The British Monarchy TodayCategory: Politics
The Monarch and His Powers. The Formation of the Commonwealth. The Queen — the Head of the Commonwealth. Parliament and the Monarch
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. This means that it has a monarch (a king or a queen) as its Head of State. The monarch reigns with the support of Parliament. The powers of the monarch are not defined precisely. Everything today is done in the Queen’s name. It is her government, her armed forces, her law courts and so on. She appoints all the Ministers, including the Prime Minister. Everything is done however on the advice of the elected Government, and the monarch takes no part in the decision-making process.
Once the British Empire included a large number of countries all over the world ruled by Britain. The process of decolonisation began in 1947 with the independence of India, Pakistan and Ceylon. Now, apart from Hong Kong and a few small islands, there is no longer an empire. But the British ruling classes tried not to lose influence over the former colonies of the British Empire. An association of former members of the British Empire and Britain was founded in 1949. It is called the Commonwealth. It includes many countries such as Ireland, Burma, the Sudan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and others. The Queen of Great Britain is also the Head of the Commonwealth, and so the Queen of Canada, Australia, New Zealand…
The Queen is very rich as are other members of the royal family. In addition, the government pays for her expenses as Head of State, for a royal yacht, train and aircraft as well as for the upkeep of several palaces. The Queen’s image appears on stamps, notes and coins.
Parliament consists of two chambers known as the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Parliament and the monarch have different roles in the government of the country, and they only meet together on symbolic occasions such as coronation of a new monarch or the opening of Parliament. In reality, the House of Commons is the only one of the three which is true power. It is here that new bills are introduced and debated. If the majority of the members are not in favour of a bill it goes to the House of Lords to be debated and finally to the monarch to be signed. Only then it becomes law. Although a bill must be supported by all three bodies, the House of Lords only has limited powers, and the monarch has not refused to sign one since the modern political system began over 200 years ago.