address to the crown


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address to the crown - Address to the Crown
address to the crown - In Great Britain each session of Parliament is opened by the sovereign or his deputy with a speech. To this both Houses return addresses of thanks, which are usually made the occasion of important debates, especially in the Commons. The form observed in recent years is for two private members to move and second the Address, humbly thanking" the sovereign for his gracious speech, and then for the leader of the Opposition to rise and deal with the policy of the Government. The leader of the Government having replied to these remarks, and if necessary defended himself and his colleagues, the debate becomes general. By moving amendments to the Address members are enabled to ventilate real or imaginary grievances, and to bring up questions for discussion. When, after a week or more of discussion, the Address is voted, it is taken to the sovereign, who returns thanks to the Lords by the Lord Steward, and to the Commons by the Comptroller of the Household. The two Houses also address the sovereign on occasions of special joy or sorrow, such as a birth or death in the royal circle, an escape from death, or a recovery from illness.

This privilege of addressing the sovereign goes back to the origin oi Parliament under Henry III and Edward I, and was for long used in a less formal manner than is the case today. In the reign of Elizabeth, for instance, Parliament addressed her, urging her marriage and a settlement of the succession; the Petition of Right was an address to Charles I, and George III was the recipient of others. As, however, power passed from the king to his ministers, this method of drawing attention to grievances became less necessary. See Parliament; King's Speech.

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