"the Privy Council of the sovereign"
Victoria holding a Privy Council meeting (1838)
Public DomainVictoria holding a Privy Council meeting (1838) - Credit: David Wilkie

The Privy Council of England was a body of advisors to the monarch, composed of members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, church elders, diplomats and military leaders. Expressing its authority through the conciliar courts, it was, until the development of the cabinet system of government, the main source of executive power in England.