The ceremonial county of Buckinghamshire consists of the area administered by Milton Keynes Borough Council as well as that administered by Buckinghamshire County Council. The ceremonial county has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff. Currently the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire is Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher and the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire is Amanda Nicholson. The office of Custos rotulorum has been combined with that of Lord Lieutenant since 1702.
At present, the county has two top-level administrations: Buckinghamshire County Council, which administers about four-fifths of the county (see map above) and the Borough of Milton Keynes, a unitary authority, which administers the remaining fifth. There are four district councils that are subsidiary to the county council: Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe districts.
Buckinghamshire County Council
The county council was founded in 1889 with its base in new municipal buildings in Walton Street, Aylesbury (which are still there). In Buckinghamshire, local administration is run on a two-tier system where public services are split between the county council and a series of district councils.
In 1966 the council moved into new premises: a 15-storey tower block in the centre of Aylesbury (pictured) designed by county architect Fred Pooley. It is now a Grade II listed building.
In 1997 the northernmost part of Buckinghamshire, then Milton Keynes District, was separated to form a unitary authority, the Borough of Milton Keynes; however for ceremonial and some other purposes Milton Keynes is still considered in law to be part of Buckinghamshire.
Buckinghamshire County Council is a large employer in the county and provides a variety of services, including education (schools, adult education and youth services), social services, highways, libraries, County Archives and Record Office, the County Museum and the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery in Aylesbury, consumer services and some aspects of waste disposal and planning.
Coat of arms
The coat of arms of Buckinghamshire County Council features a white swan in chains. This dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period, when swans were bred in Buckinghamshire for the king's pleasure. That the swan is in chains illustrates that the swan is bound to the monarch, an ancient law that still applies to wild swans in the UK today. The arms were first borne at the Battle of Agincourt by the Duke of Buckingham.
Above the swan is a gold band, in the centre of which is Whiteleaf Cross, representing the many ancient landmarks of the county. The shield is surmounted by a beech tree, representing the Chiltern Forest that once covered almost half the county. Either side of the shield are a buck, for Buckingham, and a swan, the county symbol.
The motto of the shield is Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum. This is Latin and means 'no stepping back' (or 'no steps backwards').
The traditional flag of Buckinghamshire comprises a chained swan on a bicolour of red and black. The flag was registered with the Flag Institute on 20 May 2011.