Friday, 1 June 2012

Long to reign over us...

How it all began:

Whitehall, February 6, 1952.

Upon the intimation that our late Most Gracious Sovereign King George the Sixth had died in his sleep at Sandringham in the early hours of this morning the Lords of the Privy Council assembled this day at St. James's Palace, and gave orders for proclaiming Her present Majesty; 

Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lord King George the Sixth of Blessed and Glorious Memory by whose Decease the Crown is solely and rightfully come to the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary: We, therefore, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm, being here assisted with these of His late Majesty's Privy Council, with representatives of other members of the Commonwealth, with other Principal Gentlemen of Quality, with the Lord Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of London, do now hereby with one voice and Consent of Tongue and Heart publish and proclaim that the High and Mighty

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now, by the Death of our late Sovereign of Happy Memory, become Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of all Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to whom Her lieges do acknowledge all Faith and constant Obedience, with hearty and humble Affection ; beseeching God, by whom Kings and Queens do reign, to bless

the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy Years to reign over us. 

Given at St. James's Palace this Sixth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand -nine hundred and fifty-two.

You can see it read here

It will be noticed that the UK is described as '"this Realm" above - this is because they had not worked out how to include Ireland (following the declaration of the Republic in 1949) in the new Queen's title - in the end the Royal Style and Title Act 1953 declared the Queen to be Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith  in May 1953.

Canada jumped the gun in 1952 and in-politically proclaimed the Queen to be "our only lawful and rightful Liege Lady Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas QUEEN, Defender of the Faith, Supreme Liege Lady in and over Canada"   At least they left out India and France (last claimed 1801).  Thankfully Canada passed an Act in 1985 which styled the Queen as Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

These are the signatories to the Proclamation - I have tried to identify them all in square brackets - quite an interesting random bunch of Privy Counsellors, beyond the obvious luminaries.  Despite what it says above they are all from the UK and none are from the Commonwealth (although those representatives might have been present but may not have signed).  The signatories appear to include the man who would become the legal legend - Lord Denning MR:

Simonds C. [Lord Chancellor]

Winston S. Churchill. [Prime Minister]

David Maxwell Fyfe. [Home Secretary]

Woolton. [Lord President of the Council]

W. S. Morrison. [Speaker]

C. R. Attlee.[Leader of the Opposition]

Waverley. [Former war time Cabinet Minister]

Samuel. [Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords]

Harry Crookshank.[Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal]

Leathers.[Minister for Coordination of Transport, Fuel and Power]

Selborne.[Former Minister of Economic Warfare and i/c SOE during the War]

Davidson.[Former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster under Baldwin]

Norfolk, EM.[Lord Earl Marshal]

Ogmore.[President of the Liberal Party]

James Griffiths.[ Deputy Leader, Labour Party]

Arthur G. Bottomley.[Former junior minister under Clement Attlee - MP 1945-1983, died 1995]

Clement Davies.[Leader of the Liberal Party]

Wm. London. [Bishop of London]

J. Chuter Ede. [Home Secretary under Attlee]

Nathan. [Junior Minister under Attlee]

Mersey.[Privy Counsellor -son of the Judge who headed the Titanic Inquiry]

Goddard.[Lord Chief Justice]

A. T. Denning [Alfred Thompson Denning - i.e. Lord Denning MR as he would become - then Lord Justice Denning and Privy Counsellor, therefore eligible to sign the Proclamation]

Reid.[The Scottish Law Lord]

Hartley Shawcross.[Former Labour Attorney General and prosecutor at Nuremberg]

Macdonald of Gwaenysgor.[Paymaster-General under Attlee]

Shepherd.[Former House of Lords Chief Whip under Attlee]

HMQ was in Kenya for her accession, and so a second Accessional Council was held on her return so that she could swear to defend the Church of Scotland as required by the Acts of Union 1707:

And lastly that after the decease of Her present Majesty (whom God long preserve) the Soveraign succeeding to Her in the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Great Britain shall in all time coming at His or Her Accession to the Crown swear and subscribe that they shall inviolably maintain and preserve the foresaid Settlement of the true Protestant Religion with the Government Worship Discipline right and Privileges of this Church as above established by the Laws of this Kingdom in Prosecution of the Claim of Right[

At the first state opening of Parliament after the accession (4th November 1952) HMQ then had to give this oath and sign this as required by the Accession Declaration Act 1910, the Act of Settlement 1700 and the Bill of Rights 1688:

Until 1901 this Test Act oath designed to keep out Catholics was a bit more anti-Pope:

I, N, profess, testify, and declare, that I do believe that in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper there is not any Transubstantiation of the elements of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever: and that the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary or any other Saint, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous. And I do solemnly in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I do make this declaration, and every part thereof, in the plain and ordinary sense of the words read unto me, as they are commonly understood by English Protestants, without any such dispensation from any person or authority or person whatsoever, or without thinking that I am or can be acquitted before God or man, or absolved of this declaration or any part thereof, although the Pope, or any other person or persons, or power whatsoever, should dispense with or annul the same or declare that it was null and void from the beginning.

At least we have moved on from that sort of rhetoric - although the ban on catholics being in the line of succession continues in section 2 Act of Settlement 1700:

Provided always and it is hereby enacted That all and every Person and Persons who shall or may take or inherit the said Crown by vertue of the Limitation of this present Act and is are or shall be reconciled to or shall hold Communion with the See or Church of Rome or shall profess the Popish Religion or shall marry a Papist shall be subject to such Incapacities as in such Case or Cases are by the said recited Act provided enacted and established

We await a Bill to be agreed with all the other Commonwealth realms (as required by the Statute of Westminster 1931: (And whereas it is meet and proper to set out by way of preamble to this Act that, inasmuch as the Crown is the symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown, it would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom): to amend section 1 of the 1700 Act in so far as this provision ( the Crown and Regall Government of the said Kingdoms of England France and Ireland and of the Dominions thereunto belonging with the Royall State and Dignity of the said Realms and all Honours Stiles Titles Regalities Prerogatives Powers Jurisdictions and Authorities to the same belonging and appertaining shall be remain and continue to the said most Excellent Princess Sophia and the Heirs of Her Body being Protestants) permits the leapfrogging of male issue over first born females - just in case the Duchess of Cambridge is first delivered of a pave the way Parliament has already made financial provision for a female heir who cannot make a living from being the  Duke of Cornwall (because she is female) (section 9 Soverign Grant Act 2011):

Where the Duchy of Cornwall is vested in Her Majesty for any period (“the relevant period”) in a financial year (and Her Majesty is accordingly entitled to its income)—

(a)the amount of the Sovereign Grant for that year is reduced by an amount equal to the income account net surplus of the Duchy of Cornwall for the relevant period, and

(b)the Treasury is to pay a grant to any person who is the heir to the throne in the relevant period.

Until the happy day of celebration of the birth of a new Prince or Princess, 3rd in line to the throne, and in the meantime........


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