Elizabeth II is the Reigning Queen of Great Britain and the Commonwealth Kingdoms of the Windsor Dynasty, Supreme Commander of the British Armed Forces, Supreme Head of the Church of England, and Head of the Commonwealth of Nations. She is the current monarch in fifteen independent states. In accordance with the British tradition of a parliamentary monarchy, Elizabeth II performs mainly representative functions, practically having no influence on the country’s government. However, during her reign, she successfully maintains the authority of the British monarchy. Her duties include visiting various countries with diplomatic visits, meeting with high-ranking government officials (especially with the prime minister), reading annual messages to parliament, presenting awards, knighting, and more.
The Queen also looks through the main British newspapers every day and answers with the servants’ help to some letters sent to her in huge quantities (200-300 pieces daily). At the same time, there is a practice that every day, several letters are chosen at random and read to the Queen, and in this case, she personally dictates the answers to them.
There are other forms of communication between the Queen and her subjects. For example, since May 11, 1956, small informal dinners of the Queen and her spouse with prominent people have been practiced (usually attended by 6-8 guests and two courtiers). In general, under Elizabeth, the forms of communication between the monarch and subjects became much more diverse than under her predecessors, which was facilitated by the development of information technology. Under her, the British monarchy acquired pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as an official website.
Elizabeth II, in theory, can eat swans from the Thames, break traffic rules, and declare war on someone. The Queen of Great Britain has many rights, privileges, and powers to which she can resort, but she refuses many (Clancy 335). Many of the rights and capabilities of the British monarch are contained in the “royal privilege” law. Theoretically, the ruler has the right to declare war on another state because all the country’s military forces take the oath to her.
The “royal privilege” law gives the monarch the ability to ignore the advice of ministers in times of serious constitutional crisis. The last British monarch to do so was Queen Elizabeth’s father, George VI, in 1939. He declared war on Nazi Germany at the start of World War II. However, Elizabeth II never did this, and such decisions are now made by the government, usually after a vote in parliament. Nevertheless, the monarch has the right to do what she wants, up to the compulsory appropriation and destruction of the property of her subjects.
The Queen does not have too many active roles in today’s British politics: for example, she opens new sessions of parliament (delivers a speech prepared for her), appoints ministers and lords (on the advice of the government and her advisers), and awards her subjects with titles (here she also does not decide anything concretely). Another function concerns the “royal assent,” in which the monarch issues laws passed by parliament. In other words, the Queen must sign new rules for them to take effect. She may refuse, but she remains strictly neutral on all political issues. She never does so, although she can express her opinion on the laws to the Prime Minister at weekly meetings.
If someone broke the law and was convicted by the court, the monarch has the right to pardon them, but the Queen does not like to interfere. In the recent past, the Queen used this right only twice: in 2001, she pardoned two criminals who saved the life of a prison farm employee when a wild boar attacked him. The posthumous pardon by the Queen of the “father of computer science” Alan Turing in 2013 received the greatest resonance. He was convicted in the 1950s under the then homosexual laws. Thus, Queen Elizabeth II is a prominent representative of modern politics and often shows a positive example of government.
Clancy, Laura. “The Corporate Power of the British Monarchy: Capital(Ism), Wealth and Power in Contemporary Britain.” The Sociological Review, vol. 69, no. 2. 2021, pp. 330–347.