The Missing Witness? George V, Competence and Compellability and the Criminal Libel Trial of Edward Frederick Mylius
The Journal of Legal History, Vol. 33, No.2, pp 209 - 239
37 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2012 Last revised: 12 Jul 2012
Date Written: March 26, 2012
A criminal libel trial in 1911 set the monarch against one of his subjects. Edward Mylius repeated a rumour that accused King George V of marrying Queen Mary when – secretly – the King had already married someone else and had three children. The criminal charge, the process used to bring the issue to court, the advice to the King of the relevant Ministers (including Winston Churchill as Home Secretary) and the trial itself stretched the boundaries of fairness. The legacy of the trial created a lingering problem. Can the monarch ever be required to face the direct scrutiny of examination by being required to appear as a witness in his or her own court to support a personal complaint?
Keywords: Monarch, evidence, competence, compellability, criminal libel, legal history, constitutional law
JEL Classification: K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation