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Lord Privy Seal

The Lord Privy Seal or Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal is one of the traditional sinecure offices in the British Cabinet. Originally, its holder was responsible for the monarch's personal ("privy") seal (as opposed to the Great Seal of state, which is in the care of the Lord Chancellor).

Though one of the oldest offices in government anywhere, since it has no particular function today the office has generally been used as a kind of Minister without Portfolio. Since the end of the prime ministership of Margaret Thatcher, the position of Lord Privy Seal has frequently been combined with that of Leader of the House of Lords. The jocular clarification that the office holder is neither a lord, nor a privy, nor a seal, though sometimes credited to Edward Heath, was attributed by him to Ernest Bevin (this pithy comment echoes that of Voltaire on the Holy Roman Empire - namely that is was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire).

The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State, beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain.

Lords Privy Seal, 1307-Present

See also

Last updated: 07-31-2005 17:03:39
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