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Why we’d never see the Queen behind bars

The fount of all modern knowledge – Google – is asked hundreds of thousands of questions, on a multitude of topics, from people around the world every single day. It will be of little or no surprise to hear that a lot of these questions concern the British Royal Family.

Common themes arise, but one unusual question is asked more often than most – would Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ever go to jail if she committed a crime?

The answer is not as straightforward as you might initially think! Google itself has difficulty answering as the question deals in hypotheticals, which makes a decisive answer a virtual impossibility for the intricate pattern of coding behind the search engine’s innocuous home page. Experts are also hard pressed to say one way or another what would happen, as there is simply no precedent in modern history.

There is, however, some solid data to draw from and the facts are this: The Queen is the head of the police services, the courts and the prisons which means it would take exceptional circumstances to see Her Majesty arrested, prosecuted or imprisoned. Specifically:

  • Law enforcement officials would have a difficult time slapping handcuffs on the monarch considering they have sworn an oath that they will ‘well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable.’
  • Courts would have a difficult time prosecuting as The Queen is the head of the criminal justice system and it would, quite literally, be a case of ‘The Queen versus The Queen’ in a court of law.
  • Prison officials would be hard pressed to convincingly prove that an incarcerated monarch would be serving time ‘at Her Majesty’s Pleasure’ as all other prisoners are said to be.

So where does that leave us? If minor, the crime may well go unpunished. If major, The Queen would possibly be forced to abdicate and step down from the throne – an eventuality almost impossible to consider or picture given her decades of dedicated service and her positive, uplifting disposition which has made her beloved by millions!

If an abdication were to occur, The Queen would, as a non-reigning member of the royal family, be tried for her crime. Because though the rules are murky for a crime committed by the monarch, the rest of the royal family can face arrest, just like the rest of us.