Beastly "Kinging" at Balmoral

Saturday 27th September 1936

The King might have escaped the company of the stock crowd of national worthies, previously considered indispensable to a holiday at Balmoral, but he could not escape Royal duties entirely. He was obliged to hold a Privy Council meeting to issue Orders proclaiming martial law in the troubled areas of Palestine. Two ministers, Home Secretary  Sir John Simon and Colonial Secretary  Ormsby-Gore, travelled down from London to attend.

The King’s presence lent nothing more than constitutional authority to the meeting. His “decision” reflected the advice of his ministers and it would have been unthinkable for him to oppose the idea, although he could have discussed the question with the ministers and gently tried to influence them. There is, though, no record of the King ever being interested in Palestine and he had other things on his mind. The Privy Council still deliberates today and its orders are grouped under the leaden term “secondary legislation” to mask their status as laws that Parliament have not debated, although the Sovereign’s personal role is discreetly excised unlike in 1936. The pantomime uniform still exists too, but it is worn only infrequently.


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