THE Duke who organised the Queen's funeral has been banned from driving despite saying he should be spared to plan the King's coronation.
The Earl Marshal, Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 65, was banned from getting behind the wheel for six months at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court.
His Grace The Duke of Norfolk – who planned Her Majesty's historic funeral – pleaded guilty to one count of using his mobile phone while driving.
The hereditary peer oversees major events for the Royal Family, including the Platinum Jubilee and the state opening of parliament.
As well as his driving ban, His Grace was also fined £800, with £350 costs and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.
And the Duke received six penalty points for using his mobile phone.
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He was stopped by police on April 7 when cops spotted him using the device as his BMW cut across their vehicle after running a red light in Battersea Park Road, a court heard.
In a bid to keep his license, the Duke insisted that a driving ban will cause him "exceptional hardship" with his work, the court heard.
He argued that he needed to retain his driving privileges to plan King Charles III’s lavish crowning ceremony.
The Duke said: “I need my four-wheel drive to get around.
“I always drive to Norfolk because there’s no other way of getting there. My office in Arundel is four miles away from where I live.
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“I’ve got the financial means to hire a driver, but it would be almost impossible to have enough drivers to get me to the right places at the right time.
“I love being simple, I try to be unpompous and direct. I love arriving somewhere in my old BMW.
"A driving ban will curtail my manoeuvrability considerably.”
The Duke added that he spends “an enormous amount of time” driving around the South Downs to “witness and oversee the revival of nature”.
He said: “Global warming is a massive problem for life on Earth, but what’s going to bring about the end of mankind is the collapse of nature.”
The Duke is also Earl of Arundel and gave his address as Arundel Castle.
Natasha Dardashti, defending, said the duke has “huge and very peculiar responsibilities”.
She said: “He needs to be able to drive to organise a huge event which is of the highest level of economic importance to the UK.
“The coronation of King Charles III is an important moment in the history of this nation, and anyone can see it’s a massive undertaking. He must be mobile to achieve the things he needs to achieve.”
However, a bench of magistrates, chaired by Judith Way were not to be swayed – handing him six points and a six month driving ban.
"We accept that this a unique case because of the defendant's role in society and in particular in relation to the King's coronation," said Ms Way.
She added: "The hardship needs to be exceptional and although we find inconvenience may be caused, we don't find it exceptional hardship.
"We consider alternative means of hardship are available."
The Earl Marshal is the 18th Duke of Norfolk, who inherited the position upon the death of his father in 2002.
An Oxford-educated father of five, he is a descendant of Elizabeth I and was responsible for organising the iconic send-off for the Queen.
The duke described organising the Queen's funeral as "both humbling and daunting" and "an honour and a great responsibility"
Two thousand people including world leaders and foreign royals gathered inside Westminster Abbey in London last Monday for the final farewell to the nation's longest reigning monarch.
The event was watched around the globe by millions and the Duke of Norfolk participated in the royal procession as members of the Royal Navy pulled the state hearse.
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After her funeral, the Queen and Prince Phillip were reunited in death, as his coffin was moved to join her at their final resting place.
Her Majesty is buried at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, which is part of St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.
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