One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A white rod or wand carried as a symbol of office by certain officials (especially of the royal household), such as the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Steward, or Lord High Treasurer. Hence also: the office itself.
2A person holding an office symbolized by the carrying of a white staff.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Noble Coronacyon Quene Anne. From white + staff.
white staff/ˌwʌɪt ˈstɑːf/
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