Great Seal of the Realm

The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom (known prior to the Treaty of Union of 1707 as the Great Seal of England; and from then until the Union of 1801 as the Great Seal of Great Britain and Ireland) is a seal that is used to symbolise the Sovereign's approval of important state documents.

Scotland has had its own great seal since the 14th century. The Acts of Union 1707, joining the kingdoms of Scotland and England, provide for the use of a single Great Seal for the united kingdoms. However, it also provides for the continued use of a separate Scottish seal to be used there (this seal continues to be called the "Great Seal of Scotland" though it is not technically one). The Welsh Seal was introduced in 2011.

Sealing wax is melted in a metal mould or matrix and impressed into a wax figure that is attached by cord or ribbon to documents that the Monarch wishes to make official.

The formal keeper of the seal is the Lord High Chancellor.

Edward the Confessor sometime before A.D. 1066 started using a "Great Seal" casting in wax of his own visage to signify that a document carried the force of his will. With some exceptions, each subsequent monarch up to 1603 and the Union of the Crowns which united the crowns of Scotland and England has chosen his or her own design for the Great Seal.

When opening Parliament, on 3 September 1654, the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell was escorted by the three "Commissioners of the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of England", who were Whitelock, Lisle, and Widdrington. This Seal was inscribed with 'The Great Seal of England, 1648', displaying the map of England, Ireland, Jersey, and Guernsey on one side, with the Arms of England and Ireland. On the other side was shown the interior of the House of Commons, the Speaker in the chair, with the inscription, 'In the first year of Freedom, by God's blessing restored, 1648.' In 1655, Cromwell appointed three Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland, Richard Pepys, Chief Justice of the Upper Bench, Sir Gerard Lowther, Chief Justice of the Common Bench; and Miles Corbet, Chief Baron of the Exchequer. But they held the seal only until 1656, when Cromwell nominated William Steele, Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer in England, Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

This page was last edited on 3 April 2018, at 16:29.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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