Queen Elizabeth Appoints First Black Equerry: Reports

Image:  Major Nana Twumasi Ankrah at the Royal Ascot Racecourse in London
Racegoer Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah at the Royal Ascot Racecourse in London.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

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By Chloe Hubbard

LONDON — Britain's Queen Elizabeth has appointed a Ghanaian-born army officer to fill one of the most important royal household roles — her equerry.

Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, will, according to The Times of London, become the first black man to hold the prestigious and highly visible role.

An equerry is an officer of the royal household who would typically assist a member of the royal family.

Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah at the Royal Ascot Racecourse, London.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Twumasi-Ankrah, reportedly known as "TA" to his friends is a 38-year-old Afghanistan war veteran who moved to the U.K. in 1982 with his parents. After college he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst — the same army training college Prince Harry later attended.

He was also the first black officer to be commissioned to the Household Cavalry, which is the queen's official bodyguard.

The position is perhaps most famously associated with Group Captain Peter Townsend — a divorced World War II fighter pilot who was the queen's father George VI's equerry. Townsend became famous when news broke that he was in a relationship with the queen's sister, Princess Margaret.

The relationship caused a huge scandal at the time, and despite becoming engaged, Margaret was effectively forced to end the romance due to royal protocol.

Twumasi-Ankrah is no stranger to ceremony having acted as escort commander at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.

The Times reported that the queen personally selected Twumasi-Ankrah over several other candidates.

Because the queen's husband, Prince Philip, retires from public duties this fall, the timing of the appointment is particularly significant as it will mean the major is likely to become the most visible man at the queen's side during public events.

Twumasi-Ankrah told The Times: "From what I’ve seen in the U.K., our cultures really do mix and if I’m not a good example of that I really don’t know what is."

“He would always make the impossible achievable,” a former colleague told the newspaper.