In order for a bill to be passed, it is necessary to obtain the “royal assent” (the “Royal Assent”) of the monarch. The law is then promulgated in old French. How to explain it? Le Figaro invites you to discover it.
The Queen of England promulgated the law obliging Boris Johnson to apply to the European Union for a three-month postponement of Brexit if no agreement is reached with Brussels before 31 October. Few know, but once the royal consent is given, the law is then announced by the “Clerk of the Parliament” in these terms: “Reyne vault”. How to explain that English law is promulgated in Old French?
To understand it, we have to go back in time. In the year 1066, exactly, at the time of the Norman conquest of England. It resulted, among other things, in the spread of the Norman language, even in institutional texts. Indeed, the new English elites came from the entourage of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy who became King of England.
The laws of England were written in old Norman-French since the Middle Ages, under the reign of Henry III and Edward I. It was not until the accession to the throne of Henry IV in 1399 that was the first king to speak English three centuries after the conquest. Because until then, French was the language of elites and administration. It was from the end of the fifteenth century and more precisely in 1483 that the House of Lords adopted English as the official language.
However, some formulas have survived and become traditional. This is the case of “The Reyne (or the King) wants it”. According to the BBC, once a bill (a bill) passes third reading in the House of Commons, it is transcribed by a secretary and sent to the House of Lords. This official document opens with these words: “Be yawned to the Lords”. The verb “yawn”, as recalled by The Treasury of the French language, means “give, deliver, deliver, present”.
“No monarch has refused to enact a law for more than two centuries”
The Lords, therefore, review the text before returning it to the House of Commons with this other wording, as the English newspaper The Independent reminds us: “At this ball [with which amendmens] the Lords have assented.” From the archaic verb “to assent “,” Give his assent to “. Then, when members of the House of Commons accept the bill, they make it follow this last sentence: “To these amendments [with which an amendment] Commons are assent”.
Finally, the text must receive royal assent (the Royal Assent ) from the monarch. “An act by which he promulgates a bill passed by Parliament,” notes Benoît Pilet in his book European democracies. “It’s a convention of our political landscape where there is no constitution. No monarch has refused to do so for over two centuries, “said Sarah Pickard, author of the British Civilization (Pocket). As Geoffrey Rivlin writes in his book First Steps in the Law, once the Queen’s legislative document is signed, the Clerk of the Crown announces the title of each law to be adopted. Then, the “Clerk of the Parliament” answers: “La Reyne vault”.