- A British MP was held hostage while Prince Charles entered Parliament on Tuesday.
- Charles was there to deliver a speech on behalf of Queen Elizabeth.
- The tradition dates back to the 1600s to ensure the monarch’s safe return.
Buckingham Palace takes an MP hostage each time the Queen or one of her representatives enters Parliament in a tradition that dates back to the 1600s.
Conservative MP James Morris said he was taken hostage on Tuesday when Prince Charles delivered a speech on behalf of the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament.
Charles was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William, as the Queen was forced to pull out of the ceremony due to “Episodic mobility problems,” Buckingham Palace said on Monday.
Speaking in a video shared by the UK House of Commons Twitter account on Wednesday, Morris said the tradition of holding an MP hostage dates back to King Charles I, who in the 1600s was convicted of treason and executed.
—UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) May 4, 2022
“From that point on, the monarch has refused to come to the Houses of Parliament without having a member of Parliament ‘taken hostage’ for peace of mind of the monarch,” Morris said.
“And I am the Vice Chamberlain of the Royal Household, and in modern tradition it is the Vice Chamberlian who gets ‘taken hostage’ in the palace while the monarch or her representatives is here, and I will be kept in the palace until the Queen’s speech is over, “he added.
Tradition dictates that if something were to happen to the monarch while in Parliament, “the same fate will befall” the hostage, according to the Daily Express.
Joe Little, managing editor at Majesty magazine, told Insider that it is now just a “ceremonial thing, nothing more,” and that the hostage would not actually be hurt if something were to happen to Her Majesty or her representatives.
Labor MP Jim Fitzpatrick told BBC News about his experience as one of the palace’s hostages in 2014.
“When I was there, I was greeted by the Lord Chamberlain,” he said.
“He made it absolutely clear I could do whatever I wanted at Buckingham Palace. I could wander around, I could have a gin and tonic, a cup of coffee … or I could join him, and his preferred option was to watch the State Opening on BBC, which is what I did with him, and wait until Her Majesty’s return, “he added.
“They do not actually lock me up, but they made it quite clear that I was not going anywhere,” Fitzpatrick added.