Queen Elizabeth II to become Britain's longest reigning monarch: why you can be jailed for life just for thinking about harming the Queen

And the punishment is pretty severe sounding, too, so watch what you say (/think)

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The Independent Online

Queen Elizabeth II is about to become the longest-serving monarch next week, overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria for the coveted title. But as well as the obvious perks to being in charge - such as having your own cash machine installed in your palace - the Queen has a number of laws in place that help keep troublemakers from getting in the way.

Due to a government mix-up, it appeared that calling for the abolition of the monarchy in the UK, and even thinking about harming the Queen, were going to be repealed in 2013, but the Ministry of Justice embarrassingly admitted that the law was listed by accident and wasn't being considered.

This means that, theoretically, an individual could be imprisoned for life if they so much as thought about waging war against the Crown.

The law forms part of the Treason Felony Act, which, in addition to "devising" or "intending" to depose "our Most Gracious Lady the Queen", lists imagining any harm on the monarch as a similarly punishable offence.

It says that anyone found guilty would find themselves "transported beyond the seas for the term of his or her natural life". And not in a P&O Cruise sort of set-up, either.

The news emerged in 2013, when The Ministry of Justice admitted that the law had accidentally been included on a list of 309 offences that were due to be repealed.

A routine email suggested they were interested in scrapping the law, but it was later revealled that the inclusion on the list of repeals was an accident, and it would not be changed at all.

Though the law has not been used to prosecute anyone since 1879, it still remains technically active as a form of ‘high treason’.

In full, section three of the Treason Felony Act 1848 reads:

If any person whatsoever shall, within the United Kingdom or without, compass, imagine, invent, devise, or intend to deprive or depose our Most Gracious Lady the Queen, from the style, honour, or royal name of the imperial crown of the United Kingdom, or of any other of her Majesty's dominions and countries, or to levy war against her Majesty, within any part of the United Kingdom, in order by force or constraint to compel her to change her measures or counsels, or in order to put any force or constraint upon or in order to intimidate or overawe both Houses or either House of Parliament, or to move or stir any foreigner or stranger with force to invade the United Kingdom or any other of her Majesty's dominions or countries under the obeisance of her Majesty, and such compassings, imaginations, inventions, devices, or intentions, or any of them, shall express, utter, or declare, by publishing any printing or writing ... or by any overt act or deed, every person so offending shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be liable ... to be transported beyond the seas for the term of his or her natural life.