What personal identification documents does the British Queen have?

  • What documents does the Queen use to travel abroad and to identify her personally domestically?

    Candidates include:

    • A UK identity card

    • An EU passport

    • A diplomatic passport of a sort

    • Any ID card replacement that may be used for personality identification. In various countries it may be driving license, military ID certificate.

    • Any royal certificate or diploma

    etc.

    I strongly suspect that heads of state don't need the usual forms of documentation, but nonetheless, this is a interesting question.

    @Bobson in other countries (republics) they need. And abroad the Queen is just a foreign national.

    NOW I finally understand the purpose of the tabloids! They are photographic documentation for the royals!

    @Anixx - While I'm sure that Obama (for example) *has* a passport, I doubt that he's ever asked for it when traveling to another country. That's outside the scope of this question, though.

    @Bobson I don't doubt he WAS asked. And most likely he has a diplomatic passport.

    @Anixx - You're right that he has a diplomatic passport, but he's never asked for it (or even carry it himself) - his people handle it

    Interestingly enough, IIRC many Kings had military service (including the current Prince in line for the throne) and thus would have Military ID

    I guess we can say that heads of states are inherent biometric passports. Not as handy to put in a pocket, but I imagine they are RFID shielded.

    @LateralFractal definitely not for most heads of state. In republics being head of state is just a job like any other. Also how do u know that this is the true head of state rather than an impersonator?

    @Anixx Challenge them to cut off your head _de jure_. If they can, then as a Turing test for sovereigns - they are either real or a sufficient facsimile thereof. Although it raises the question of whether their authority is turtles all the way down.

    @LateralFractal I really do not know what do u mean. Heads of state have different powers in different countries. Presidential ID of Putin: http://s4.pikabu.ru/images/big_size_comm/2014-08_4/14084156518389.jpg Yanukovich with the ID: http://focus.ua/modules/thumb.php?u=files/images/0/-100842.jpg&;m=c_large

    @Anixx To be less abstract then: For any meaningful head of state, they are their own identity. Documents are mere politeness. No head of state is being rejected at customs for refusing to carry personal ID. Sovereignty and diplomacy for high-level officials bypasses normal immigration. You are the state. Visiting another country is not assessed on a personal basis, so anything other than your own skin is unnecessary for identification. If the country you are the head of state of has been fooled by a lizard-man clone, this is irrelevant as the lizard-man is still representing the state.

    "No head of state is being rejected at customs for refusing to carry personal ID." - because heads of state usually travel with all necessary IDs and passports. Except the queen, possibly...

    @Anixx No, because turning away a head of state at the border is not something you do if you want good relations with their country. Obama may have a passport, but if it gets left back in Washington somehow, he isn't getting turned away at a border. Heads of state don't typically just show up at an airport; the visit has been planned in advance, and there are officials waiting for them at the airport. If some customs officer then says "no passport, you can't enter", then it'd result in a call to senior officials of the host country and the customs officer being overruled and disciplined.

    @cpast I do not know what would happen if he left his passport. I think his chief of the guard will give him a certifiсate that he lost his passport which would suffice until he gets a new one.

    @Anixx There would be no delay. He would be waved through. Immediately. Without any form of fuss from customs. The state he's visiting wants him to come (if they don't, then they've already made that clear and he wouldn't even show up at the border). If they then say "no passport, no entry", he's not coming back, not for a long time. It reads as an insult to his country, and seriously sours diplomatic relations between the countries, which is the opposite of the reason the country wants a visit. Any customs officer who causes a diplomatic incident over a technicality will soon be unemployed.

    @cpast in that case there would be no need for diplomatic passports at all.

    @Anixx - These comments are going off on a tangent from the original question. If you want to know how heads of state (in general or in specific) cross borders with or without a passport, *ask a new question about it*. This question is only about whether the queen has documentation: **She doesn't.** End of discussion, although a great opportunity for a followup.

    I would expect that the arrival of the Queen would usually be preceded by the arrival of an entourage of security and other escort personnel, who *would* have documentation (and would likely have their documentation checked *more* thoroughly than most people, given that they would be seeking permission to bypass physical security procedures). If those in the entourage have documentation sufficient to say that they are the Queen's official escorts, and they that the Queen is the Queen, that would pretty well establish her bona fides without her having to personally show anything.

    I would think her face and a 1 pound note would serve quite nicely. "Lady's face is on money. Hmmm...maybe she someone important..?" Or..."Young man, if you do not remove yourself from my path THIS INSTANT I shall have a word with your mother! .... Thenk you. Delighted to make your acquaintance, I'm sure". :-)

    @Bob Jarvis serve for what? Other people who are depicted on money still need a passport.

    As far as I know, there is no such thing as "A UK identity card"

    Perhaps she gets fingerprinted.

    I assume a Royal aide pulls out a tenner and goes - does that look enough like Her Majesty?

  • As a general rule, the Queen of the United Kingdom doesn't need any state-issued ID, because she is the state. She doesn't need her own permission to do things, or to verify to herself who she is.

    Specifically, she has neither a passport nor a driver's license. (ref, ref)

    There is no such thing as an "EU Passport", just passports issued by EU member nations. Since she is her own passport, she doesn't need one to enter a foreign country. (And if they turned her away because of her lack of a physical passport, it would be a major diplomatic incident.)

    She does not have a diploma of any sort, as she never graduated from a university (although she might hold honorary degrees - I didn't look). That said, this is one kind of documentation it does make sense for her to possess, as it would be the university issuing it to her, not the state. She just happens not to.

    There is no "royal certificate" equivalent to a birth certificate, but she does have a marriage certificate, as documented in one of the books linked here.


    One thing she does have is her various Coats of Arms (and Flags) for each country. They are unique to her in her position as Monarch, and will be inherited by her successor upon her death (or abdication). The government and official documentation (such as everyone else's passports) use a modified version, as do her descendents. It is illegal to use them deceptively.

    "she doesn't need one to enter a foreign country." - I doubt this. This would be contrary of the laws of certain countries, such as Russia.

    "She does not have a diploma of any sort, as she never graduated from a university" - under diploma I did not mean a graduation document. For instance, Roman consuls had diplomas as certificates of office (well the very word diplomat came from here).

    @Anixx - Many of the normal rules aren't enforced (or bypassed) for heads of state. *No one* is going to deny Obama entry to a country, because if they were, he wouldn't have made the trip. Monarchs especially are above many normal laws, because they *are* their country. It's not like the Queen will suddenly show up in Russia without prior arrangement. All a passport is is a document saying "My country authenticates me", and all a visa is is a document/stamp saying "We let you in". The Queen authenticates herself, and the appopriate government officials have already agreed to let her in.

    "they are their country" - what is delirium. " It's not like the Queen will suddenly show up in Russia without prior arrangement." - what paperwork the prior arrangement involves? According the Russian law passport control is needed unless there is an international treaty between the countries.

    "The Queen authenticates herself, and the appopriate government officials have already agreed to let her in." - there is no provision that somebody can identify oneself in Russian law. Even UN Secretary General needs a UN passport.

    "No one is going to deny Obama entry to a country, because if they were" - do you know the US denied visa to Sudanese president Bashir?

    @Anixx - It sounds like you need to ask a new question: "How could Queen Elizabeth visit Russia without a passport?" Because she *doesn't* have one and she *did* visit Russia. ------ As for Bashir, you'll note that he was denied a visa *before* he made the trip. He didn't show up at the airport and get sent home. That's what I meant - Obama (or any other head of state) won't even make the trip if they can't enter.

    Also Swedish prime minister Karl Bildt has been recently (summer 2013) denied entry to the Baltic countries forum and had to send people for the passport.

    @Anixx - I'm not sure how that's relevant. A prime minister is not a monarch. It shows stupidity on behalf of whoever is supposed to manage those things for Bildt, but it has nothing to do with the Queen.

    On my passport it says *Her Britannic Majesty's principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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*. It would be a bit ridiculous if the Queen carried one stating that "the bearer requested and required that the bearer be allowed to pass freely...", wouldn't it?

    @WS2 she could always get one that said "we request and require all those whom it may concern to allow us to pass freely without let or hindrance."

  • Inside the front cover of my passport, the following statement appears;

    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.

    I would think that the Queen herself doesn't need her Secretary of State (which we know commonly as the Foreign Secretary) to ask on her behalf that she be let into a country.

    All a passport is in essence, is a document from the government saying you are who you are, and you have some authority to leave the country. The UK Government is de jure the government that represents the monarch - the executive arm, if you like, of the sovereign.

    In common law, she doesn't require any of this documentation because of the royal prerogative. This embodies the power of the monarch, and in the United Kingdom, the royal prerogative can only be changed using a special procedure.

    To just take each item of your list in order though;

    • A UK identity card

    There is no such thing since the scheme was scrapped in 2010.

    • A EU passport

    There has never been such a thing as an EU passport, but she hasn't got a UK one either.

    • A diplomatic passport of a sort

    No.

    • Any ID card replacement that may be used for personality identification, such as a driving licence.

    No, and she doesn't need a licence to drive a car either, for the same reasons that she doesn't require a passport. She would effectively be issuing it to herself.

    • Any royal certificate or diploma

    Erm, no.

    What she does have, however, is a birth certificate. When she was born she obviously wasn't the queen (indeed she wasn't expected to become queen in the future as her uncle was the heir to the throne), so the government - through the local authority - issued a birth certificate. Monarchs also have death certificates, as when they die they cease to be the monarch.

    "I would think that the Queen herself doesn't need her Secretary of State (which we know commonly as the Foreign Secretary) to ask on her behalf that she be let into a country." - and what? She could be issued a pssport without this inscription. "she doesn't need a licence to drive a car either" - what if she wants to drive abroad?

    @Anixx She isn't issued a passport. She also wasn't issued accreditation to enter the Olympic Park during the London 2012 games (unlike her grandsons). I can't remember the exact term, but she is classed as a "pre-approved" person that doesn't require documentation. As for driving in other countries, she just doesn't do that (although she still could in any of her 16 commonwealth realms, such as Canada and Australia). If she did want to drive in country where she wasn't head of state, it would be up to the government of that country to decide if she could.

    "She would effectively be issuing it to herself." - in other countries driving license is usually a certificate that the person can drive a car (has necessary skills), not just "permission" to drive a car. It is like a prescription by a medic. I doubt she never receives prescriptions from medics "because it would be effectively she issues recommendations to herself".

    @Anixx That's just a massive misunderstanding of the law. A licence is the permission to drive. A driving test must be passed to gain a licence, but that licence can be taken away for breaking the law of the road - doesn't mean you don't have the skills any more. Becoming a licensed doctor is not the same because the state *doesn't licence doctors*. In the UK, the General Medical Council does (on recommendation of higher education institutions, such as universities). Read this about the royal prerogative, and maybe you'll understand better.

    Cannot the medics be stripped of the right of being medics for unethical behavior, say, similarly to drivers? If the queen does not need driving license, does it also mean she does not need also a pilot license and any professional certificate (say, to use a nuclear reactor, or work with hazardous substances etc)?

    @Anixx Yes, but by the GMC, not the government, even if they work for the NHS. They could, of course, still be sacked from their job in the NHS without being *struck off* by the GMC. Pilot's licences are issued by the Civil Aviation Authority, professional certificates are issued by universities; neither of which are the government.

    so the Queen would need a pilot's license?

    @Anixx Yes, but she's never learnt.

    This is quite strange. Is not an automobile similarly dangerous as an aircraft?

    @Anixx What's that got to do with anything? The state issues passports and driving licences, therefore the queen doesn't need them. Other bodies issue other licences, therefore the queen does need them if she wishes to do so. The fact is she doesn't because she just pays people who do to do the job for her. Is that so hard to understand?

    "Secretary of State (which we know commonly as the Foreign Secretary)" Are you sure that the the relevant Secretary of State isn't the Home Secretary (i.e. Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department) rather than the Foreign Secretary (i.e. HM's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)? They are both Secretaries of State and so it could be referring to either, and as passports are currently issued by HM Passport Office, which is a division of the Home Office, I suspect it might be the Home Secretary doing the requesting and requiring?

    @owjburnham but since the request is primarily intended for foreign powers, it would make rather more sense for the request to be made by the foreign secretary, even if the document is issued for administrative reasons by the home office. And that is in fact what WS2's comment indicates to be the case.

    @owjburnham Wikipedia asserts that the text of the request has become less specific over time: "Generic British passports contain on their inside cover the following words in English only: 'Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State Requests....' In older passports, more specific reference was made to 'Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,' originally including the name of the incumbent."

    @phoog That's an excellent find, thanks. But, as I understand it, HM Passport Office was only created in 2006 (as the "Identity and Passport Office"). While it's part of the Home Office, I've not been able to find whether its predecessor (the UK Passport Service) was part of the Foreign Office or was also part of the Home Office.

    @Anixx When Princess Anne (the Queen's daughter) competed in the 1976 Olympic Games, as part of the British equestrian team, it was the practice to gender-test all female athletes. (There had been an instance historically where an autopsy on a deceased "female" 100m winner had revealed that the individual had male body parts - as well as female.) The only woman-athlete exempted from this test was Princess Anne - seeming to prove that the British Royal family receives some recognition from international bodies, if not as routinely as it does inside Britain

  • First of all, not even commoners are legally required to have a UK identity card, much less the Queen.

    As for the EU passport, it simply doesn't exist, so she doesn't have one.

    The official website of the Royal Family clearly states that the Queen doesn't have and doesn't need any kind of passport:

    When travelling overseas, The Queen does not require a British passport. The cover of a British passport is in EU format, maroon in colour and features the Royal Arms. The first page contains another representation of the Arms, together with the following wording:

    '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.'

    As a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one. All other members of the Royal Family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, have passports.

    In realms (Commonwealth countries where The Queen is Sovereign), a similar formula is used, except that the request to all whom it may concern is made in the name of the realm's Governor-General, as The Queen's representative in that realm. In Canada, the request is made in the name of Her Majesty by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    Every person entering Russia is required a passport by law. Even Obama. How the queen visited Russia?

    @Anixx I don't know much about Russian law, but is Obama *really* required to carry a passport? I mean, he could carry it (personally or hand it to his entourage), but is there a law stating that heads of States must carry a passport? For example, if Obama was officially invited in Russia and forgot his passport, would he really be denied entry?

    @Anixx A visit from a head of State is not sudden, but everything is prepared in advance. Official visits take place because the host country (in this case, Russia) invited the foreign head of State. If Russia didn't want the Queen to enter its territory, the Queen wouldn't have been invited, and that would have been perfectly normal (and the Queen wouldn't push to enter if not invited). Private visits are also prepared in advance, but they don't usually rely on an invitation, and the host country can deny entry *before* the visit, and again it would be absolutely legal.

    "but is there a law stating that heads of States must carry a passport" - yes. The law says anyone crossing the border needs a passport or other ID unless there is an international treaty allowing to cross without ID. There is no exemption for heads of state.

    "If Russia didn't want the Queen to enter its territory, the Queen wouldn't have been invited" - invitation has nothing to do with ID proof. I can be invited to a foreign country but I still would need a passport.

    @Anixx I don't read Russian but I bet there's an exception for heads of state, or a provision for the appropriate minister to make exceptions in the national interest. The fact is that the UK takes the entirely reasonable position that it is absurd for the monarch to carry a document that requests safe passage in the name of the monarch. She can just request it herself in person. The US requires heads of state to have an A-1 visa, and they have a form they use for the visa when, like Elizabeth, the bearer does not have a passport.

    @A.Darwin And interestingly a similar form of words is adopted in some Commonwealth countries where the Queen is not head of state. For example the Malaysian passport states (in Malay and English) *This is to request and require in the Name of His Majesty the Yang di-petuan Agong of Malaysia, all whom it may concern, to allow the bearer of this passport to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary*.

    @WS2 and similar words are used by republics: "The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection."

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM