The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, having been appointed by Order, was sworn in yesterday as a member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council by The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
The Privy Council goes back to the earliest days of the Monarchy, when it comprised those appointed by the king or queen to advise on matters of state. As the constitution developed into today’s constitutional monarchy, under which the sovereign acts on the advice of ministers, so the Privy Council adapted. Its day to day business is transacted by those of Her Majesty’s Ministers who are Privy Counsellors, that is all Cabinet Ministers and a number of junior Ministers. Membership of the Privy Council brings with it the right to be called ‘Right Honourable’.
The Privy Council still meets regularly, on average once a month, but, as with the Cabinet, most of its business is transacted in discussion and correspondence between its ministerial members and the government departments that advise them.