To Top

Is The Queen Really Above The Law?

For centuries, the reigning Monarch in Britain has been considered the font of justice. But what does this mean, and does it mean The Queen can do whatever she wants without legal repercussions? We’re about to take a look back at the days when Monarchs played a vital role in administering justice to give an accurate and direct answer.

Many hundreds of years ago, the reigning Monarchs of England were at the top of the legal system. They themselves were the source and seat of all justice, the Monarch’s subjects were constantly at their King’s mercy, sometimes for even the most trivial crimes.

Up until only a few centuries ago, Royal Authority was at its high-point, where it was treason to even imagine the death of the Sovereign. Challenging the Sovereign’s authority was the most insufferable form of treason in the eyes of the law and the Monarchy, often resulting in death.

The reason for the Monarchy taking such a high stand against any form of opposition was two-fold. Firstly, Monarchs, in the middle ages and before, must maintain an unchallenged authority. If doubt was cast upon the Monarch’s fitness to reign, others could take advantage of this and challenge the Monarch for the throne. Royal authority was their way of ensuring challengers knew just how powerful and mighty their King was. Secondly was the ancient belief that Monarchs ruled with the authority of God and that Kings had been sent to rule over the land and do God’s work.

The position of Monarchs as ‘above the law’ has been debated for many years. Is the current Queen really in a position above the law? Could she exercise this right without repercussions? Is it right for her to have such a position?

Nowadays, Her Majesty is at the heart of the justice system in the United Kingdom, all authority for justice is carried out on The Queen’s behalf, judges carry the post-nominal of QC, which stands for ‘Queen’s Counsel’. Cases are brought to the court by Crown Prosecutors and are tried as The Crown versus (or R versus, where R stands for Regina, Queen in Latin). Her Majesty no longer plays an active role in the administration of justice, but is still in a position legally where she could, if she wanted to!

Whereas we are here debating whether the Queen is above the law, it is certainly not the case for the rest of the Royal Family, even high-ranking ones.

Princess Anne faced court charges in March 2001, when she pleaded guilty to speeding while on her way to Hartpury College in Gloucestershire. She was fined £400 by Cheltenham Magistrate’s Court, and had five points added to her driving licence. Allegedly, she saw a police car and assumed she was being given an escort.

The following year, she became the first senior member of the Royal Family to have a criminal record, after she was convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. She pleaded guilty to the charge that her dog, Dotty, attacked two children while she and her husband were walking the dog in Windsor Great Park. The Princess was fined £500 by Berkshire Magistrates’ Court and ordered to give Dotty more training.

Back to The Queen’s position. To make it absolutely clear: The Queen (or the reigning Monarch) is above the law. It has been like this for centuries and remains true and practicable today. However, the important thing is that Her Majesty doesn’t test this prerogative. Indeed, in a clearly worded article on the official British Monarchy Website, it says:

Although civil and criminal proceedings cannot be taken against the Sovereign as a person under UK law, The Queen is careful to ensure that all her activities in her personal capacity are carried out in strict accordance with the law.

Indeed, Her Majesty has never been in a position where her legal standing is in question, specifically because there can be no question. Regardless of what The Queen does, it can’t be declared illegal.

The reason for Her Majesty not performing an ostentatious display of Royal power is obvious. If The Queen were in a position where she did something that contravened British laws, there would almost undoubtably be some sort of uprising from the British people about how she can get away with blatant breaches of law, just by status! And this, in turn could spell the end of the Monarchy. After all, what’s fair about a distant figure exercising a ‘supreme right’?

  • Lejon

    Rubbish . The queen is subject to the law and can be tried and punished . Charles the First was accused of treason ( against the State ) and claimed immunity but the English Parliament responded that the monarch occupies an ‘ Office ‘ under the Law and is prosecutable under the Law . ( they then found the monarch guilty of treason and punished him ) .

    • Royal Central

      All the same, any reputable source will tell you that Her Majesty is above the law. This is for the purposes of exercising her duty as Sovereign.

      • Liberty

        She may be sovereign over an artificial legal territory backed by a monopoly on coercion and violence, but I am sovereign over my life. It is mine, I own it.

    • Iolo Goch

      The Queen and her heirs and successors have removed themselves from the Freedom of Information Act, and also they do not need to present surnames on official documents, and as these things apply to everyone by law then we must sadly conclude the Queen and her heirs and successors have put themselves above the law.

      Centuries ago such behaviour would have induced a challenge from another royal house but not today. I’m a natural monarchist but these things make me question my beliefs.

    • Giannis L

      And when Charles ii was restored , all his fathers judges were found guilty for regicide , and all where hanged , drawn and quartered . Cromwell body itself was exhumated and hanged in public view , to punish him ever post mortally .
      And all this because the sovereign enjoy sanctosacticitas ie (s)he is above the law, as fount of justice .

      • William Henry Morgan

        Awesome advice know any one willing to attempt helping the last living true blood line to the throne? The House of Morgan.

        • Magnus The Red


      • Ken Warren

        And yet when the Stuarts kept screwing up over and over again, they were deposed again. There is nothing sacred about any royal family, it’s just a show put on to impress the rubes.

    • The Bunny Suit Killer

      He was tried by a traitor who swore an oath of allegiance and then broke it.

    • Joe Schmuck

      If anything, I think your Monarch oughta be the example-setter for everyone else in his or her land, with regards to the law, and living their life within the boundaries of it. o.o

    • koushik das

      Here monarch means “The Crown”. And the Sovereign cannot be Prosecuted in front of the court because she is the Law. And in every moment she has to follow the Law. Even at the time of eating.

  • Tonym4321

    Although the Queen is apparently above the Law, this is a Logical Fallacy, as the Law states NOBODY is above the Law, this therefore proves there can be no Law due to this blatant contradiction, Simple TRIVIUM will show the Logical Fallacies in the statement. If there is to be Law it has to be that everybody is accountable to the Law otherwise the Law is defunct it cannot be, all are equal and to be treated as equal. If the case is that the Queen is above the Law, we the rest of the populous are nothing more than SLAVES. The CONTRADICTION speaks for itself, also the FACT that any Act has to be given Royal Assent and can be changed if the Queen feels it may infringe on her lifestyle, again shows the Logical Fallacy. Laws are obviously a means to control the Queens ENSLAVED citizens, as any power hungry sociopath running the country will tell you, with there typical circular argument ” The Law is the Law because it’s the Law “. They will also tell you that nothing is above the Law, which again is a CONTRADICTION and a LIE. We are all SLAVES.

    • Hutchins

      “f the case is that the Queen is above the Law, we the rest of the populous are nothing more than SLAVES.”

      Non sequitor you twat

      • The Bunny Suit Killer

        If you want to see real slavery, go ahead and replace the Crown with the gallows of the EU and its New World Order controllers who have vowed to reduce the world’s population to less than 500 million.

        I got news for you; if you even know what slavery is, chances are they won’t be giving you a pass.

      • Stephen Pickersgill

        invalid argument I
        think not. To perceive yourself as a slave to another then you must
        be self aware of a position within society in order to compare. For
        you to have the ability to say you are a slave without consequences
        then you must be free to do so and as you are free to do so you are
        not a slave.

    • NUTTY

      They’re all above the bloody law.

      • Joe Schmuck

        So are politicians and other celebrities, including footballers and Pop-stars, but that don’t make it right though! o.o

    • Bradley Cook

      Actually, it doesn’t matter how much you THINK the monarch is under the law, the fact remains that he/she is not. For one, she can’t be prosecuted. It makes sense if you think about it…every prosecution is done in the name of the monarch. The monarch cannot prosecute itself. Another reason the monarch is above the law is because the monarch is not a subject or citizen. This topic has been discussed and analyzed by people much more knowledgeable than us and they conclude that she is not subject to obey the law. That said, i think the fact that Queen Elizabeth DOES follow the law when she doesn’t technically have to shows how great a character she has. When you do right without being forced, it shows the respect she has for her subjects.

      • Ken Warren

        Perhaps it’s less a matter of respect, and more an issue that she actually carries no real authority, at all. As long as she plays the game of untouched and distant sovereign, she and her family get to continue to live in luxury. The moment that any of them actually push it, then the monarchy will be over and done with permanently.

        • Stephen Pickersgill

          Luxury you say what is so great that from the moment you are born you are a slave to the people and country. You obviously have not been in the forces unlike every Royal and if you had then you would know that our entire military is all about Queen and country.

          Sit on your ass while others protect you in a country that is protected and owned by the very person you dont think does anything or has any power. The royal family does more for this country than you could ever realise and unlike other countries our Royals have the power but choose not to use it.

      • Tony Bradbury

        We are not ‘subjects’ we are ‘citizens’.

        • Stephen Pickersgill

          Nope your a subject under the house of the queen, and as such hold a citizens rights position it is her army that protects you and it is her laws that secure your life.

          • Tony Bradbury

            There are actually six classes of British nationality under British Nationality Law (two which are active). According to these classifications, I am a British Citizen. However, if you want to be a ‘subject’, that’s fine with me. Kind regards, Tony

          • JP

            The word citizen has been watered down over the centuries, China and North Korea call its people citizens as well

          • Tony Bradbury

            Very true. These people are ‘subjects’ and not true citizens. I think in the coming years, our citizen rights will also be watered down too.

    • Stephen Pickersgill

      There is no contradiction you are living in someone else’s property and the law
      of her house is to maintain the best of that property you must abide by her law. To make sure while you are here you have rights she says I will make sure others can not go above my law and make your life unfair.
      The law is to give people safety, justice and freedom, but we are guests on the land belonging to England’s Queen and we have the freedom to leave if you don’t want to follow her law.

      We are loyal subject to the Queen under her laws and her guidance we are protected.

      To make it easier if someone stays at your home while under your roof they follow your rules its exactly the same but the whole country is the queens and she is the law.

    • jane townsend

      “If there is to be Law it has to be that everybody is accountable to the
      Law otherwise the Law is defunct it cannot be, all are equal and to be
      treated as equal.” in that case then the law is meaningless as the govenment have gotten away with breaking it countless times (including a few war crimes here and there), not to mention when law enforment fails to police itself. i agree with statement but the queen being only one who can get away with it without making the law defunct seems to be the only one who doesn’t.

  • Liberty

    Interesting, but the author never defines what law actually is and how it is often conflated with legal. Being legal doesn’t necessarily make something lawful and vice versa.

  • Mark Parry

    The Queen and all the other Royals are not above The Law. The ultimate law belongs to God and Nature. They are the ultimate supremacy. Not The Windsors or The UK government.

    • D. K. Moore

      nature yes God not so much

    • Locutus

      There is no god. And the ultimate law belongs to the people, not some fictional, superstition, manmade construct.

  • MPITTS1108

    This is so foolish. The Crown is above the law for a reason. She (or be) can do whatever is necessary to protect her subjects from government out-of-control. She is the ultimate guarantor of British liberty. Be thankful you have her. Wish we did.

  • Giannis L

    The Crown is in possession of the royal powers not the sovereign . The sovereign is the fount from which the corporation sole known as the Crown draws its authority in right of the realm.
    All powers are exercised by the the four councils that the Crown ie the privy council , the parliament , the courts of law and the great council ( dormant since the era of Charles I ).
    This set up renders impossible any miscarriage of duty from the sovereign itself as all powers are exercised by her councillors : Royal prerogative by the prime minister , law making by the parliament , administration of justice by the courts of law.
    A very self explanatory film and theatre play regarding all the above is the audience that clearly high lights the strict limitations of HM’s autonomy in Crown matters .

  • William Henry Morgan

    I agree this country and England were founded are freedom and common wealth of the people and no were does it say the Queen or any other “Elected Official” is above the law, moreover the Queen is merely an elected official and is paid a salary of 2 million a year to be elected by parliamentary procedure and at any time by “Revolution Glorious Revolution 1688 William Henry and Queen Mary of Scots” we can have a “King” again. I am the last living direct descendant to “King Charles Morgan” as well as the “Tribe of Levi”. At anytime we all could regain and replenish our world with kindness love and a change of heart for the better of all people. Not to be Rude but are we even sure the queen is not just a good look alike or a clone like “Dolly the Sheep”? Of the real one who passed in 2003 at 101 years old and last living Morgan blood Next to my father and I who have proven our DNA and she refuses to take a DNA test, how do you get her to take a DNA Test?

    • Stephen Pickersgill

      Consider this from
      the moment you are born in a country you grow based upon your
      surroundings. In England it is the land of the Queen, her protection,
      her army and her laws.

      You are given the gift of freedom but everything costs something and in order to have your freedom others must give up theirs.

      Let me explain you live on the Queens land and her protection is her army which stops invaders but an army requires soldiers, so for a sum of money a person will give up his/her freedom to be told what to do everyday
      and train to kill others.

      They do not just protect our land but every country under the Queens protection.

      You talk of an elected official placed by parliament and of been a descendant of
      Morgon blood. Firstly lets look at History and go back to 1455 where
      the country was split and in war for the true power of the throne.

      The Wars of the Roses were a series of wars for control of the throne of England
      fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of
      Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster (associated with a red rose), and
      the House of York (whose symbol was a white rose). The conflict lasted through many sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1487; however, there was fighting before and after this period between the houses.
      The power struggle ignited around social and financial troubles following the Hundred Years’ War, combined with the mental infirmity and weak rule of Henry VI which revived interest in Richard of York’s claim to the throne. Historians disagree about whether the Wars of
      the Roses were caused by the structural problems of bastard feudalism
      or Henry VI’s ineffectiveness as king.

      With the Duke of York’s death, the claim
      transferred to his heir, Edward, who later became the first Yorkist king of England, as Edward IV. His son reigned for 86 days as Edward V, but Parliament then decided that Edward and his brother
      Richard were illegitimate and offered the crown to Edward IV’s younger brother, who became Richard III. The two young princes disappeared within the confines of the Tower of London.

      The final victory went to a claimant of the
      Lancastrian party, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who defeated the
      last Yorkist king, Richard III, at the Battle of Bosworth Field.
      After assuming the throne as Henry VII, he married Elizabeth of York,
      the eldest daughter and heir of Edward IV, thereby uniting the two
      claims. The House of Tudor ruled the Kingdom of England until 1603,
      with the death of Elizabeth I, granddaughter of Henry VII and
      Elizabeth of York.

      To criticise the Royal family from a descendant who killed someone who was also placed by parliament and not the true heir to the throne of Edward III and then married Elizabeth of York to combine the clans says it all.

      There is pure blood to the true king of England Edward iii but our Royals earned their place and were decendents from the line of power not placed by politicains. My line is pre 1066 and it is our England we were here before Royals and Romans but we stand with our Queen above all others.

  • The Bunny Suit Killer

    Queen Elizabeth II is not above the law, but Galactic Empress and Sith Lady Hillary I certainly is, now bow down you heathens!

  • Pingback: No, The Queen Has Not Legally Threatened Trump With Her Sword But The Question Is, Can She? - The Civilian - Hindi News()

  • Anecdotally, I can add that the Swedish king is above the law in a similar manner as the British queen. However, he has been stopped by the police for speeding several times and has been the culprit for at least a couple of car accidents. He is obviously not as careful to follow the law as the British queen!

  • Joe Schmuck

    What if the Monarch, at the time, was to do something sexual, involving kids?! Can’t they get done for that, the same way as anyone else would?! There’s plenty of scope there for abuse of power, methinks! o.o

    • Leah Malvig

      The Monarch may be above the law, but that doesn’t rule out assassination, by outsiders OR other royal family members.

  • Phil Ogden

    well, when it comes to jury trial aren’t we entitled to be tried “by a jury of our peers”? – that’s a bit difficult for a monarch!

  • M.

    The Monarchy may be the last best hope to solve your Islamic problem. God Save the Queen!

  • Pingback: Quick Fact: The Queen is above the law and cannot be charged... - Quick Facts()

More in Her Majesty The Queen

Royal Central is the web's most popular source for the latest news and information on the British Royal Family and the Monarchies of Europe.

Subscribe via Email

To receive the latest Royal Central posts straight to your email inbox, enter your email address below and press subscribe.

Join 31,966 other subscribers.

Copyright © 2018 Royal Central, all rights reserved.