Can Queen Elizabeth II Dissolve Parliament?December 16, 2018
The monarchy has seen a lot of change since Queen Elizabeth II became queen. In fact, many believe Queen Elizabeth is the last true British monarch. In today’s world, the British royal family has slowly declined in power and transitioned into a symbol of Britain rather than part of the government. However, despite some of the more recent changes, Her Majesty still has a lot of powers — ones that likely won’t get passed down to Prince Charles once he is king (or, at least Parliament could make sure of it). Speaking of powers, can Queen Elizabeth II dissolve Parliament? We take a closer look at the monarch’s powers, ahead.
Queen Elizabeth II attends the 2018 Braemar Highland Gathering in 2018. | Jeff J. Mitchell/ Getty Images
Can Queen Elizabeth II dissolve Parliament?
Queen Elizabeth’s family was once the supreme ruler of England (and its territories). However, a lot has changed over the years as Parliament has become more dominant than the royal family and Her Majesty. And while the queen still has the ability to form new governments, she can no longer dissolve Parliament and call for a general election.
As of 2011, Queen Elizabeth II can no longer exercise her power to dissolve parliament. With the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, a two-thirds vote in the House of Commons must occur to dissolve England’s government before a five-year fixed-term expires.
What are Queen Elizabeth’s powers?
As the monarch, Queen Elizabeth is allowed to do pretty much whatever she wants — except a few important things like dissolve parliament. That said, once Prince Charles ascends the throne, he might not have the same freedom and rights as his mother if the accession council does not grant him the abilities. That’s why some refer to Her Majesty as the last true monarch.
That said, Queen Elizabeth II is not going anywhere. At 92-years-old, Her Majesty still carries out many of her duties. Keep reading to find out what powers Queen Elizabeth has.
She has to sign laws
One of Her Majesty’s biggest responsibilities is signing laws into effect. In order to a bill into a law, Queen Elizabeth II must sign laws. Here’s how it works: First, a proposed law passes through both houses of Parliament. Then, it goes to Buckingham Palace where the queen sits down and signs off, aka conducts the “Royal Assent.”
She could overrule ministerial advice
Although she can no longer dissolve Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II can overrule ministerial advice “in grave constitutional crisis.” According to Parliament, she can “act contrary to or without Ministerial advice.” However, it is unclear what this would look like in modern times (though the possibility still stands).
She can fire the entire Australian government
She can’t dissolve Parliament, but she can get rid of the Australian government. As Australia’s head of state, Her Majesty has special powers over its government and therefore can fire the Prime Minister, as well as the rest of the government.
She can’t be prosecuted
Another one of the queen’s powers? She can never be prosecuted. The idea stems from the theory that no monarch can do wrong. However, if Her Majesty — or another sovereign — committed a crime, many believe she would abdicate the throne.
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