You may mostly see the Queen giving away to charities and rocking bright coloured outfits, but, Queen Elizabeth does have some very real governmental power.
Here, have a look at what amazing powers Queen Elizabeth really has.
- Open Parliament sessions
Parliament is the United Kingdom’s highest governing body. And yet, Queen Elizabeth does still have some power over this legislative group containing hundreds of individuals. Namely, Her Majesty must officially open Parliament every May to commence the Parliamentary year. This ceremony is elaborate and steeped in tradition. The Queen must lead a procession through the Royal Gallery at the Palace of Westminster.
She has to wear the Imperial State Crown and give a formal address to both Houses of Parliament. This is the only ceremonial event where the House of Lords, the House of Commons, and Queen Elizabeth herself gather in the same space. Parliament may have the power to make the laws, but Her Majesty must sign off on a proposed bill before it officially goes into effect. She must give what’s known as the ‘royal assent’.
- Dissolve Parliament
If she chooses, Queen Elizabeth could fire everyone in the House of Commons and hold a new election of entirely new members. Though, Her Majesty has never used this power. But, even if she did, it wouldn’t disrupt government activities as much as you think. The Government itself, including the Prime Minister and Cabinet, would be unaffected.
The last time a monarch dissolved Parliament was in 1830. And, a decision to do so today would most likely be hugely unpopular with the public.
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- Pardon criminals
If at all she thinks, Queen Elizabeth can grant a royal pardon to anyone convicted of a crime. This is one of those power, that she doesn’t use much nowadays.
The original purpose of royal pardon was to provide an exemption from the now abolished death penalty. The practice of royal pardon is less common today. But, the Queen did use it to grant a pardon to World War II code-breaker, Alan Turing in 2013.
- Command the Armed Forces
The Queen is Commander-in-Chief of the United Kingdom’s entire military force. All British soldiers must swear an oath to her before officially joining the armed forces. With the power to command the army, comes the power to delegate that duty. Queen Elizabeth can actually assign the position of Commander-in-Chief to another government official as well.
Also read: Queen Elizabeth’s most iconic style moments.
- Declare a war
Not only can the reigning monarch declare war on other countries, but, she’s the only one in the UK with the power to do so. This ability only applies in cases of all-out warfare, Parliament, Prime Minister, and the rest of the government would have to permit it.
Queen Elizabeth has never declared war throughout her reign. The last monarch to do so was King George VI, who declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939.
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