Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council is a body of advisors to the Monarch of the United Kingdom. Its members are largely senior politicians, who were or are members of either the House of Commons or House of Lords of the United Kingdom.

The Privy Council's history reaches back to the Norman conquest of England, although it has evolved into a more formal and regulated body in the ensuing centuries.

Privy Council in Ruled BritanniaEdit

Queen Elizabeth made liberal use of the Privy Council during her first reign. Depending on circumstance and political fortunes, the size and make-up of the council varied over the thirty years between Elizabeth's 1558 coronation and her deposition at the hands of Spain after it conquered England in 1588. The one constant on the Council throughout that period was Sir William Cecil.

When the Spanish conquered England, the Privy Council was decimated; those ministers who failed to escape England and find asylum in one of the Protestant countries of Europe were executed by the Spaniards. However, Spain's King Philip II decreed that Cecil would be allowed to live in England unmolested. Cecil used this protection to plan a revolt against the Spanish puppet monarchs Queen Isabella and King Albert.

Following the success of this uprising (which was led by the by then-deceased Cecil's son, Robert) the Privy Council could not be immediately reassembled. Elizabeth, upon being restored to power late in 1598, appointed Robert Cecil her Secretary of State, and he became her lone important adviser, though Sir Robert Devereux also gained some influence at court.