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What documents does the Queen use to travel abroad and to identify her personally domestically?

Candidates include:

  • A UK identity card

  • An EU passport

  • A diplomatic passport of a sort

  • Any ID card replacement that may be used for personality identification. In various countries it may be driving license, military ID certificate.

  • Any royal certificate or diploma

etc.

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    I strongly suspect that heads of state don't need the usual forms of documentation, but nonetheless, this is a interesting question. – Bobson Sep 29 '14 at 13:31
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    NOW I finally understand the purpose of the tabloids! They are photographic documentation for the royals! – user4012 Sep 29 '14 at 15:15
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    @Anixx To be less abstract then: For any meaningful head of state, they are their own identity. Documents are mere politeness. No head of state is being rejected at customs for refusing to carry personal ID. Sovereignty and diplomacy for high-level officials bypasses normal immigration. You are the state. Visiting another country is not assessed on a personal basis, so anything other than your own skin is unnecessary for identification. If the country you are the head of state of has been fooled by a lizard-man clone, this is irrelevant as the lizard-man is still representing the state. – LateralFractal Oct 10 '14 at 2:45
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    "No head of state is being rejected at customs for refusing to carry personal ID." - because heads of state usually travel with all necessary IDs and passports. Except the queen, possibly... – Anixx Oct 10 '14 at 2:48
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    As far as I know, there is no such thing as "A UK identity card" – owjburnham Oct 5 '17 at 12:31
15

Inside the front cover of my passport, the following statement appears;

Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires, in the Name of Her Majesty, all those whom it may concern, to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.

I would think that the Queen herself doesn't need her Secretary of State (which we know commonly as the Foreign Secretary) to ask on her behalf that she be let into a country.

All a passport is in essence, is a document from the government saying you are who you are, and you have some authority to leave the country. The UK Government is de jure the government that represents the monarch - the executive arm, if you like, of the sovereign.

In common law, she doesn't require any of this documentation because of the royal prerogative. This embodies the power of the monarch, and in the United Kingdom, the royal prerogative can only be changed using a special procedure.

To just take each item of your list in order though;

  • A UK identity card

There is no such thing since the scheme was scrapped in 2010.

  • A EU passport

There has never been such a thing as an EU passport, but she hasn't got a UK one either.

  • A diplomatic passport of a sort

No.

  • Any ID card replacement that may be used for personality identification, such as a driving licence.

No, and she doesn't need a licence to drive a car either, for the same reasons that she doesn't require a passport. She would effectively be issuing it to herself.

  • Any royal certificate or diploma

Erm, no.

What she does have, however, is a birth certificate. When she was born she obviously wasn't the queen (indeed she wasn't expected to become queen in the future as her uncle was the heir to the throne), so the government - through the local authority - issued a birth certificate. Monarchs also have death certificates, as when they die they cease to be the monarch.

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    "I would think that the Queen herself doesn't need her Secretary of State (which we know commonly as the Foreign Secretary) to ask on her behalf that she be let into a country." - and what? She could be issued a pssport without this inscription. "she doesn't need a licence to drive a car either" - what if she wants to drive abroad? – Anixx Oct 21 '14 at 4:06
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    @Anixx She isn't issued a passport. She also wasn't issued accreditation to enter the Olympic Park during the London 2012 games (unlike her grandsons). I can't remember the exact term, but she is classed as a "pre-approved" person that doesn't require documentation. As for driving in other countries, she just doesn't do that (although she still could in any of her 16 commonwealth realms, such as Canada and Australia). If she did want to drive in country where she wasn't head of state, it would be up to the government of that country to decide if she could. – worldofjr Oct 21 '14 at 4:15
  • "She would effectively be issuing it to herself." - in other countries driving license is usually a certificate that the person can drive a car (has necessary skills), not just "permission" to drive a car. It is like a prescription by a medic. I doubt she never receives prescriptions from medics "because it would be effectively she issues recommendations to herself". – Anixx Oct 21 '14 at 5:16
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    @Anixx That's just a massive misunderstanding of the law. A licence is the permission to drive. A driving test must be passed to gain a licence, but that licence can be taken away for breaking the law of the road - doesn't mean you don't have the skills any more. Becoming a licensed doctor is not the same because the state doesn't licence doctors. In the UK, the General Medical Council does (on recommendation of higher education institutions, such as universities). Read this about the royal prerogative, and maybe you'll understand better. – worldofjr Oct 21 '14 at 5:27
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    @Anixx What's that got to do with anything? The state issues passports and driving licences, therefore the queen doesn't need them. Other bodies issue other licences, therefore the queen does need them if she wishes to do so. The fact is she doesn't because she just pays people who do to do the job for her. Is that so hard to understand? – worldofjr Oct 21 '14 at 6:49
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As a general rule, the Queen of the United Kingdom doesn't need any state-issued ID, because she is the state. She doesn't need her own permission to do things, or to verify to herself who she is.

Specifically, she has neither a passport nor a driver's license. (ref, ref)

There is no such thing as an "EU Passport", just passports issued by EU member nations. Since she is her own passport, she doesn't need one to enter a foreign country. (And if they turned her away because of her lack of a physical passport, it would be a major diplomatic incident.)

She does not have a diploma of any sort, as she never graduated from a university (although she might hold honorary degrees - I didn't look). That said, this is one kind of documentation it does make sense for her to possess, as it would be the university issuing it to her, not the state. She just happens not to.

There is no "royal certificate" equivalent to a birth certificate, but she does have a marriage certificate, as documented in one of the books linked here.


One thing she does have is her various Coats of Arms (and Flags) for each country. They are unique to her in her position as Monarch, and will be inherited by her successor upon her death (or abdication). The government and official documentation (such as everyone else's passports) use a modified version, as do her descendents. It is illegal to use them deceptively.

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    @Anixx - Many of the normal rules aren't enforced (or bypassed) for heads of state. No one is going to deny Obama entry to a country, because if they were, he wouldn't have made the trip. Monarchs especially are above many normal laws, because they are their country. It's not like the Queen will suddenly show up in Russia without prior arrangement. All a passport is is a document saying "My country authenticates me", and all a visa is is a document/stamp saying "We let you in". The Queen authenticates herself, and the appopriate government officials have already agreed to let her in. – Bobson Sep 30 '14 at 12:17
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    @Anixx - It sounds like you need to ask a new question: "How could Queen Elizabeth visit Russia without a passport?" Because she doesn't have one and she did visit Russia. ------ As for Bashir, you'll note that he was denied a visa before he made the trip. He didn't show up at the airport and get sent home. That's what I meant - Obama (or any other head of state) won't even make the trip if they can't enter. – Bobson Sep 30 '14 at 12:58
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    Also Swedish prime minister Karl Bildt has been recently (summer 2013) denied entry to the Baltic countries forum and had to send people for the passport. – Anixx Aug 19 '15 at 9:24
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    @Anixx - I'm not sure how that's relevant. A prime minister is not a monarch. It shows stupidity on behalf of whoever is supposed to manage those things for Bildt, but it has nothing to do with the Queen. – Bobson Aug 19 '15 at 11:55
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    On my passport it says Her Britannic Majesty's principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs requests and requires, in the name of Her Majesty, all those whom it may concern, to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary. It would be a bit ridiculous if the Queen carried one stating that "the bearer requested and required that the bearer be allowed to pass freely...", wouldn't it? – WS2 Jan 27 '19 at 18:57
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First of all, not even commoners are legally required to have a UK identity card, much less the Queen.

As for the EU passport, it simply doesn't exist, so she doesn't have one.

The official website of the Royal Family clearly states that the Queen doesn't have and doesn't need any kind of passport:

When travelling overseas, The Queen does not require a British passport. The cover of a British passport is in EU format, maroon in colour and features the Royal Arms. The first page contains another representation of the Arms, together with the following wording:

'Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.'

As a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one. All other members of the Royal Family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, have passports.

In realms (Commonwealth countries where The Queen is Sovereign), a similar formula is used, except that the request to all whom it may concern is made in the name of the realm's Governor-General, as The Queen's representative in that realm. In Canada, the request is made in the name of Her Majesty by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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  • Every person entering Russia is required a passport by law. Even Obama. How the queen visited Russia? – Anixx Jun 1 '16 at 9:13
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    @Anixx I don't know much about Russian law, but is Obama really required to carry a passport? I mean, he could carry it (personally or hand it to his entourage), but is there a law stating that heads of States must carry a passport? For example, if Obama was officially invited in Russia and forgot his passport, would he really be denied entry? – A. Darwin Jun 1 '16 at 9:17
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    @Anixx A visit from a head of State is not sudden, but everything is prepared in advance. Official visits take place because the host country (in this case, Russia) invited the foreign head of State. If Russia didn't want the Queen to enter its territory, the Queen wouldn't have been invited, and that would have been perfectly normal (and the Queen wouldn't push to enter if not invited). Private visits are also prepared in advance, but they don't usually rely on an invitation, and the host country can deny entry before the visit, and again it would be absolutely legal. – A. Darwin Jun 1 '16 at 9:46
  • "but is there a law stating that heads of States must carry a passport" - yes. The law says anyone crossing the border needs a passport or other ID unless there is an international treaty allowing to cross without ID. There is no exemption for heads of state. – Anixx Jan 10 '17 at 7:49
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    @Anixx I don't read Russian but I bet there's an exception for heads of state, or a provision for the appropriate minister to make exceptions in the national interest. The fact is that the UK takes the entirely reasonable position that it is absurd for the monarch to carry a document that requests safe passage in the name of the monarch. She can just request it herself in person. The US requires heads of state to have an A-1 visa, and they have a form they use for the visa when, like Elizabeth, the bearer does not have a passport. – phoog Sep 3 '17 at 19:37

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