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The title of this book is taken from words addressed to the King or Queen during his or her coronation service which, the author points out, plays a much more important part in the life of our nation than is generally recognised.
It is not just an empty ceremony but the occasion when Divine Law is acknowledged as the source of all our law. The service reminds not only the monarch, but all those assembled in Westminster Abbey and watching worldwide on television of a basic tenet of the British constitution, expressed by the 13th-century lawyer Bracton, that the King or Queen "must be under no man but under God and the law, for the law makes the king".
This principle has frequently been compared, down the ages, with the Justinian precept, "what pleases the prince has the force of law", which lies behind continental, Roman law. The civil freedom we enjoy in Britain today stems from Bracton's statement which regulates all our public servants, from prime minister to police officer. The book also shows that there is government behind government, with a greater purpose and permanence than the changing spectrum of party political strife.
This government consists of institutions, mostly of medieval origin: the monarchy, parliament, common law, jury system, church, universities and armed forces. The powers working through these institutions are made available to the government of the day, and may be retracted if and when they are abused.
Large parts of the coronation service of Queen Elizabeth II are quoted in an appendix at the end of the book, and in another appendix an Anglo-Saxon document entitled "Institutes of Polity, Civil and Ecclesiastical".