The Royal Law

Source of our Freedom Today

L. L. Blake

ISBN: 9780856831911 - Hardback

Dimensions: 128pp - 210 x 148mm - Coronation Service reproduced in two colours


From Reviews

“The richness of thought and quotation contained in this small volume (only 120 pages all told) as well as its most pleasing typography and presentation, make it a study that anyone with claims to hold intelligent views on government and monarchy, cannot possibly afford to ignore.”   Church of England Newspaper

“This is a timely, wide-ranging and deeply argued book, considerably larger of mind than suggested by the number of pages it occupies. It should be required reading for all lawyers and Members of Parliament, but no one who reads it will lack of the comfort of wisdom, or the hope of possible political recovery.”                            Catholic Herald 

“A valuable and timely study of a significant aspect of our constitutional history.”    This England

“This book is to be recommended for its unembarrassed stand in favour of divine and natural law as the foundation of civil law, and for its presentation of the often neglected arguments for monarchy.”                        The Catholic Weekly, Australia

“Monarchy is the last natural expression of the sacred nature of humankind that remains with us, and L.L. Blake makes a strong case for retaining that foundation and resisting facile arguments for Republicanism which have no solid ground.”    Temenos Academy Review

“This whole book deserves the highest praise, both for the amount of information and rich quotation, its inspired and thoughtful arguments, and not least for its quite unusual excellence of its printing and production. I do not know when I last held a book that was so much pleasure to handle as well as to read.”    Faith and Heritage

“It is a delightful and compelling read and deserves to rank among the classics of English constitutional literature. Not least because it also demonstrates how the English genius has drawn on an understanding of laws higher than any human laws to confer political freedom and stability on generations of people.”             Economic Monitor

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The title of the book is taken from words addressed to the Sovereign during the coronation service which, the author points out, plays a much more important part in the life of our nation than is generally recognised. It is not just an empty ceremony but the occasion when Divine Law is acknowledged as the source of all our law. The service reminds, not only the monarch but all those assembled in Westminster Abbey (with television, the audience is worldwide) of a basic tenet of the British constitution, expressed by the 13th century lawyer Bracton as: ‘The King [or Queen] must be under no man but under God and the law, for the law makes the King’. The barons in forcing King John to sign Magna Carta were insisting that he abide by the law and his coronation oath.

This principle has frequently been compared, down the ages, with the Justinian precept, ‘What pleases the prince has the force of law’, which lies behind continental, Roman law. The civil freedom we enjoy in Britain today stems from Bracton’s statement, which regulates all our public servants, from prime minister to police officer, and which has enabled us to give freedom under law to large parts of the world – whereas in Brussels, what pleases the Commissioners has the force of law.

Writing after the Second World War, where Britain had been fighting to preserve the rule of law, Professor R W Chambers emphasised the importance of this principle enshrined in our coronation service: “Upon that difference – whether or not we place Divine Law in the last resort above the law of the State – depends the whole future of the world”.

The book also shows that there is government behind government, with a greater purpose and permanence than the changing spectrum of party political strife. This government consists of institutions, mostly of medieval origin, the monarchy, parliament, common law, jury system, church, universities and armed forces. The powers working through these institutions (which meet in the House of Lords) are made available to the government of the day, and may be retracted if and when they are abused – as the prime minister of Australia discovered in 1975.

Large extracts from Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation service are contained in an appendix plus an Anglo-Saxon document entitled Institutes of Polity, Civil and Ecclesiastical.

Author Details:
L.L. Blake, is a barrister, writer and lecturer on legal and constitutional affairs. His previous books include: Young People’s Book of the Constitution, Young People’s Book of Law, The Prince and the Professor and Sovereignty: Power beyond Politics.

Keyword: Law, Monarchy

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