Why will an MP be KIDNAPPED by King Charles?

Why will an MP be KIDNAPPED by King Charles? And who is this year’s hostage for the State Opening of Parliament?

  • King’s Speech LIVE: King Charles will deliver his first State Opening of Parliament as monarch from 11am today

When it comes to the State Opening of Parliament, one might expect pomp and ceremony to be the order of the day given the importance of the ceremony. 

So to find out that the King will kidnap a Member of Parliament may come as a shock to many. 

But why exactly is this the case? Who is the individual to be kidnapped by King Charles? 

Read on below for all you to know about the strange tradition.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the coronation at Westminster Abbey on Saturday May 6 2023

Why will an MP be kidnapped by King Charles?

The reason behind this unusual occurrence is to do with the separation of powers in the UK between the monarchy and the government. 

Despite the monarchy not involving itself with the UK’s legislature, this has not always been the case. 

In 1629, King Charles I did not allow Parliament to meet and bolted the doors to the chambers shut. 

For 11 years, Parliament was not permitted to meet during the period that subsequently became known as the ‘Eleven years Tyranny.’

When Parliament did reconvene after over a decade of being absent, Charles I entered the House of Commons in an attempt to arrest five MPs. 

However, his attempted exploits did not go to plan and, following the English Civil War, he was found guilty of treason and executed in Whitehall on January 30 1649.

From that day forward, the monarch has entered the Houses of Parliament only on the condition that an active MP is taken as a hostage.

Theoretically, it means that, should something happen to the monarch whilst she is in Parliament, the hostage would meet the same fate.

The MP to be kidnapped this year by the monarch as part of the ancient tradition is Jo Churchill, who has held the post of Vice-Chamberlain of the Household since September 2022

Which MP will be kidnapped by King Charles? 

The individual chosen to be hostage is usually the Vice-Chamberlain of the Household. 

This makes them an MP whose office makes him or her officially a member of the Royal Household and, simultaneously, a junior Whip for the Government. 

This position is currently held by Jo Churchill, who assumed the role in September 2022.  

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