The Royal Prerogative are a set number of powers and privileges held by The Queen as part of the British constitution. Nowadays, a lot of these powers are exercised on Her Majesty’s behalf by ministers – things such as issuing or withdrawing passports which, without the Royal Prerogative, would require an act of parliament each time.
Over time, the prerogative powers have been used less and less though the important thing in our Constitutional Monarchy is that they still exist, they remain a means of protecting democracy in this country ensuring that no one can simply seize power.
Victorian constitutionalist Walter Bagehot defined The Queen’s rights as, the right ‘to be consulted, to encourage and to warn’ – but these rights are not the same as her powers, as we will now see.
The Queen’s prerogative powers vary and fall into different categories…
The Queen’s political powers nowadays are largely ceremonial, though some are actively used by The Queen such as at General Elections or are available in times of crisis and some are used by Ministers for expediency when needed.
The Queen’s judicial powers are now very minimal and there is only really one which is used on a regular basis, with others having been delegated to judges and parliament through time.
The Queen’s powers in the Armed Forces are usually used on the advice of Generals and Parliament, though some functions are retained by The Queen herself nowadays.
One of the main prerogative powers that are still used personally by The Queen these days is the power to grant honours. As all honours derive from the Crown, The Queen has the final say on knighthoods, peerages and the like.
Other powers Her Majesty holds include:
photo credit: UK Parliament via photopin cc
Does the sovereign really use her power regarding honours ? We know that Garter/Thistle/Merit appointments are decided ony by her majesty, but I guess that the queen may turn down honours proposals, and that leakages aren`t supposed to happen.
Is it true that the queen have developed a personally restrictive approach regarding the creation of hereditary titles ? The PM did nominate individuals for hereditary honours until the Harold Wilson era, then it stopped with a few exceptions during the Thatcher era. I`m surprised that Cameron hasn`t revived the herditary peerage, since he is a traditional tory politican. Maybe we get a couple of creations in his resignation honours list.
Can the Queen claim any nation she want’s to?
Yes, but only within the commonwealth. She could for example claim Canada and Australia among others.
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