(Still working on actual posts, but here, have a snippet…)
“One perpetual confusion among external Empire-watchers is the confusion between the Ministries of Throne and State and the Shadow Ministries – for example, between the Ministry of Harmonious Serenity, which is a duly empowered governance instrumentality and enforcer of rights and obligations both fundamental and civil, and the Ministry of Exquisition, which is a private Empire-wide circle of branches self-tasked with the promotion of fabulosity, and whose closest approach to governmental power is its chief executive’s entreé to the Court of Courts.
“It is this latter that gives rise to this designation: the leading figure of a Shadow Ministry is afforded the title of Minister as a praetorian courtesy rank along with their entreé; from this, the designation of such courtier-led associations individually as Ministries and collectively as the Shadow Ministries is a simple matter of back-formation and custom.
“Since everyone moving in such circles as are likely to bring them into contact with the Shadow Ministries or the Court of Courts are comfortably aware of this distinction, it is unlikely that any clarifying changes will be made; one should consult the latest edition of the Registry of the Imperial Service (available for reference at any Imperial Services office or directly from the Ministry of Civic Information1) to determine which type of Ministry you are dealing with.”
– Ten Thousand Parts in Approximate Formation: The Empire from Outside
1. A Ministry of State, underneath the Ministry of the Empire, a Ministry of the Throne.