Roles Of The British Monarchy: Existent, Relevant, And Important

1614 words - 6 pages

A king, queen, or monarch is often seen as a figure of absolute power with control over taxation, the military, religion, finances, and foreign policy. However, the British monarchy only retains a small portion of these powers; the retention of these powers remains mainly symbolic. The idea of absolute monarchal power describes more accurately the Tudor dynasty of the past than the Windsor family of today. The British Monarchy, despite its limited powers, still has a major role in modern British society. The Queen, with little political power, maintains political neutrality with a small allowance of political suggestion. The Queen, along with other members of the Royal Family, exercises influence in other aspects of British society: she participates in multiple charities and promotes volunteer campaigns. She serves as a diplomat, traveling to other countries on behalf of Great Britain. The Queen conducts traditional ceremonies and celebrations, many of which produce large audiences of the British public, promoting national unity. The Queen and the British Monarchy serve as an attraction for tourists who are infatuated with the lives of royals. It is clear to see that the British Monarchy actively participates in British society, playing a large role that is different from that of the past, but that is relevant and important in modern British society.
The British Monarchy is today a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II acting as the head of state. The constitutional monarchy was established as the result of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689. The mostly peaceful revolution was aimed at King James II. Many people were displeased with his favoritism towards Catholics in a Protestant country. James II fled the country in hopes of saving his own life. The joint monarchs William and Mary, who were both Protestants, succeeded James II. With the new rulers came the English Bill of Rights (1689). The Bill of Rights placed limits on the powers of the crown, delegating authority to an elected parliament that could petition the monarch freely. The bill established the foundation for the constitutional monarchy that is in place today. Though the Queen is head of state, she is more of a figurehead, with minimal political influence, required to “remain strictly neutral” (Queen and Government). The Queen’s political role is limited to opening Parliament and granting the dissolution of Parliament, having the power to appoint the Prime Minister, enacting or rejecting legislation, and conducting weekly meetings with the Prime Minister. The Queen has never used her power of appointing the Prime Minister or enacting or rejecting legislation against the vote of the people or Parliament. Doing so “could cause a political crisis,” damaging the Queen’s popularity and reputation (Alden, Britain’s Monarchy). The power is left in the hands of Parliament. In weekly meetings with the Prime Minister, the Queen can offer “her views on Government matters” (Queen...

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