Monarchy in British politics also commonly known as the British monarchy refers to the monarchy is its constitution as well as its oversees territories. Considering both the past and the modern constitution of the United Kingdom, monarchy has formed the better part of both of them. The existence of monarch in the British Constitution can be traced back to the earliest Scottish kings and the Angles kings. This goes back to 1000 when both the Scotland and England kingdoms came up with petty kingdoms. When Norman invaded the monarch of the Anglo-Saxon, the English monarchy found its way to the Norman conquerors. In thirteenth centaury, the Wales principality was included by England. At this time, Magna Carta started streaming the powers of the British politics monarch.
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The recent monarch evident in the United Kingdom’s Constitution can be traced back to 1952 during the rein of Queen Elizabeth the second. The monarch in the Constitution limited the Queen from taking part in certain functions such as the Prime Minister appointment and bestowing honors. The royal prerogative monarch has since then been witnessed in the ultimate authority of the executive over the United Kingdom government. The powers of the executive governing the nation remain only applicable in accordance to the Parliament laws and can only be practiced when they fall within the precedent and convention constraints (Ashley, 1998).
From as early as 1603, James VI, who was at then the King of Scotland took over the English throne and ruled the two kingdoms by one monarch. Fifty years later, the monarch tradition was changed by the England Commonwealth republican. The Settlement Act enacted in the year 1701 and still remains in force till now, opposed the Roman Catholics especially those Britons married to Catholics from being part of the English throne succession. The same year was marked by the merging of Scotland and England to form the Great Britain Kingdom. The current Commonwealth is made up of both monarchies and republics. There are other fifteen Commonwealth nations that share their monarch with Britain. The monarch is its constitution has since then been employed to institutions and persons who happen to be amongst the sixteen Commonwealth realms. There are distinct monarchies in each independent countries and this varies depending on the specific, different and official countries styles and tittles for every jurisdiction. However despite the variance, monarchy is still dominant in the United Kingdom constitution as it plays a big role it.
The role of the monarch in the Britain’s constitution is evident in its sovereignty of having the head of state being referred to as Her/His Majesty. Allegiance oaths as defined by the constitution have to be made before the Queen and her successors who are lawful. The nation anthem of the United Kingdom goes like ‘God Save the Queen’ with the monarch being seen on coins, postage stamps and banknotes. The Queen assumes a less direct role in the Government but all the decisions regarding sovereignty powers practices have to be delegated by her through either convention or by statute to officers or ministers of the Crown and the rest of the public bodies. Thus the states’ acts done while referring to the Crown like the Crown Appointments, the speech form the queen and the parliament opening by the state all depend on decisions made by independent persons or bodies (Bogdanor, 1997).
The monarchy that stands out in the Constitution of the United Kingdom includes; the powers of the legislature being exercised by the Parliament Crown under the consent and advice of the Lords’ house, the Parliament and Commons’ House. The power of the executives is practiced by the Government of her majesty which is made up of the cabinet, ministers and the Prime Minister. Ths can technically be considered as being the Privy Council committee. The committee directs the civil service, secret service, diplomatic service, and the armed forces. This means that the queen of England gets certain reports on foreign intelligence even before the Prime Minister. The constitution has the power of the judicial fully vested in its judiciary who by statute and the constitution are permitted to have judicial independence from the United Kingdoms government.
The Queen heads the Church of England and the church has its own judiciary, legislature and executive structures. Statutes and statutory instruments are responsible for granting other public bodies powers that are independent of the Britain’s Government. The public bodies include the Royal Commission and Order in Council. The constitution monarch plays a sovereign role that is mostly limited to functions that are non partisan like the granting of honors. The role assumed by this monarchy has existed and appreciated from the 19th centaury and has been identified as playing a defining part more than an efficient part in the government and constitution of Britain (Harris, 2008).
The Monarch is responsible for the appointment of Prime Ministers who has the power to dismiss or appoint other Crown Ministers meaning that the Prime Ministers controls and constitutes the government. Constitution conventions that are unwritten give the Sovereign the powers to appoint a person who has the House of Commons support. This individual is usually a party leader or a leader of a coalition that enjoys the House majority. The Prime Minister assumed his or her role after privately taking part in the Monarch. In situations where the nations has a hung parliament when there is no party or coalition with a majority, the monarch gets the higher latitude of picking on a person who is likely to have the most support. In most cases, this individual is often the head of the largest party in the country.
The constitution monarchy is also witnessed in the parliament dissolution process. According to the convections of the constitution, if a situation arises where the a minority government opts to have the parliament dissolved so that an early election is conducted to enable it have its position strengthened, the monarch has the power to refuse under the following conditions; the monarch can have a Prime Minister dismissed unilaterally but will have his or her term expire only by death, electoral defeat, resignation or death. This follows Wilsons’ case in 1974 when he asked for a dissolution and was granted by the Queen now that Heath was unable to come up with a coalition. The general election that resulted from this dissolution still had Wilson get a small majority. A new Act referred to as the Fixed-term Parliament passed this year has done away with the authority of the monarch to have the powers to dissolve parliament.
Most of the executive authorities of the government are normally and theoretically vested in the UK’s Sovereign and this is commonly termed as the Royal Prerogative. The monarch role is within the precedent and convention constraints, only having the power to exercise prerogative under the responsible ministers’ advice to Parliament. This is mostly done through the Privy Council or the Prime Minister. Practically, such prerogative powers can only be exercised after getting advice from the Prime Minister and not on under the Sovereign control. The monarch also holds audience sessions every week involving the Prime Minister. In the sessions, the monarch can express her or his views but has to accept the Cabinet and Prime Ministers’ decisions now that he or she takes the role of a constitutional ruler. The constitution monarchy gives the Sovereign the rights to encourage, to warn and to be consulted (Prochaska, 2008)
Even though the Riyal Prerogative happens to be approved extensively by the parliament, it is limited in its jurisdiction thus not formally expected to carry out its exercise. Most of the Crown prerogatives have been transferred permanently or removed from parliament. A good example is that the monarch is not in a position to collect and impose new taxes. This action has to get the Parliament Act authorization first. Parliamentary reports have it that the Crown has no right to invent any new prerogative powers and the Parliament enjoys the powers to override prerogative power through passing legislation. The UK’s Royal Prerogative powers include the dismissal and appointment of ministers, civil service regulation, issue passports, make peace, declare war, direct military actions, and ratify alliances, treaties and international agreements. However, such treaties cannot in any way alter United Kingdoms’ domestic laws. When such a scenario comes up, the treaty has to be altered through the act of parliament. The monarchs’ other roles includes; being the commander in chief of all the Armed forces in Britain including the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The monarch accredits British ambassadors and high commissioners as well as receiving diplomats from other foreign states (Rodney, 1997).
It is under the monarchs’ prerogative to prorogue and summon Parliament. Every session of the Parliament has to begin with summons from the monarch. The beginning of a new parliamentary session is characterized by the opening of Parliament by the head of state. In this process, the ‘Speech from the Throne’ is read by the Sovereign in the Lords chamber. The speech as per the constitution is expected to outline the legislative agenda of the Government. Prorogation normally takes place a year after the Parliament session begins and also concludes the session formally. Dissolution marks the end of a parliamentary term meaning that a general election has to be conducted for all House of Commons seats. The 2011 Act of Fixed-term Parliaments expects the general elections to take place after five years but the elections can be held sooner in the event that the Prime Minister is voted out in a confidence motion or if more than two thirds of the House of Commons members vote is favour of an early election (Smith, 2010).
Before the legislature passes a bill to law, the bill has to be approved by the monarch. The bill can be assented to become a law or withheld in a process known as vetoing. The Britain’s monarch operates in the same manner as other devolved governments such as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the Sovereign has the power to appoint the First Minister after a candidate has been nominated by the Parliament. In Wales, its First Minister is appointed through the National Assembly nomination. The Sovereign in Scotland acts as the adviser of the government matters. This is not the same case in Wales as the devolution here is somehow limited. In Britain, the Sovereign has been deemed as the source of justice.
Even though the Sovereign does not take part in the ruling of judicial cases, the judicial processes are conducted in his or her name. For example, persecutions appear on behalf of the monarch and the countries courts base their authority on the Crown. Though the common law has it that the Sovereign cannot engage in any illegal act, the monarch happens to be immune and cannot be persecuted for committing criminal offenses. The 1947 act of Crown Proceedings permits the civil lawsuits to stand against the public capacity of the Crown. This involves suits filed against the government but not personally targeting the monarch. The Sovereign in the UK has the power to exercise prerogative of mercy that allows him to reduce sentences or pardon offenders who have been convicted (Walter, 2001).