This office differs from the much more powerful Mayor of London, which is a popularly elected position and covers the much larger Greater London area.
In 2006 the Corporation of London changed its name to the City of London Corporation, when the title Lord Mayor of the City of London was reintroduced, partly to avoid confusion with the Mayor of London. However, the legal and commonly used title remains Lord Mayor of London.
The Lord Mayor is elected at Common Hall each year on Michaelmas, and takes office on the Friday before the second Saturday in November, at The Silent Ceremony.
The Lord Mayor's Show is held on the day after taking office; the Lord Mayor, preceded by a procession, travels to the Royal Courts of Justice at the Strand to swear allegiance to the sovereign before the Justices of the High Court.
One of the world's oldest continuously elected civic offices, the Lord Mayor's main role nowadays is to represent, support and promote the businesses and residents in the City of London. Today, these businesses are mostly in the financial sector and the Lord Mayor is regarded as the champion of the entire UK-based financial sector regardless of ownership or location throughout the country. As leader of the Corporation of the City of London, the Lord Mayor serves as the key spokesman for the local authority and also has important ceremonial and social responsibilities. All Lord Mayors of London are apolitical.
Of the 69 cities in the United Kingdom, the City of London is among the 30 that have Lord Mayors (or, in Scotland, Lords Provost). The Lord Mayor is entitled to the style The Right Honourable; the same privilege extends only to the Lord Mayors of York, Cardiff and Belfast, and to the Lords Provost of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The style, however, is used when referring to the office as opposed to the holder thereof; thus, "The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of London" would be correct, while "The Rt Hon Jeffrey Mountevans" would be incorrect. The latter prefix applies only to Privy Counsellors.
A woman who holds the office is also known as a Lord Mayor. The wife of a male Lord Mayor is styled as Lady Mayoress, but no equivalent title exists for the husband of a female Lord Mayor. A female Lord Mayor or an unmarried male Lord Mayor may appoint a female consort, usually a fellow member of the corporation, to the role of Lady Mayoress. In speech, a Lord Mayor is referred to as "My Lord Mayor", and a Lady Mayoress as "My Lady Mayoress".
It was once customary for Lord Mayors to be appointed knights upon taking office and baronets upon retirement, unless they already held such a title. This custom was followed with a few inconsistencies from the 16th until the 19th centuries; creations became more regular from 1889 onwards. However, from 1964 onwards, the regular creation of hereditary titles such as baronetcies was phased out, so subsequent Lord Mayors were offered knighthoods (and, until 1993, most often as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE)). Since 1993, Lord Mayors have not automatically received any national honour upon appointment; instead, they have been made Knights Bachelor upon retirement, although Gordon Brown's Government broke with that tradition by making Ian Luder a CBE, after his term of office in 2009, and the following year Nick Anstee declined offers of an honour. Furthermore, foreign Heads of State visiting the City of London on a UK State Visit, diplomatically bestow upon the Lord Mayor one of their suitable national honours. For example, in 2001, Sir David Howard was created a Grand Cordon (First Class) of the Order of Independence of Jordan by King Abdullah II. Recently Lord Mayors have been appointed at the beginning of their term of office Knights or Dames of St John, as a mark of respect, by HM The Queen, Sovereign Head of the Order of St John.