Would Jane Bloggs QC become Jane Bloggs KC overnight? Or would current silk simply be able to apply for the new title, as occurred in some jurisdictions when the title of Senior Counsel was introduced?

References sourced in any jurisdiction in which the title of Queen's or King's Counsel is recognised would be appreciated. Contemporary sources from the accession of Edward VII (1901) would be interesting too!


This question on Quora says,

Although the title is now one of status and prestige without any expectation that the appointee will actually act as counsel to Her Majesty, the appointment still appears to be referred to as an “office” (see Vote Bundle Text (990511-06)). If regarded as an “office”, then the appointment of QC/KC would not be affected by the demise of the Crown. This is because the Demise of the Crown Act 1901 dispenses with the need for the fresh appointment of any office upon the demise of the Crown. So no new letters patent would have to be issued.


Take for example Sir Robert McCall, pictured below, who took silk in 1891, under the reign of Queen Victoria – thus making him a QC. Subsequently, when Victoria’s reign ended, he became a King’s Counsel, adopting the postnominals KC. There seems to be no record of a new letters patent being issued.

This question on Quora says,

Kings Counsel all immediately became QCs when Queen Elizabeth became Queen.

and notes one exception

By default, when the gender of the monarch changes, EVERY past reference to Queen becomes King at once, or King to Queen as appropriate.

Her Majesty the Queen ordered that the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery should continue to be called the King’s Troop in memory of her father.

This article relates to the death of King George VI and is probably the best authentic account available if what actually happened:

In London’s High Court, King’s Counselor Harold Shepherd had just finished cross-examining a defendant when the news came. The court adjourned. Ten minutes later, the lawyer resumed the floor as Queen’s Counselor. Painters at another London court set to work painting out the sign “King’s Bench” and replacing it with “Queen’s Bench.”

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    they even changed "God save the King" to "God save the Queen" on ascension for Elizabeth I, II and Victoria I and changed it back after the death of Elizabeth I and Victoria I. – Trish Aug 27 '19 at 22:53

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