A Royal Commission consists of three or more (usually
five) Commissioners, who are Privy Counsellors appointed by Letters
Patent to perform certain functions on the Queen's behalf. These
at the opening of a new Parliament in connection with the election
of a Speaker by the Commons (see appendix D);
at the Opening of Parliament
when the Queen is not present (see appendix E);
in relation to the giving of Royal Assent to bills (see appendix
at the prorogation of Parliament (see appendix G).
A minister of the Crown of cabinet rank normally
presides. The Commissioners wear robes and (optionally for female
Proceedings on Royal Commissions differ in their
details but share common characteristics, which are described
in this appendix. Appendices D-G describe the differences.
Entry of Commissioners
The Lords Commissioners enter the Chamber by the
door on the spiritual side near the Throne. They take their seats
on a form placed between the Throne and the Woolsack. The presiding
Commissioner sits in the centre; the senior in precedence of the
other Lords Commissioners sits on his or her right and the next
senior on his or her left, the remaining two in order of seniority
on the right and left of these respectively.
Summoning the Commons
The presiding Commissioner commands Black Rod:
"Let the Commons know that
the Lords Commissioners desire their immediate attendance in this
House [to hear the Commission read]."
Black Rod summons the Commons.
The Commons proceed from their Chamber and advance
to the Bar of the House of Lords, bowing three times, the first
time at the step, the second time midway between the step and
the Bar, the third time at the Bar. Each bow is acknowledged by
the Lords Commissioners. Male Commissioners raise their hats;
women Commissioners do not.
Reading the Commission
The Commission is read by the Reading Clerk at the
Table. He bows to each Lord Commissioner as he names them, and
a male Commissioner responds by raising his hat. Women Commissioners
keep their hats on.
Departure of the Commons
The Commons withdraw, with three bows which are acknowledged
as on their arrival.
Departure of Commissioners
The Commissioners, led by the presiding Commissioner,
leave the Chamber by the door on the spiritual side near the Throne,
584 Either a new Parliament or a new session. Back
These words are added on the first day of a new Parliament, or
if Parliament is to be prorogued. Back