The role of the President of the Royal College of Midwives has evolved since the organisation was founded in 1881. During the early years there were no restrictions as to how long a person could hold this office. Jane Wilson, for example was President of the College for 18 years from 1894 to 1911.
However in more recent years the President, must be a member of the Council for at least one year, is appointed annually by the Council and can then only serve for a period of two years, but after that must retire for a period of three years before being eligible for re-election.
The President remains responsible for presiding over the Annual General Conference as well as representing the College at official events and functions, wearing the Presidential Chain of Office. This role is generally offered to a local personality who may or may not be a midwife but must show an interest in and knowledge of issues that affect the midwifery profession.