Scotland in The Early Modern Era - Government - Privy Council

Privy Council

Until 1707, The Privy Council met in what is now the West Drawing Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. By the early modern era the Privy Council was a full-time body and critical to the smooth running of government. Its primary function was judicial, but it also acted as a body of advisers to the king and as a result its secondary function was as an executive in the absence or minority of the monarchy. After James VI departure to England in 1603, it functioned as a subservient executive carrying out his instructions from London. Although the theoretical membership of the council was relatively large, at around thirty persons, most of the business was carried out by an informal inner group consisting mainly of the officers of state. After the Restoration, Charles II nominated his own privy councillors and set up a council in London through which he directed affairs in Edinburgh, a situation that continued after the Glorious Revolution of 1688–9. The council was abolished after the Act of Union on 1 May 1708.

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