Meanwhile, in 1980 Hall had become a member of Her Majesty’s Bodyguard of the Honorable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms – retired officers who assist the Sovereign at state events and garden parties .
One of his earliest duties placed him near the altar of St. Paul at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. For the gentlemen in their 19th century heavy cavalry uniforms and feathered helmets, the heat under the television lights was oppressive: when Prince Philip ‘was heard too long for a gin and tonic in the sacristy’, recalls Hall, “we hit it off.”
Hall was promoted in 1994 to the rank of Lieutenant of the Gentlemen (effectively Commanding Officer, their Honorary Captain being the Chief Government Whip in the House of Lords), retiring on his seventieth birthday in 1998. He has also served as chairman from 1990 to 1996 of the Cavalry & Guards Club, whose full ownership of Piccadilly he had helped secure a few years earlier during a difficult negotiation with property developer Elliot Bernerd.
Appointed OBE in 1966 and retired CVO of the Gentlemen at Arms, Hall was High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1981-2. He skied with elegance until his eighties and made his last visit to Méribel this summer, sixty years after his first.
In 1954, he married Mariette Hornby – daughter of Sir Antony Hornby, senior partner of stockbrokers Cazenove & Co –, whom he cared for during a long illness before his death in 2020. Three daughters and two sons survived him, a fourth daughter having predeceased both of his parents.
Colonel Tom Hall, born April 13, 1928, died October 12, 2022