BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour has drawn up a list of the 100 most powerful women in Britain. At the top of the list, it placed Her Majesty The Queen. But just how powerful is The Queen, and even though she does have some powers – can she use them?
To start with, the survey, conducted by BBC Radio 4 Programme, Woman’s Hour aimed to look at the most powerful women in Britain. The full list, as we saw it, is available by clicking here. The list placed the 86-year-old Monarch at the top of the list, shortly followed by the UK’s Home Secretary Theresa May.
Ms Pollard from Woman’s Hour said: “Most women on our list were judged to have power because they had reached a place where they have control – of policy, of direction, of influence, of staff.” She went on to say that The Duchess Of Cambridge hadn’t been included for one reason. Though she is influential, she is not powerful.
The Queen’s powers originate from what are known as ‘Royal Prerogatives’ and though Her Majesty reserves the right to exercise them herself, the majority are exercised on her behalf by the Ministers Of The Crown.
She reserves 15 primary powers (as we found out in research four our article which listed the Queen’s powers), they are:
All these powers are used all the time on Her Majesty’s behalf. Royal prerogatives exist to make it an easier and smoother experience in exercising some of the state powers which, otherwise, would require extended legislation or would take much longer.
Even though ministers now mostly exercise the royal prerogatives, some are still exclusively exercised or at least sometimes exercised by The Queen. Her Majesty grants honours on a regular basis and doing so remains her privilege and responsibility in the UK. Her Majesty almost always gives Royal assent to bills herself, she makes her own appointments to the Privy Council and often uses her power to create cities in the United Kingdom. Although all of the aforementioned are powers and they are exercised by The Queen, could she, at least theoretically, exercise any of the perhaps more extreme powers. Could she, for example, declare a war? Well… Yes!
All these powers remain at Her Majesty’s disposal and, whether she exercises them or not, are still available for use. Having said this, using a power such as dismissal of ministers unfairly could result in some kind of backlash, possibly resulting in ministers seeing the Monarch as interfering or misplaced.
So to summarise, The Queen maintains these powers because they are useful to ministers, the fact they can be exercised by Her Majesty is a bonus and means she can maintain huge power.
I would much rather have her advising ministers and such, rather than some politician! God Save the Queen!
To receive the latest Royal Central posts straight to your email inbox, enter your email address below and press subscribe.
Join 599 other subscribers