Tudor - Elizabeth's Governmnet (The Privy Council (The functions of…
Tudor - Elizabeth's Governmnet
The Privy Council
What is the Privy council?
They were the Queen's advisers.
How did Elizabeth change the Privy Council from Mary's one?
It was expected she would change the Privy Council to those who shared similar views and to those who support her. She also reduced the Council to only 20 members which meant she could control them and reduce the power of the traditional nobility.
Who did Elizabeth pick to be in her Privy Council?
She liked picking those who had proven their loyalty to the Tudor dynasty. This could be through personal service to Elizabeth or because they came from an established family. Elizabeth developed a core set of professional men who gave her confidence and these served for long periods of time. This improved the effectiveness and unity of the Council.
A critic of this is historian Haigh. He argues that by excluding the nobility and the church, she made the Privy Council unrepresentative of the ruling elite. This undermines the Councils values (to advise) and provoked resentment among courtiers (members of the Privy Council) as there were limited opportunities to progress or advance. He claims that the small membership meant that there was no a range in debates and there was no one there that was likely to challenge her views.
The functions of the Privy Council
Background information: The traditional functions were kept that that been used by previous monarchs. The workload of the Privy Council increased during her reign as they needed to administer Elizabethan church and deal with the complex foreign policy.
Another explanation for the increased workload was that it had more petitions (requests for help from individuals). Those who had enough money and had a lot of influence could approach the Council directly with their complaints. The councillors discouraged this but ultimately they had to do it. This was because it was part of their administrative control of local life. During her reign, meetings got longer and more frequent. During the crisis years (when England was at war with Spain
Gave advice to the monarch. One key area was debate was policy towards the Netherlands because their was no agreement among the members over how to check the growth of Spanish power in that region.
This was the most dramatic role as sometimes it could bring those into direct confrontation of the Queen.
It administrated public policy. They maintained a network of contacts at national and local level in which they ensured laws and instructions were being implemented.
This was the most important as it made sure the Elizabethan system was working.
It co-ordinated the work of other parts of the government.
It acted as a royal court of law through the prerogative courts which members of the Privy Council staffed.
Examples of the work of the Privy Council
January 1567 - Instructions to the Treasury to settle debts for 2 plays Elizabeth had attended over Christmas.
November 1574 - Instructions to arrest a Catholic troublemaker in Lancashire.