A Royal Commission consists of three or more (usually
five) Commissioners, including the Lord Chancellor and Lord Speaker,
who are Privy Counsellors appointed by Letters Patent to perform
certain functions on the Queen's behalf. These functions include:
- proceedings at the opening of a new Parliament
in connection with the election of a Speaker by the Commons (see
appendix F, page 217);
- proceedings at the opening of Parliament
when the Queen is not present (see appendix G, page 220);
- proceedings in relation to the giving of Royal
Assent to bills (see appendix H, page 223);
- proceedings at the prorogation of Parliament
(see appendix J, page 224).
Proceedings on Royal Commissions differ in their
details but share common characteristics, which are described
in this appendix. Appendices F-J describe the differences.
Entry of Commissioners
The Lords Commissioners enter the Chamber by the
door on the Spiritual side near the Throne, all in their Parliament
robes and all except the Lord Chancellor wearing their cocked
hats. They take their seats on a form placed between the Throne
and the Woolsack. The Lord Chancellor puts on his tricorn hat.
The Lord Chancellor sits in the centre; the senior in precedence
of the other Lords Commissioners sits on his right and the next
senior on his left, the remaining two in order of seniority on
the right and left of these respectively.
Summoning the Commons
The Lord Chancellor commands the Gentleman Usher
of the 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 is named, and the
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 Lord Chancellor leaves the Chamber by the door
on the spiritual side near the Throne. Then the Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms
takes up the Mace from the Woolsack and the Lord Speaker leaves
the House by the Bar. The remaining Commissioners leave the Chamber
by the door on the spiritual side near the Throne, and disrobe.
515 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