Why Doesn’t The Queen Need A Passport To Travel?

Queen Elizabeth II

by Katie Rosseinsky |
Published on

For us mere commoners, summer trips aboard mean one thing: the inevitable last minute scramble to extricate your passport from the ‘safe’ hideaway in which you stowed it last September. As you’d expect, things are somewhat different for Her Majesty, who, despite regularly travelling abroad to fulfil her royal duties, is not actually required to hold a passport.

Unlike many of the rules and regulations which the Royal Family must follow (such as the law which ensures that Prince Harry will have to seek permission from his grandmother before getting engaged) the reason behind this is surprisingly simple: the Queen doesn’t need a passport, because she is the person who officially issues these documents to British citizens.

As well as bearing the Royal Arms, the first page of each British passport states that ‘Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.’

So, as the Royal Family’s official website puts it, ‘as a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one.’ However, she is the only member of the Royal Family to which this particular perk extends: the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princes William and Harry all have to travel with the correct documentation.

This isn’t the only regulation which the Queen can disregard, either. She has no need for a driving license (which are also issued in her name) or for a vehicle license plate, and despite recently being reported to the police for not wearing a seatbelt, she’s also exempt from prosecution.

‘Although civil and criminal proceedings cannot be taken against the Sovereign as a person under U.K. law, the Queen is careful to ensure that all her activities in her personal capacity are carried out in strict accordance to the law,’ the Royal website puts it. We’d expect nothing less…

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