9 Old School Things Queen Elizabeth Actually Has The Power To Do, But It's Unlikely To Happen Anytime Soon
It is evident to all that Queen Elizabeth II is a mighty ruler. She does not need a driver's license, owns all the swans and a lot of aquatic animals in the UK, and has a bunch of other royal perks. She does way more than just rocking her colorful outfits, but to what extent can she influence the nation?
Well, it turns out the reigning monarch does have really crucial governmental power, and there are a least nine things we bet you had no idea that she is able to do; however, the likelihood is very low and, in some cases, we are glad it is like that. Keep on reading, so you know what we are talking about!
1. The Parliament
The British Parliament is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, overseas territories, and the Crown dependencies, meaning it is the highest governing figure and thereby have the ultimate power over all the other political bodies.
Yes, we know you thought that was the royal family's duty. Nevertheless, the Queen does have some power over it since she is the one in charge of commencing the Parliamentary year every May. Although it might seem simple, it is an elaborate and traditional ceremony.
It takes place at the Palace of Westminster, and the Queen even wears the Imperial State Crown. The event is so momentous since it is the only one that gathers the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the Queen in the same place.
As we previously stated, the Parliament has legislative power and is the body in charge of rules. However, it is Elizabeth the one who signs off any legal proposal before it formally goes into effect. This approval is known as the "royal assent", and she has the right to give it or not.
However, this capability is not something that the Queen can play with at her whim. Surprisingly, the last time a ruler did not grant the royal assent was in 1708. Queen Anne, Elizabeth's ancestor, determined to decline a bill because it could have restored the Scottish army. So far, Elizabeth II hasn't exercised this right.
As a country with representative democracy, government officials are selected through the vote, but again, we have an exception to the rule here. The monarch has the right to appoint the Ministers to the Crown, and these involve cabinet officials and advisors. Her choices are usually from already existing members of Parliament.
In the UK, if you commit a crime, you will undoubtedly go to jail. Nevertheless, earning the royal pardon can prevent you from being behind bars. Prince Charles' mother can grant her mercy to any person that has been convicted of a crime. Although it is not common these days, the monarch has used it.
The pardon can free prisoners or reduce sentences, and the latter was the case in 2001. Two inmates in a South Wales penitentiary center saved the life of one of the prison's workers that had been attacked by a wild boar. She decided that their heroic deed had earned them less time in jail.
Back in 2013, she also gave post-mortem pardon to Alan Turing, who was a computer scientist and mathematician with high influence in his field. However, he was convicted after the Second World War under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.
Although she does not emit them directly, every passport that ministers issue is on her behalf, meaning that if you are a British citizen, you have to thank the Queen for your traveling document. Of course, issuing them implies that she can also withdraw them, so when abroad, be careful not to do anything that would discredit the Crown.
6. Military Forces
We could never imagine the long-lasting monarch wearing a military uniform, and even though she does not need it, she is still the Commander in Chief of the entire armed forces. She has the whole right, but it is not everyone's cup of tea, especially at the age of 92.
Perhaps, that is why she can delegate the responsibility at will, and that is precisely what she did. She vested de facto power in the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defense; however, she is still the ultimate military authority. Thus, before joining them, every soldier swears an allegiance oath to her.
Remember that we mentioned we were glad that the Queen did not exercise all her powers? Well, we were referring to this one. The monarch is the sole person in the entire country that can declare war on other nations just in the case of all-out warfare.
Moreover, she needs the consent of Parliament, the Prime Minister, and other government groups. Gladly, she has never declared war on anyone. In fact, the last one to do so was her father, King George VI, but it was against Nazi Germany of 1939, so he had excellent reasons to use this power.
8. Parliament part II
If appointing ministers and opening sessions is not enough, wait to read what else Elizabeth II could do. If she pleased, the monarch could make everyone in the House of Commons redundant and have elections to choose new members. However, this power was removed since de approbation of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act in 2011.
Of course, we cannot miss the impact this decision could have on government activities, although it wouldn't affect the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Furthermore, such a resolution would be very disliked among citizens. Hence, she has never used her right, and the last time it happened was in 1830.
9. Titles of honor
This power is very cool since it means that Her Royal Highness can bestow a wide range of honors on individuals that have done a distinctive deed such as charity work, contributions to science and other fields, or those who have been British role models.
There are many honors though, but the most common ones are "Sir" and "Dame" which have been awarded to celebs such as singer Elton John, actress Maggie Smith, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, and actor Patrick Stewart. The titles do not grant any type of power, but they do make your name stylish!
We could see that the monarch in the UK is a vital person with crucial and intriguing responsibilities that could change the fate of the nation. Were you surprised at some of these powers? If so, do not hesitate to share this article so that others can be struck with wonder as well.