Great Seal of the Realm

Great Seal Of The Realm

Great Seal of the Realm

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The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom (prior to the Treaty of Union the Great Seal of England, then until the Union of 1801 the Great Seal of Great Britain) is a seal that is used to symbolise the Sovereign's approval of important state documents. Sealing wax is melted in a metal mould or matrix and impressed into a wax figure that is attached by cord or ribbon to documents that the monarch wishes to make official.


Edward the Confessor sometime before 1066 started using a Great Seal casting in wax of his own visage to signify that a document carried the force of his will. With some exceptions, each subsequent British monarch has chosen his or her own design for the Great Seal.

When opening Parliament, on 3 September 1654, Oliver Cromwell was escorted by the three Commissioners of the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of England, Whitelock, Lisle, and Widdrington. This Seal was inscribed with 'The Great Seal of England, 1648', displaying the map of England, Ireland, Jersey, and Guernsey on one side, with the Arms of England and Ireland. On the other side was shown the interior of the House of Commons, the Speaker in the chair, with the inscription, 'In the first year of Freedom, by God's blessing restored, 1648.'In 1655, Cromwell appointed three Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland, Richard Pepys, Chief Justice of the Upper Bench, Sir Gerard Lowther, Chief Justice of the Common Bench; and Miles Corbet, Chief Baron of the Exchequer....
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