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The royal sign-manual is the signature of the sovereign, by the affixing of which the monarch expresses his or her pleasure either by order, commission, or warrant. A sign-manual warrant may be either an executive act (for example, an appointment to an office), or an authority for affixing the Great Seal of the pertinent realm. The sign-manual is also used to give power to make and ratify treaties.Sign manual, with or without hyphen, is an old term for a handwritten signature in general. It is also referred to as sign manual and signet.
The royal sign-manual usually consists of the sovereign's regnal name (without number, if otherwise used), followed by the letter R for Rex (king) or Regina (queen). Thus, the signs-manual of both Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II read Elizabeth R. When the British monarch was also Emperor or Empress of India, the sign manual ended with R I, for Rex Imperator or Regina Imperatrix (king-emperor or queen-empress).
When the future George IV, then the Prince of Wales, became regent on behalf of his incapacitated father, George III, the Regency Act 1811 expressly directed that the prince should sign "George P R", the initials standing for Princeps Regens meaning prince regent .
Some letters patent are not signed by the monarch in person. Instead, the monarch signs a warrant authorizing the preparation of the letters patent (traditionally written in ceremonial calligraphy on vellum) and approving the draft text of the letters patent. Then, once the letters patent are prepared, they are sealed with the Great Seal without the need for the signature of the monarch, because royal authority for issuing the letters patent had already been given by means of the warrant. Those letters patent finish with the words "By warrant under the King/Queen's Sign Manual", to signify that they do not bear the sign-manual themselves, having already been approved by warrant signed by the sovereign.
Other letters patent, due to the nature of their contents (such as those that authorise the expenditure of money, or those that signify royal assent to Acts of Parliament), require the royal sign-manual to be affixed directly to them. Such letters patent contain, at the bottom, the words: "By the King/Queen Him/Herself, signed with His/Her own hand". The royal sign-manual is usually placed by the sovereign at the top of the document. These papers usually must be countersigned by a principal secretary of state or other responsible minister.
In some cases, the use of the sign-manual has been dispensed with and a stamp affixed in lieu thereof, as in the case of George IV, whose bodily infirmity made the act of signing difficult and painful during the last weeks of his life. The Royal Signature by Commission Act 1830 (11 Geo. IV & 1 Will. IV c. 23) was passed providing that a stamp might be affixed in lieu of the sign-manual, but the sovereign had to express his consent to each separate use of the stamp, the stamped document being attested by a confidential servant and several officers of State.
According to article 47of the constitution of the Netherlands, all Acts of Parliament and Royal Decrees have to be signed by the King and by one or more Ministers or State Secretaries (called a countersign). No one else can sign on behalf of the King. When he is abroad, he can sign using a tablet computer, but will still sign the paper original upon his return.
George IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later. He had already been serving as Prince Regent since 1811, during his father's final mental illness.
Royal assent is the method by which a monarch formally approves an act of the legislature, either directly or through an official acting on the monarch's behalf. In some jurisdictions, royal assent is equivalent to promulgation, while in others that is a separate step. Under a modern constitutional monarchy, royal assent is considered little more than a formality. Even in nations such as the United Kingdom, Norway and Liechtenstein which still, in theory, permit their Monarch to withhold assent to laws, the Monarch almost never does so, except in a dire political emergency or on advice of government. While the power to veto by withholding royal assent was once exercised often by European monarchs, such an occurrence has been very rare since the eighteenth century.
The lord chancellor, formally the lord high chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking among the great officers of state in the United Kingdom, nominally outranking the prime minister. The lord chancellor is appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the prime minister. Prior to their Union into the Kingdom of Great Britain, there were separate lord chancellors for the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland; there were lord chancellors of Ireland until 1922.
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch, president, or other head of state, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation. Letters patent can be used for the creation of corporations or government offices, or for granting city status or a coat of arms. Letters patent are issued for the appointment of representatives of the Crown, such as governors and governors-general of Commonwealth realms, as well as appointing a Royal Commission. In the United Kingdom they are also issued for the creation of peers of the realm.
The Great Seal of the Irish Free State is either of two seals affixed to certain classes of official documents of the Irish Free State :
The Great Seal of Canada is a governmental seal used for purposes of state in Canada, being set on letters patent, proclamations and commissions, both to representatives of the Queen and for the appointment of cabinet ministers, senators, and judges. Many other officials, such as officers in the Canadian Armed Forces, receive commissions affixed with the Privy Seal, not the great seal. It is not for sealing up a document as letters close. Although not an official symbol of Canada the seal is one of the oldest and most honoured instruments of the Canadian government.
The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom is a seal that is used to symbolise the Sovereign's approval of state documents.
The Regency Acts are Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed at various times, to provide a regent in the event of the reigning monarch being incapacitated or a minor. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were passed only when necessary to deal with a specific situation. In 1937, the Regency Act 1937 made general provision for a regent, and established the office of Counsellor of State, several of whom would act on the monarch's behalf when the monarch was temporarily absent from the realm. This Act forms the main law relating to regency in the United Kingdom today.
A royal warrant is a document issued by a monarch which confers rights or privileges on the recipient, or has the effect of law.
The Clerk of the Crown in Chancery in Great Britain is a senior civil servant who is the head of the Crown Office.
A commission is a formal document issued to appoint a named person to high office or as a commissioned officer in a territory's armed forces. A commission constitutes documentary authority that the person named is vested with the powers of that office and is empowered to execute official acts. A commission often takes the form of letters patent.
The monarchy of Canada forms the core of each Canadian provincial jurisdiction's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy, being the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government in each province. The monarchy has been headed since February 6, 1952 by Queen Elizabeth II who as sovereign is shared equally with both the Commonwealth realms and the Canadian federal entity. She, her consort, and other members of the Canadian Royal Family undertake various public and private functions across the country. However, the Queen is the only member of the Royal Family with any constitutional role.
The Monarchy of Barbados is a system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of Barbados. The current Barbadian monarch and head of state, since the independence of Barbados on 30 November 1966, is Queen Elizabeth II. As the sovereign, she is the personal embodiment of the Barbadian Crown. Although the person of the sovereign is equally shared with 15 other independent countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, each country's monarchy is separate and legally distinct. As a result, the current monarch is officially titled Queen of Barbados and, in this capacity, she and other members of the Royal Family undertake public and private functions domestically and abroad as representatives of the Barbadian state. However, the Queen is the only member of the Royal Family with any constitutional role. The Queen lives in the United Kingdom and, while several powers are the sovereign's alone, most of the royal governmental and ceremonial duties in Barbados are carried out by the Queen's representative, the governor-general.
The monarchy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, forming the core of the country's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The Crown is thus is the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Vincentian government. While Royal Assent and the royal sign-manual are required to enact laws, letters patent, and orders in council, the authority for these acts stems from the Vincentian populace, and, within the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, the sovereign's direct participation in any of these areas of governance is limited, with most related powers entrusted for exercise by the elected and appointed parliamentarians, the ministers of the Crown generally drawn from amongst them, and the judges and Justices of the Peace.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy whose Sovereign also serves as Monarch of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and eleven other former dependencies of the United Kingdom including Papua New Guinea, which was formerly a dependency of Australia. These countries operate as independent nations, and are known as Commonwealth realms. The history of the Australian monarchy has involved a shifting relationship with both the monarch and also the British government.
The Head of the British Armed Forces, also known as Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces, refers to the supreme command authority of the British Armed Forces, a military role vested in the monarch of the United Kingdom, currently Queen Elizabeth II. Under British constitutional law the command and government of the British armed forces is vested in the Queen and as such she holds the highest office in the military chain of command. The authority to issue orders and give commands to military personnel is delegated by the Queen to her commanders in the Field, however she does retain the right to issue orders personally.
The Letters Patent, 1947 are letters patent signed by George VI as King of Canada which reconstituted the office of Governor General of Canada under the terms of the Constitution Act, 1867. The letters were signed on 8 September 1947 and have been in effect since 1 October 1947, replacing the previous letters patent issued in 1931, to expand the role and powers of the governor general in exercising the royal prerogative and allow her or him to carry out an increased number of the Sovereign's duties in "exceptional circumstances". While the letters patent allow the governor general to use most of the "powers and authorities" lawfully belonging to the Sovereign, this permission can be revoked, altered, or amended by the sovereign at any time and these powers and authorities thus remain with the monarch and are carried out by the governor general on his or her behalf.
The Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor-General of New Zealand is a royal decree and a part of the uncodified New Zealand constitution. Sometimes known as the Letters Patent 1983, the instrument has been amended twice since its original issue in 1983. The letters patent—essentially an open letter from the monarch that is a legal instrument—constitutes the office of governor-general as the monarch's representative in the Realm of New Zealand, vests executive authority in the governor-general, establishes the Executive Council to advise the governor-general, and makes provision for the exercise of the governor-general's powers should the office be vacant.
The Crown Office, also known as the Crown Office in Chancery, is a section of the Ministry of Justice. It has custody of the Great Seal of the Realm, and has certain administrative functions in connection with the courts and the judicial process, as well as functions relating to the electoral process for House of Commons elections, to the keeping of the Roll of the Peerage, and to the preparation of royal documents such as warrants required to pass under the royal sign-manual, fiats, letters patent, etc. In legal documents, the Crown Office refers to the office of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery.
Letters Patent, in the United Kingdom, are legal instruments generally issued by the monarch granting an office, right, title, or status to a person. Letters Patent have also been used for the creation of corporations or offices, for granting city status, for granting coat of arms and for granting royal assent.