By Oliver Briscoe
Thirdly, when it come to the Queen in particular, people often wonder what powers she has and why she should have any. To further understand her role, we will start by listing out her most important powers.
Summoning/Proroguing Parliament – The Queen has the power to prorogue and to summon Parliament – prorogation typically happens at the end of a parliamentary session, and the summoning occurs shortly after, when The Queen attends the State Opening of Parliament.
Royal Assent – It is The Queen’s right and responsibility to grant assent to bills from Parliament, signing them into law. Whilst, in theory, she could decide to refuse assent, the last Monarch to do this was Queen Anne in 1708.
Secondary Legislation – The Queen can create Orders-in-Council and Letters Patent, that regulate parts to do with the Crown, such as precedence, titles. Orders in Council are often used by Ministers nowadays to bring Acts of Parliament into law.
Appoint/Remove Ministers – Her Majesty also has the power to appoint and remove Ministers of the Crown (This is now done with the agreement of the Prime Minister).
Appointing the Prime Minister – The Queen is responsible for appointing the Prime Minister after a general election or a resignation, in a General Election The Queen will appoint the candidate who is likely to have the most support of the House of Commons ( the elected candidate). In the event of a resignation, The Queen listens to advice on who should be appointed as their successor.
Declaration of War – The Sovereign retains the power to declare war against other nations, though in practice this is done by the Prime Minister and Parliament of the day.
Freedom From Prosecution – Under British law, The Queen is above the law and cannot be prosecuted – she is also free from civil action.
Royal Pardon – The Royal Pardon was originally used to retract death sentences against those wrongly convicted. It is now used to correct errors in sentencing and was recently used to give a posthumous pardon to WW2 codebreaker, Alan Turing.
Commander-in-Chief – The Queen is commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and all members swear an oath of allegiance to The Queen when they join; they are Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Commissioning of Officers – The Queen’s powers include the commissioning of officers into the Armed Forces and also removing commissions (when members of the Armed Forces salute and officers, they are saluting The Queen’s commission).
Disposition of the Forces – The organisation and disposition of the Armed Forces are part of the Royal Prerogative; the crown technically controls how the Armed Forces are used.
Creation of Peerages – The Queen may create a peerage for any person – whether a life peerage or hereditary one, though hereditary peerages haven’t been issued for decades outside of the Royal Family.
Font of Honour – It is The Queen’s prerogative power to create orders of knighthood and to grant any citizen honours, from the Royal Victorian Order to the Order of the Garter.
Control of Passports – The issuing and withdrawal of passports are within the Royal Prerogative – this is often used by ministers on behalf of The Queen. All British passports are issued in The Queen’s name.
Requisitioning of Ships – This power allows a ship to be commandeered in Her Majesty’s name for service to the realm. This power was used on the QE2 to take troops to the Falklands after the Argentine invasion in 1982.
Some of these powers may seem a bit much for a woman who isn't democratically elected or even make her look quite powerful, but most of these are archaic and antiquated powers that the Monarch can no longer use without scrutiny from Parliament or the Prime Minister.
If by a haphazard chance she did decide to invade Swaziland, her order would be reversed and she would be stripped of her powers. Parliament has complete control over her powers and she only ever uses them for good (cf: QE2 Falklands).
The reason she has any of these powers in the first place is because officially the Government derives its power from the Crown so anything Parliament does or she does with Parliament (Opening Parliament) comes from the power of the Crown. For example, we call the Government, Her Majesty’s Government, we call the Secret Service, Her Majesty Secret Service, but really these names mean nothing when it comes to concrete and real power.
Finally, to look at the benefit of the Queen and her family we must look at their diplomacy and the Commonwealth.
The Queen is the head of the Commonwealth. In that role she unites 53 different member states from all over the Globe. Her visits to these countries always bring joy and happiness to the people. This exclusive group of nations enjoy and have enjoyed decades of prosperous trade and peace, all in the name of our Monarch. Every 4 years these nations come together in at the Commonwealth Games to celebrate the economical and social advantages brought by our country and our Monarch.
The Royal Family also play a role when it comes to diplomacy. Although we have diplomats and bureaucrats the Government still chooses to send royalty on official trips to promote friendship and trade. Most recently the Duke and Duchess’ visited India on behalf of the Government.
In conclusion, The country’s relationship with the Royal Family is a long and complicated one that has spanned over many centuries. The Queen has dedicated her life for the service of this nation, whether she was helping in times of war or strengthening the union between our country and others across the globe. Her and her family have had a huge positive social and economical impact across many sectors and I believe that any attempt to undermine or overthrow her family and the tradition they embody would be deeply unfounded.