|By the time of James's accession to the throne of England in 1603
only Parliament could offer this kind of fulsome welcome and endorsement
to an incoming monarch. The members were said to be 'on the knees
of their hearts' to bid James welcome to his new realm.
The final sentence of the oath encapsulates the progress Parliament
had made in the previous three centuries. By 1603, the idea of the
realm as a living organism - the body politic - had taken firm hold
as a metaphor for the population of the nation as a whole. Indeed
the function of Parliament had been refined to the point that it
was regarded as representing every member of the nation, as if each
individual citizen was there in person.
As the representative institution of England and Wales, Parliament
legitimised and endorsed key constitutional and political changes.
This document also shows that, on occasion, it was prepared to stretch
the truth about the past to accommodate the needs of the present.
Catalogue reference: C 65/181, m. 3 (1603)