.

General Sir Gordon Messenger will become Constable of the Tower of London in August, a role only held by British Army officers since the 18th century, and will be the first Royal Marine to take the post.

The retired general will combine the duties along with his other history-making appointment, as Rear Admiral of the United Kingdom – thought to be the first time in history the two roles have been held by the same person, according to the First Sea Lord.

Gen Messenger served in the UK military for more than three decades, including as Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) from 2016 until his retirement in 2019.

His career also included deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, where he held several commands.

The retired senior officer will become the 161st Constable of the Tower of London and said he is "delighted".

"This is a historic role and it will be an honour to follow in the footsteps of some illustrious predecessors," Gen Messenger said.

"The Tower has a truly remarkable history and remains a thriving visitor attraction today. I look forward to playing my part in its story."

As Constable, Gen Messenger will be the Queen's representative at the Tower of London and its formal custodian, as well as becoming a trustee of the charity Historic Royal Palaces.

His formal installation ceremony is due to take place in the autumn, where he will be handed the Tower of London's golden keys.

Honorary Colonel Bear Grylls is among those to have paid tribute to Gen Messenger's appointment, describing him as a "legend of a man".