Royal Government 101

Questions, reference, and curiosities

Royal Government 101

Postby Matt » Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:10 am

The question has been raised: just what is a "Lord Chancellor?" It seems to me the answer might be valuable in public, if only to give my interpretation of the office.

Royal government compared to a modern democracy is rather simple, in essence there are four 'departments,' all of which serve to assist the sovereign in governing the realm. That's an important point - the great officers of the realm exist to provide the bureaucratic machinery of governance. They serve at the monarch's pleasure.

Essentially, this bureaucracy falls into four main categories:

Lord Chamberlain

The chamberlain is primarily responsible for the king's household. This includes the people as well as the physical infrastructure. Whether it be the king's food, his clothing, his horses, his furniture, the chamberlain has charge of it. The chamberlain is also responsible for diplomacy and foreign affairs. He usually moves with the monarch in peregrinations about the kingdom. This officer can be very powerful - controlling access to the monarch - or very weak depending on the way the monarch manages this part of his government.

Lord Chancellor

The chancellor is "first among equals" in the kingdom, and can be considered the 'executive officer' of the crown. He is responsible for the court system, the execution of the law, and oversees justice throughout the realm, including the cities. Major officers like the Lord Advocate (represents the king's interest in court) and the Inquisitor General (chief prosecutor of the realm) report to the chancellor. The chancellor is the keeper of the Great Seal of the kingdom, without which the sovereign's orders would not carry the weight of law outside the range of his voice. The Great Seal does not move - it usually stays in the capital with the Lord Chancellor. A lesser officer, known as the Lord Privy Seal, moves with the monarch, using the privy seal to authenticate the king's commands, which are then transmitted to the capital to be sealed with the Great Seal.

Chancellor of the Exchequer

This officer is responsible for the finances of the royal government. He oversees taxes, makes disbursements, and is basically the CFO of the realm. Customs and inspection, as well as the minting of coinage are under the purview of this officer. He also oversees royal lands and infrastructure.

Lord Marshal

The chief military officer of the kingdom - this officer is in command of the royal army, navy, and any facilities or people which support them. Some kingdoms, like Melderyn and Kaldor, do not have a Marshal, the office being held by the king.

Others

There are also the sheriffs, whose primary role is to act as the king's representative in the shires. In this capacity, they do a little of everything - lead soldiers, collect revenues, sit as judges. A sheriff can be very powerful, but as other officers of state, serves at the pleasure of the monarch.

Similar to sheriffs, but with fewer duties are the wardens of provinces. These are less settled or perhaps barbarian areas, which require primarily a military presence but little else in the way of royal government. Such lands are not called shires but marches.

Typically, the captain or marshal of the royal guard will be a separate military entity from the Lord Marshal and will be under the personal command of the monarch.

Hope that's helpful - please feel free to post here for clarifications etc.
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Matt
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