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Can The Queen vote?

The government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is classified as a constitutional monarchy, not unlike the governments of Spain, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. In the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth holds ceremonial power. She is considered Head of State in the United Kingdom and all other member countries of the Commonwealth. While different political parties can hold the majority in Parliament, the Head of State remains the same through these inevitable governmental changes. No matter which political party holds majority, Parliament is still considered under the sovereign’s government.

It is important to understand that only Parliament can pass laws and regulations. However, Queen Elizabeth holds the power to invite the chosen head of the majority party in the House of Commons to become Prime Minister, open new sessions of Parliament, give royal assent to acts of Parliament, and approve Orders and Proclamations of the Privy Council. It is paramount that the sovereign remain neutral in all political proceedings. Because of this, The Queen cannot vote or run for political office. As stated by the British Monarchy’s official website, “The Queen’s role is to provide continuity and the focus for national unity, and the Royal Family’s public role is based on identifying with every section of society, including minorities and special interest groups.”

There is no written law stating that the sovereign cannot vote. However, it is viewed as unconstitutional for Her Majesty to vote in any election. Neutrality is the main reason The Queen does not vote. This is beneficial to the government, because no matter which political party holds the majority in Parliament, it is considered the government of Her Majesty.  Further, The Queen is considered a member of the legislature. By this, she is not allowed to vote for other members of the legislature, even if it is for a different part of the legislative branch. When it comes to the European Parliament, The Queen and other members of the Royal Family are able to participate in this voting process. They can even stand for office, if they so desired due to the passage of the Maastricht Treaty. The Queen would only participate in the voting or election process if her government had advised her to do so. However, her Ministers would prefer that she not participate in this so that she can remain neutral, even within the European Parliament.

  • makilby

    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. “only Parliament can pass laws and regulations” Parliament creates Acts of Parliament which pass into Bills; they do not pass into law until the Sovereign signs them, giving “Royal Assent” If the Sovereign so chooses, they may decline to sign, and the Bill is “passed over”. Whilst I appreciate that to do so in these modern times would cause a constitutional crisis, please remember that just because a power is not exercised, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!

    • Dominic

      When the sovereign is providing royal assent to bills they do so as the Queen/King in Parliament – a part of parliament – and therefore the statement that only Parliament can pass legislation and regulations is correct.

  • The best system of governance. Monarch is custodian of democracy.

  • Alex Patnick

    HM The Queen is not head of state of every member of the Commonwealth. There are, I think, 51 members of which the Queen is head of state of 16 of them, including the UK. These 16 countries are known as the Commonwealth Realms, and there are several countries that were never part of the Empire and never ruled from London.

  • Kenneth Hammer

    What about the rest of the Royal Family? Does Charles and William not vote for the same reason? What about Prince Harry and the others?

    • Ryan Barnes

      Yes, I want know if they can as well?

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