The Queen made a sudden return to Buckingham Palace on Monday morning to receive the Prime Minister David Cameron after the dissolution of Parliament. The Queen, who is residing at Windsor Castle for the next month for Easter Court, received Mr Cameron shortly after 11 o’clock as he travelled the short journey to the Palace from Downing Street by car.
Thanks to the Fixed Term Parliaments act 2011, The Queen no longer holds the power to dissolve Parliament and so its dissolution was brought about by statute at exactly 12.01am this morning. Mr Cameron’s audience of The Queen is said to have been a formality, it being the last time he will see The Queen until after the election.
Later today (at 3pm) a proclamation will be made at both the Royal Exchange in London and Mercat Cross in Edinburgh by The Queen which will announce the date which Her Majesty has determined that Parliament will return on. Formerly, the proclamation would have announced that The Queen has herself dissolved Parliament, however owing to Fixed Term Parliaments, the shortened proclamation will merely provide the date for reconvening Parliament.
The Queen prorogued Parliament last week on Thursday ahead of its dissolution. Shortly after, Downing Street confirmed that the State Opening of Parliament will take place on 27th May which The Queen will attend to formally begin the first Parliamentary session of the 56th Parliament.
The Prime Minister will next meet with The Queen following the General Election on 7th May when he’ll either be invited to continue his tenure as Prime Minister by The Queen if he is likely to command the support of the House of Commons or to tender his resignation to Her Majesty if another party is more capable of forming a Government.
It will be The Queen’s responsibility to ensure that the condition (commanding support of Commons) is met for whomever she appoints as Prime Minister.
With predictions showing no party is likely to command a majority in the Commons after the election, it will once again fall on The Queen’s Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt to work with Civil Servants as the parties work together to form some kind of deal.
At the dissolution of Parliament at midnight, all MPs officially lost their jobs ahead of the short campaign, which begins today, while writs will be issued to the UK’s 650 constituencies to return an MP after 7th May to the new Parliament.
The Queen also received the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (also Lord President of the Privy Council) before returning to Windsor Castle to continue with Easter Court. Her Majesty will return to Buckingham Palace towards the end of April, in time for the General Election itself and the events that follow.
photo credit: Martin/Royal Central