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politics and government of
the United Kingdom
The Court of St James's is the royal court for the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. The court is named after St James's Palace, the most senior royal palace of the British Monarchy. A royal court has existed since the Kingdom of England (before 1707) and the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800).
All Ambassadors and High Commissioners to the United Kingdom are formally received at the Court of St James's. The palace remains the fixed location where the official task of diplomatic accreditation is performed. The Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps (before 1920, Master of the Ceremonies), who acts as the link between the British monarch and foreign diplomatic missions, is permanently based at St James's Palace. In 2009, there were 172 foreign missions accredited to the Court of St James's in London. This total was made up of 46 high commissions (missions from other Commonwealth countries) and 128 embassies (missions from foreign, meaning non-Commonwealth, countries).
Although the main London residence of all the British sovereigns since the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 has been Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace remains the official residence of the monarchy of the UK. However when the queen, Elizabeth II, is not in residence, the title of the Court is transferred to the location where the monarch currently resides.
When the Queen is in residence at Buckingham Palace this is where the Court of St James's and meetings of the Privy Council are convened. This transference of title also occurs during the Queen's extended stays at Windsor Castle (typically Easter), Sandringham (Christmas), and at Holyrood Palace or Balmoral Castle in Scotland (summer). The Court will also travel with the Queen's official overseas visits.
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