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Vol 21 No 10 Oct/Nov 2016

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By Royal Appointment: Tales from the Privy Council - The Unknown Arm of Government


ISBN13: 9781849548564
Published: July 2015
Publisher: Biteback Publishing Ltd
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £25.00



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What is the Privy Council? What does it do? How did it come into being? We have no written constitution and, therefore, no easy answers to these questions.

There are people who would argue that it has no power at all. Others might disagree. Particularly if you had been sentenced to death in a former British overseas territory that still used the Privy Council as its court of appeal, for example, or if you were a student having a row with your college examiners where the University Chancellor, or the Official Visitor, was a member of the royal family. Perhaps a priest who had been defrocked by the Church of England's Court of Arches, or, for that matter, a Prime Minister trying to establish a Royal Charter to control the press.

The Privy Council meets several times a year when five or six members of the Cabinet - who are all Privy Counsellors - are summoned to attend on the Queen and, among other business, Acts of Parliament receive the royal assent. Much of the work of the Council is done by standing or ad-hoc committees and sometimes politicians are made Privy Counsellors so that they can serve on such committees. For centuries, Privy Counsellors were sworn to secrecy by the Privy Council Oath and until 1999 to break that oath was regarded as an act of treason.

Traditionally, the Council has always existed to advise the Sovereign on the exercise of the Royal Prerogative, to make laws, to condemn to death and to go to war. Nowadays, most of its power has been devolved, yet it cannot simply be dismissed as having a purely ceremonial role. Its tentacles spread to every area of parliamentary and public life. Brides, battleships and burial plots are all affected by the current workings of the Privy Council, as is the governance of both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

By Royal Appointment takes us on an anecdote-filled odyssey through the history of one of England's oldest and most secretive institutions, its history spanning our history from King Cnut, through the Middle Ages, up to its modern embodiment and functions.

It seems extraordinary that it is almost 100 years since anybody wrote a book about the Privy Council. But now David Rogers finally lifts the lid on one of the great mysterious institutions of the British Constitution.
Michael Crick

Subjects:
Legal History
Contents:
1. Introduction
2. Remote Antiquity: Myths Ancient and Modern
3. Remote Antiquity: Leaders, Advisers and Assemblies
4. The Chief Butler of England and Other Great Officers of State
5. From King's Council to Privy Council
6. The Privy Seal, the Great Seal, and their Keepers
7. Pawning the Crownjewels - and Other Medieval Working Practices
8. The Council, the Courts and the Origins of the Star Chamber
9. Privy Counsellors Plotting and Counterplotting
10. Records of the Privy Council
11. The Man with No Ears and Other Stories from the Star Chamber
12. The Stuart Succession and the Possible Pregnancy of Lady Arabella
13. The Cabal: 'Great Wits Are to Madness Sure Allied'
14. The Privy Council's Tipping Point: 30 July 1714
15. The Privy Council and the New World: Corruption and Naked Celebration
16. The American Princess Coosaponakeesa and Stamp Duty
17. It Shall Be Lawful for His Majesty by Order
18. The Cato Street Conspiracy
19. What is Baptism? The Privy Council v. the Bishop of Exeter
20. The Downton Era - Sir Almeric Fitzroy as Clerk to the Privy Council
21. The Rector of Stiffkey Asks: What Are Buttocks?, and Other Questions Linking the Privy Council and the Church of England
22. The High Court of Chivalry Asks Itself: Do We Still Exist?
23. Sentenced to Death in Jamaica - Reprieved by the Privy Council in London
24. Where ls the University of Basildon?
25. Spying, Privy Council Confidentiality, D-Notices and the Baker Street Robbery
26. The House Next Door
27. From Remote Antiquity to pcosecretariat@pco.x.gsi.gov.uk
Appendices
A) Overseas Territories That Have Been or Are under the Jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
B) Universities Where the Lord President of the Privy Council Acts as Visitor
C) Order of Precedence
D) Kings and Queens of England
E) Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom
F) Members of the Privy Council as of 1st January 2015
Bibliography
Acknowledgements;