THIS is what the Queen ACTUALLY Does
Queen Elizabeth II is the world’s longest serving living monarch, having sat on the throne for a solid 65 years. Despite her lengthy time as Head of State of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth Realms, most people still have no real clue as to what purpose she really serves. I mean, she must be doing something, right? Or is she just here for our entertainment? (She is rather sweet, isn’t she?)
Well – surprise, surprise – it turns out she does do an actual job, after all (sort of, not really). Confusing, hmm. Allow me to break it down for you:
Keeping everything in the realms of understanding, let’s stick to her role in the UK. As monarch of the UK, she - as previously mentioned - possesses the title of Head of State, equivalent to the President of the USA, for example. In the UK, the monarch’s duties and powers are laid set out by what is called the royal prerogative. This refers to the power and authority that is recognised as belonging solely to the monarch. Essentially, it decides what the Queen can and cannot do. Hundreds of years ago, the monarch could legally do quite a lot. In 1689, however, the Bill of Rights placed limits on the royal prerogative, establishing parliamentary sovereignty, making Parliament the highest legal authority, being able to make or unmake any laws. Still, though, Parliament requires the consent of the monarch before passing any law – this is called the Royal Assent - meaning that technically, the Queen can refuse to pass any laws she doesn’t agree with.
Politically, however, things aren’t that simple. You see, convention that has developed over time dictates that the Royal Assent always be given; no UK monarch has ever refused Royal Assent since 1707, so if the Queen did decide to refuse it today, she could face a huge backlash from the general population. Thus, she truly has very little, or even no power, over which laws are passed. So, then, what can she do?
Well, even after the 1689 Bill of Rights placed limits on the monarch’s powers, these powers have continued to be restricted more and more through a series of Acts passed by Parliament, some as recently as 2011. This has, of course, further reduced the Queen’s powers, and now, most of them are simply ceremonial.
Even many of the powers she currently still has are exercised by ministers acting on her behalf, such as the deployment of the military oversees, the making and agreement of treaties.
In the words of the Royal Family website, the Queen ‘no longer has an political or executive role’ but ‘continues to play an important part in the life of the nation’. Well, then, I guess she’s only here for our entertainment, after all (and everyone loves a bit of entertainment). In that case, may God Save the Queen.