The mace in Parliament is the symbol of royal authority and without it neither House can meet or pass laws.
The House of Commons mace is a silver gilt ornamental club of about five feet in length, dating from the reign of Charles II. On each day that the House is sitting the mace is carried to the Chamber at the head of the Speaker's procession by the Serjeant at Arms. It is placed on the table of the House, except when the House is in committee, when it rests on two brackets underneath the table.
The Lords uses two maces, one dating from the time of Charles II and another from the reign of William III. One of the maces accompanies the Lord Speaker into the Chamber and is placed on the Woolsack whenever the House meets. The mace is absent from the Lords during the State Opening when the Monarch is in the Chamber in person.
- Flickr: Photograph of Speaker's procession
- Related glossary term: Serjeant at Arms
- Related glossary term: Woolsack