Interesting Facts

  • First Members From Outside the Ministry
    • 1891 – The first privy councillors were appointed from outside the ministry. These included:
      • Two former speakers of the House of Commons
      • Three former speakers of the Senate
  • First Meeting Before the Sovereign
    • 1957 – The Privy Council met before the Sovereign (Queen Elizabeth II) for the first time (Ottawa, October 14, 1957).
    • 1957 – The first ‘swearing-in’ of a councillor before the Sovereign. This was the summoning of the Queen’s consort, Prince Philip.
  • First Woman Privy Councillor
    • 1957 – the Right Honourable Ellen Fairclough became the first woman summoned to the Privy Council (June 21, 1957). She held the position of Secretary of State.
  • Other Meetings Before the Sovereign
    • 1959 – The Privy Council met before Queen Elizabeth II in Halifax to confirm the appointment of the Right Honourable Georges Vanier as Governor General.
  • Largest Informal Meeting
    • 1982 – The largest informal gathering of the Privy Council took place at a luncheon on Parliament Hill (April 17, 1982.) They were celebrating the Queen’s signing of the proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • Arranging a Meeting with the Queen
    • For the Prime Minister to propose that the Queen hold a meeting of the Privy Council while she was in Canada, the Privy Council Office would first have to clear the agenda with Buckingham Palace. It would then co-operate with Government House to arrange the details of the meeting.