Court of St James's

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The Court of St James's is the royal court for the Sovereign of the United Kingdom.[1]

All Ambassadors and High Commissioners to the United Kingdom are formally received by the Court, and all Ambassadors and High Commissioners from the United Kingdom are formally accredited from the Court, not the United Kingdom, as they are representatives of The Crown.[1]

The Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps (before 1920, Master of the Ceremonies), who acts as the link between the British monarch and foreign diplomatic missions, is permanently based at St James's Palace.[2] In 1886, there were only six Ambassadors in London, with 37 other countries represented by Ministers.[3] By 2015, this had increased to 175 foreign missions accredited to the Court of St James's:[4] 47 high commissions from Commonwealth countries and 128 embassies from non-Commonwealth countries.[4]

Official meetings and receptions associated with the court, such as Privy Council meetings or the annual Diplomatic Reception attended by 1,500 guests, are held wherever the Queen is in residence – usually Buckingham Palace.[5]


The court is named after St James's Palace, hence the 's at the end of the name. This is because St James's is the most senior royal palace[2] and has remained the official residence of the British Monarchy[1] despite the nearby Buckingham Palace becoming the main London residence of all the British sovereigns since the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.[2][5] When the court's name is spoken, it is sometimes incorrectly identified as the Court of St James, without a separate "iz" pronunciation for the possessive apostrophe-ess suffix.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "History of St. James's Palace". The Official Website of the British Monarchy. August 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c "St. James's Palace". The Official Website of the British Monarchy. August 2008. 
  3. ^ "Ambassadors' credentials". The Official Website of the British Monarchy. August 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Foreign embassies in the UK". UK Government. January 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Buckingham Palace". The Official Website of the British Monarchy. August 2008. 
  6. ^ Lister, David (31 August 1996). "You say St James', I say St James's. We are in a muddle over". The Independent. Retrieved 6 October 2016.