The Importance of the Privy Council

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  • Created on: 09-05-16 20:54
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  • The Importance of the Privy Council
    • The Privy Council was developed from a group of advisors who accompanied the monarch as the court moved from place to place.
    • During Henry VIII's reign, Cromwell reduced its size to 19 members and made it more effective.
    • It became most effective under the reign of Elizabeth I.
    • Although Elizabeth did not attend the meetings herself, the councilors met regularly and so were in immediate control of issues and could quickly respond to crises.
    • She also reduced the size of the Council to 19 members, as Mary had increased its numbers to 50.
      • This tightened the system and made it more effective.
    • The Privy Councilors were involved in array of government areas and issues proclamations on behalf of the Queen.
    • They also monitored the enforcement of statutes.
      • Although Elizabeth consulted widely, she was the monarch and ruled.
      • On many occasions Elizabeth ignored the advise they provided.
      • Sir William Cecil was Elizabeth's Chief Advisor.
      • He had past experience in government under the reign of Northumberland and Mary.
      • He was a maker of policy with the Queen and his fellow Councilors, but he also enforced policy.
      • He believed Catholic powers were planning to overthrow the Queen, and so was prepared to punish anyone who betrayed her.
        • For this reason he was one of the prime movers in the trial of MQS.
      • He held the positions of Principal Secretary, Lord Treasurer and Chief Minister.
      • He was devoted to his Queen, and was 'everywhere and everything in Elizabeth's government'
      • However, he was not the only advisor to whom Elizabeth paid heed.


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