A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a state, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The term "privy" (from French privé) signifies private or secret. Consequently, a privy council, more common in the past, existed as a group of a ruling monarch's most trusted court advisors. Its purpose was to consistently provide confidential advice on matters of state. Despite the abolition of monarchy, some privy councils remained operational, while others were individually disbanded, allowing the monarchical system to continue to exist without a secret crown council.

Privy councils

Functioning privy councils

Government Privy Council
Belgium Belgium Crown Council of Belgium
Bhutan Bhutan Privy Council of Bhutan
Brunei Brunei Privy Council of Brunei
Cambodia Cambodia Supreme Privy Advisory Council
Canada Canada King's Privy Council for Canada
Denmark Denmark Danish Council of State
Monaco Monaco Crown Council of Monaco
Netherlands Netherlands Dutch Council of State
Norway Norway Norwegian Council of State
Romania Romania Crown Council of Romania
Spain Spain Spanish Council of State
Thailand Thailand Privy Council of Thailand
Tonga Tonga Privy Council of Tonga
United Kingdom United Kingdom His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council

Former or dormant privy councils

Monarchy Privy Council Notes
Austrian Empire/Austria-Hungary Geheimrat Abolished 1919
Bermuda Privy Council of Bermuda Split in 1888
Empire of Brazil His Imperial Majesty's Council Honorific title, some were part of the Council of Ministers or the Council of State; abolished by a coup in 1889[1]
Konbaung dynasty (Burma) Byedaik Abolished 1885
Qing dynasty (China) Grand Council Abolished 1898
Kingdom of England Privy Council of England Replaced by the Privy Council of Great Britain on 1 May 1708[2][3]
Ethiopian Empire Crown Council of Ethiopia Abolished 1974, revived in pretence 1987[citation needed]
Kingdom of France Conseil du Roi Abolished 1791 and replaced by the Conseil d'État
German Empire Geheimrat Abolished 1918
Kingdom of Greece Council of State Established in 1835; abolished in 1865, re-established in 1929 as the senior administrative court of Greece
Electorate of Hanover Privy Council of Hanover Abolished 1866
Kingdom of Hawaiʻi Privy Council of the Hawaiian Kingdom Abolished after the Hawaiʻi became a republic in 1893
Kingdom of Ireland Privy Council of Ireland Retained following the coming into effect of the Act of Union 1800, but became dormant from 1922
Empire of Japan Privy Council of Japan Abolished 1947
Kingdom of Laos King's Council Abolished 1975
Kingdom of Nepal Rajsabha Monarchy abolished on 28 May 2008
Habsburg Netherlands Geheime Raad or Conseil Privé Established in 1531. Abolished for the final time in 1794
Nguyễn dynasty (Vietnam) Viện cơ mật Abolished in 1945 with the abolition of the monarchy
Northern Ireland Privy Council of Northern Ireland Made dormant 1972
Kingdom of Portugal His Most Faithful Majesty's Council Monarchy abolished in 1910
Russian Empire Supreme Privy Council Abolished 1730
Electorate of Saxony Privy Council of Saxony Established in 1697 to administer jurisdiction over Lutheran institutions on behalf of the Elector who had converted to Catholicism[citation needed]
Kingdom of Scotland Privy Council of Scotland Abolished on 1 May 1708, replaced by the Privy Council of Great Britain[2][3][4]
Sweden Privy Council of Sweden Abolished 1789
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Privy Council of Yugoslavia Abolished 1945, revived in pretence 1990 and replaced by the Privy Council of Serbia in 2006[citation needed]
Sultanate of Sulu Ruma Bichara (State Council) Abolished after Spanish colonization of the Philippines

See also


  1. ^ Coradini, Odaci Luiz (February 1997). "Grandes Famílias e Elite 'Profissional' na Medicina no Brasil" [Important Families and the 'Professional' Elite within Brazilian Medicine]. História, Ciências, Saúde—Manguinhos (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. III (3): 425–466.
  2. ^ a b O'Gorman, Frank (2016). The Long Eighteenth Century: British Political and Social History 1688–1832. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 65. ISBN 9781472507747.
  3. ^ a b Black, Jeremy (1993). The politics of Britain, 1688-1800. Manchester University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0719037611.
  4. ^ "Privy Council Records". National Records of Scotland. Archived from the original on 9 January 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2017.