British royal hand washer dies

Sept. 22, 2012 at 12:39 PM

LONDON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Peter Houison Craufurd, who held the title Washer of the Sovereign's Hands, has died at age 82, British officials said.

Craufurd died Monday, The Daily Telegraph reported. His job was mostly symbolic, since he only washed Queen Elizabeth II's hands once, one year after she was crowned, the newspaper said.

"We used to have to write to Buckingham Palace to offer to wash the monarch's hands every time they were in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse," he said in an interview before his death.

Houison Craufurd's father held the post before him.

"In his day, my father had to make that offer virtually every year, although it was very seldom accepted," Houison Craufurd said.

"More recently, we have been told by the queen's office that, as we have already washed her hands once, that is all she requires us to do. So now we have to wait until Prince Charles takes the throne before we do it again."

Houison Craufurd held the title of 28th laird of Craufurdland Castle in Ayrshire, a title one of his ancestors earned by chasing off men attempting to murder James V, The Daily Telegraph reported.

His eldest son, Alex Houison Craufurd, is expected to inherit the role of Washer of the Sovereign's Hands.

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