Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927
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|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2008)|
The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 [17 & 18 Geo. 5 c. 4] was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that authorised the alteration of the British monarch's royal style and titles, and altered the formal name of the British Parliament, in recognition of much of Ireland separating from the United Kingdom as the Irish Free State. It received the Royal Assent on 12 April 1927, and extended to the United Kingdom itself, the Dominions, and the rest of the British Empire.
The Act is also conventionally considered to have altered the formal name of the United Kingdom from "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" to "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", although this change was not explicitly made by the terms of the Act.
Background to the Act 
As a result of the Irish War of Independence, most of Ireland was detached from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1922 as the Irish Free State. However, six north-eastern counties remained part of the UK as Northern Ireland.
At the 1926 Imperial Conference it was agreed by the governments of the United Kingdom and the various Dominions that the existing royal style and titles of their shared monarch "hardly accorded with the altered state of affairs arising from the establishment of the Irish Free State as a Dominion". The Conference concluded that the existing wording (established in 1901) be changed to:
"George V, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India"
Under the existing constitutional arrangements for the Commonwealth, it was necessary for legislation to be passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in order for the royal style and titles to be altered; the resulting Act would then extend automatically to the law of the various Dominions. The British Government introduced the necessary bill into the British House of Commons in March 1927, and easily secured its passage through both Houses of Parliament.
Provisions of the Act 
The Act contained three substantive provisions.
Firstly, the King was authorised to issue a royal proclamation within six months of the Act's passing, authorising him to alter the royal style and titles. Following the precedent set by similar legislation in the past, the Act did not itself set out the form of the new style and titles that were to be adopted.
Secondly, the Act formally renamed the United Kingdom's parliament from "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" to "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Finally, the Act established that the term "United Kingdom", when used in "every Act [of Parliament] passed and public document issued after the passing of this Act", would mean Great Britain and Northern Ireland (unless the context required otherwise).
A royal proclamation was subsequently issued under the terms of the Act on 13 May 1927. The proclamation followed the recommendation of the Imperial Conference by altering the Latin and English forms of the existing royal style and titles, the former by replacing "Britanniarum" with "Magnae Britanniae, Hiberniae", and the latter by replacing "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of" with "Great Britain, Ireland and".
Subsequent developments 
Over the next quarter of the century the relationship between the various members of the Commonwealth continued to evolve. In particular, the outcome of the 1930 Imperial Conference (and the resultant Statute of Westminster 1931), the formal declaration by the Irish state of its republican status and its consequent secession from the Commonwealth, and the request by India that it remain a member of the Commonwealth despite adopting a republican constitution, all altered both the nature and composition of the Commonwealth.
The royal style and titles were altered in 1948, to reflect the independence of India the previous year by omitting the title "Emperor of India". However, the accession of a new monarch (Elizabeth II) in 1952 was taken as an opportunity to completely alter both the form of the style and titles, and the manner in which they would be legislated for; henceforth, each Commonwealth realm would pass its own legislation establishing its own version of the style and titles. The resulting legislation for the United Kingdom and its dependencies was the Royal Style and Titles Act 1953. The reference to "Ireland" in the Royal style and title was not changed to "Northern Ireland" until May 1953.
- Oliver, J. D. B. (2004). "What's in a Name?". In John Tiley (ed.). Studies in the history of tax law. Tax Law History Conference. Oxford ; Portland, Or: Hart Publishing. ISBN 1841134732.
- Imperial Conference, 1926: Summary of Proceedings Cmd 2768, p. 15 (London: HMSO, 1926).
- Cmd 2768, p. 16
- Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927, s. 1
- s. 2(1)
- s. 2(2)
- royal proclamation dated 13 May 1927: The London Gazette (issue no. 33274) of 13 May 1927, p. 3111
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Royal Arms, Styles, and Titles of Great Britain: Documents
(Full text of the 1927 Act and royal proclamation)
See also