Prime Minister Douglas appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council

“I would like to take this opportunity to warmly congratulate the Prime Minister, Dr. Douglas, on his appointment by Her Majesty the Queen to Her Majesty’s Privy Council,” said Mr. Brummell, in remarks read on his behalf by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Her Excellency Roslyn Hazelle.

With the appointment, the words “Right Honorable” are now prefixed to the Prime Minister’s formal name.

Her Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom. Its membership is mostly made up of senior politicians who are (or have been) members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

The Privy Council, the modern-day successor to the Privy Council of England, was formerly a powerful institution, but its policy decisions are now exclusively in the hands of one of its committees, the Cabinet. 

The Council formally advises the Sovereign on the exercise of the Royal Prerogative, and together (as the Queen in Council) they issue executive instruments known as Orders in Council, which amongst other things are used to make Regulations.

The Council by itself also has a delegated authority to issue Orders of Council, which are mostly used to regulate certain public institutions. The Council also advises the Sovereign on the issuing of Royal Charters, which are used to grant special status to incorporated bodies, and city or borough status to local authorities.

Certain judicial functions are also performed by the Queen in Council, although in practice the actual work of hearing and deciding upon cases is carried out exclusively by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The Judicial Committee consists of senior judges appointed as Privy Counselors: Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, judges of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, judges of the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland, judges of the Inner House of the Court of Session (the supreme civil court in Scotland), and judges from various other Commonwealth member states. 

Prime Ministers of some other Commonwealth countries which retain the Queen as their sovereign continue to be sworn as Privy Counselors

The Sovereign may appoint anyone a Privy Counselor, but in practice appointments are made only on the advice of the British Government, and generally consist only of senior members of parliament, the church and judiciary. There is no limit to the numbers sworn in as members.

As of August 2008 there are 538 members. However, the members have no right to attend all meetings of the Privy Council, and only some are summoned to each meeting (in practice at the Prime Minister’s discretion).

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