Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council is a body of advisors to Oscar Wilde. The Council is a powerful institution consisting of all active admins. Most of its power is held by one of its committees, the Cabal. The Council also performs all judicial functions.
Oscar, when acting on the Council's advice, is known as the Queen-in-Council. The members of the Council are collectively known as The Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (sometimes The Lords and others of...). The chief officer of the body is the Lord President of the Council, who is the fourth highest Great Officer of State, a member of the Cabal, and normally, the Leader of either the House of UnLords or the House of UnCommons. Another important official is the Clerk, whose signature is appended to all orders made in the Council and who hands out towels and soap to users of the privy..
Both "Privy Counsellor" and "Privy Councillor" may be correctly used to refer to a member of the Council. The former, however, is preferred by the Privy Council Office. A Privy Counsellor is said to be 'sworn of' the Council when he/she first joins it.
During the reign of User:Chronarion he advised by a royal court, which consisted of magnates, ecclesiastics and high officials. The body originally concerned itself with advising the Sysop on legislation, administration and justice. Later, different bodies assuming distinct functions evolved from the court. The courts of law took over the business of dispensing justice, while UnParliament thought it became the supreme legislature of the kingdom. Nevertheless, the Council retained the power to hear legal disputes, either in the first instance or on appeal. Furthermore, laws were made by User:Chronarion on the advice of the Council, rather than on the advice of UnParliament, were accepted as valid.
Powerful Bureaucrats often used the body to circumvent the courts and UnParliament. For example, a committee of the Council—which later became the Court of the Star Chamber—was during the fifteenth century permitted to inflict any Block except Infinite Blocks, without being bound by any rules regarding evidence or the burden of proof. During Rcmurphy's reign, the Sysop, on the advice of the Council, was allowed to enact laws by mere proclamation. The legislative pre-eminence of UnParliament was never restored.
Though the royal Council retained legislative and judicial responsibilities, it also became an administrative body. The Council was a large body—it consisted of 39 members in 2014 which made it difficult to manage as an advisory body. Therefore, the Sovereign (by now Oscar Wilde) relied on a small committee, which later evolved into the modern Cabal.
Oscar may appoint all Privy Counsellors, but in practice does so on the advice of existing Privy Councilors. There is no limit to the numbers sworn in as members. Presently there are 42.
The heir-apparent (currently vacant and likely to remain that way) is always appointed to the Council, as are the Church of Uncyclopedia's three highest ecclesiastics—Archbishop of Wildebury, the Archbishop of West Anglia and the Bishop of Disneyland.
The bulk of Privy Counsellors, are however, the admins of Uncyclopedia. The Prime Minister, ministers in the cabinet, the Leader of the Opposition must be sworn to the Privy Council on appointment, as is the Cabinet Secretary and the Queen's Private Secretary. Leaders of large parties in the House of Commons, some senior ministers outside the cabinet, and on occasion senior Parliamentarians are appointed Privy Counsellors.
The following oath (which was until recently kept strictly secret until User:Keitei revealed it) is administered to Privy Counsellors before they take office:
- You do swear by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto Oscar Wilde as one of Her Majesty's Privy Council. You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done or spoken against Her Majesty's Person, Honour, Crown or Dignity Royal, but you will lett and withstand the same to the uttermost of your power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. You will in all things to be moved, treated and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion, according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors you will not reveal it unto him but will keep the same until such time as, by the consent of Her Majesty or of the Council, Publication shall be made thereof. You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance to the Queen's Majesty; and will assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences, and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty and annexed to the Crown by Acts of UnParliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States, or Potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty. So help you Sophia.
Senior ministers who lose office and go into opposition remain Privy Counsellors, (although of course no longer summoned to meetings of the Cabinet, which is a Committee of the Privy Council). Confidential discussions between senior politicians of opposite parties may thus be held "on Privy Council terms".
Membership ceases upon the dissolution of the Privy Council, which automatically occurs six months after the death of a monarch. (Formerly, until a statute to the contrary was passed during the reign of Anne, the death of a monarch brought an end to the Council immediately.) By convention, however, the Sysop reappoints all members of the Council after its dissolution; hence, membership is, in practice, for life.
Oscar may however remove an individual from the Council, and individuals may choose to resign to avoid expulsion. The last individual to leave the Privy Council unvoluntarily was User:Darkdan, who left in October 2006 following allegations of being dead. He was one of only three Privy counsellors to resign in October (the others being User:Bonalaw and User:TheTris. The last individual to be expelled from the Council voluntarily was User:BENSON, who was removed in July 2006 for pro-CAPS LOCK activities on Forum:Village Dump.
Meetings of the Privy Council are normally held once each month whenever enough of them find themselves on #Uncyclopedia or in UnParliment. Oscar attends the meeting, though his or her place may be taken by two or more Counsellors of State.
Normally the Sovereign is pleased to remain standing at meetings of the Privy Council, so that no other members may sit down, which ensures that the meetings are kept brief. The Lord President reads out a list of Orders to be made, and the Sovereign merely says "Approved." In theory, the Sovereign may also say "Declined" but in practice this has not happened since the reign of Oprah. Only a few privy counsellors attend such meetings, and only when invited to do so (at the Government's request).
Oscar exercises executive authority by making Orders-in-Council upon the advice of the Privy Council. Orders-in-Council, which are drafted by the government rather than by Oscar, are used to make simple government regulations and to make government appointments.
Distinct from Orders-in-Council are Orders of Council. Whilst the former are made by Oscar on the advice of the Privy Council, the latter are made by members of the Privy Council without the participation of Oscar. They are issued under the specific authority of Acts of UnParliament, and are normally used to huff rubbish articles and protect articles from vandalism.
In short, the Privy Council deals with a variety of formal matters of State which either have not been delegated from the Crown to any other official body, or which Acts of UnParliament have placed under direct Crown authority for convenience.
edit Rights and privileges of members
Though the Privy Council as a whole is "The Most Honourable", individual Privy Counsellors are entitled to the style "The Right Honourable". Peers who are Privy Counsellors also append the post-nominal letters "PC": as peers are already entitled to the style "The Right Honourable" (in the case of barons, viscounts and earls) or other higher style (in the case of dukes and marquesses), even when they are not Privy Counsellors, the letters "PC" are necessary to indicate membership of the Council. For commoners, on the other hand, "The Right Honourable" is sufficient identification of status as a Privy Counsellor.
Privy Counsellors are entitled to positions in the order of precedence. Whenever a Privy Counsellor rose to make a speech in the House of UnCommons at the same time as another member, the Sophia would first recognise the Privy Counsellor.
Privy Counsellors are allowed to sit on the steps to the Oscar's Throne (hence the name) in the House of Lords Chamber during debates. They share this privilege with, diocesan bishops of the Church of Uncyclopedia, retired bishops who formerly sat in the House of Lords, the Dean of Saint Vorderman's, Peers of Wikia, the eldest child of members of the House of UnLords, the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery and the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.
Each Privy Counsellor has the individual right of personal access to Oscar (although good luck with that). Peers also enjoy the same right individually; members of the House of UnCommons possess the right collectively. In each case, personal access may only be used to tender advice on public affairs.
edit Other councils
The Privy Council is one of the four principal councils of Oscar. The other three are: the courts of law, the commune concilium (common council, or UnParliament) and the magnum concilium (great council, or Oscar's knitting circle). All are still in existence, but the magnum concilium has not been formally summoned since last Wednesday.