Right Honourable is a prefix accorded certain high-echelon politicians, judges, and others distinguished for their public service who have been appointed members of the Queen’s Privy Council (243). A Privy Council is “a body of advisors, theoretically selected by the sovereign, whose function it is to advise the sovereign in matters of state” (250). Despite the elaborate uniform invariably affected by Sir Joseph, the First Lord of the Admiralty is not an admiral, but a politically appointed civilian responsible for managing the navy. Prestige (243) notes that in the traditional D’Oyly Carte productions his uniform “was that of a Privy Councillor, with the badge of a K.C.B., to both of which he was fully entitled.” Hyder (160) adds the warning that he should never wear epaulettes because they are accouterments reserved strictly for military officers.
Speaking of Privy Councilors, I am reminded of Queen Victoria’s favorite Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. When asked how he managed to get along so well with her, Disraeli replied, “I never refuse; I never contradict; I sometimes forget” (203).
The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B.