The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is granted many Progrative powers and privileges. Aside from the round-the-clock security, weekend breaks at Chequers and ministerial salary, David Cameron PM is the only man with the privilege of having a private weekly audience with the Queen as Head of State.
The weekly audience has become the subject of speculation and mystery. No cameras are present, the door is closed and the Prime Minister has the chance to discuss matters of governance with the Head of State. Her Majesty has a special relationship with the Prime Minister due to the constitutional style of monarchy in place within the United Kingdom.
The Queen grants a weekly audience to her Prime Minister at which she expresses her views on Government matters. These historic meetings place the Queen at the heart of government and even if a physical meeting cannot take place then a telephone call will be made.
The communications between the Queen and her Government of the day are strictly confidential. The Queen is almost bound in her capacity as a constitutional monarch to abide by the advice of her ministers. David Cameron is usually summoned to such audiences on Wednesdays during Parliamentary time. The purpose of these audiences is to enable the Queen to discuss with the Prime Minister matters of governance in perfect confidence, and with the sound understanding that their comments will not reach outside ears. This is particularly important for the Queen has, and must remain, political independence in her role and capacity.
Although it is not one-hundred-per-cent certain when these audiences began their origin seems to stem from the Second World War where His Majesty George VI would invite Sir Winston Churchill to lunches at Buckingham Palace in order to monitor war progress. It is evident, however, that regular weekly audiences did not begin until the reign of the present Queen.
With no written records depicting the private weekly audiences the latest West End hit “The Audience” is entirely the imagination of playwright Peter Morgan.
It is common knowledge that Dame Helen Mirren is staring yet again as Her Majesty in a West End Performance, The Audience. In a humorous scene that has the audience laughing in their seats, “the Queen” appears to be day-dreaming into sleep as an actor staring as “David Cameron” bores “Her Majesty” with the latest political news from Europe.
According to the Mail on Sunday the real Queen assured David Cameron that she has never fallen asleep in real life before adding after a somewhat teasing pause, “Yet!” Her Majesty is well-known for having a sense of humour.
Regardless of the play’s depiction of the Queen, what we as outsiders know and understand is that Prime Ministers see a purpose to these audiences and take away a wealth of knowledge from them. With 12 Prime Ministers spanning Her Majesty’s glorious reign of over 60 years, Her Majesty is evidentially more qualified than any governmental advisor. The weekly addresses are a chance for the Queen to have an effective input into the very heart of her Government and I am sure that the Prime Ministers are grateful (given the public lives that they lead) for a breathing space in the company of one of the most knowledgeable women in the world.