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This is the programme for the 1966 State Opening of Parliament that followed the General Election won by Harold Wilson’s Labour government. For the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, Air Chief Marshal Sir George Mills (1902-1971), this was an occasion to perform the most significant of his ceremonial duties. His role had become more high profile in recent years as the ceremony was televised from 1958, attracting a greater audience and making him an iconic character outside of Parliament. Sir George Mills began his career as a cadet at RAF College at Cranwell and served in World War II before holding several command posts. Having achieved the rank of Air Chief Marshal he retired in September 1962. Following his retirement from the RAF, he served as the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod between 1963 and 1970.
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