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100 Questions Answered: Monarchy (Q75-Q83)

Q75. What powers does the Queen have?

The Crown, which represents both the Sovereign (the person on whom the Crown is constitutionally conferred) and the Government, is the symbol of supreme executive power. The Crown is vested in the Queen, but in general its functions are exercised by Ministers responsible to Parliament and thus Britain is governed by Her Majestys Government in the name of the Queen. However, the Queens involvement is still required in many important acts of government.


The Queen summons, prorogues (discontinues until the next session without dissolving) and dissolves Parliament. She normally opens the new session of Parliament with a speech from the throne which is written for her by the Government and outlines her Governments programme. Before a Bill becomes law the Queen must give it her Royal Assent, which is announced to both Houses of Parliament.


The Queen can, on ministerial advice, pardon or show mercy to those convicted of crimes. In law the Queen as a private person can do no wrong: she is immune from civil or criminal proceedings and cannot be sued in courts of law. This immunity is not shared by other members of the royal family.

Honours and appointments

The Queen has the power to confer peerages, knighthoods and other honours. She normally does this on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, although a few honours are conferred by the Sovereign personally. The Queen makes appointments to many important state offices, on the advice of the Prime Minister or the relevant Cabinet Minister.

Foreign policy

Foreign diplomatic representatives in London are accredited to the Queen, and she has the power to conclude treaties, to declare war and to make peace, to recognise foreign states and governments and to annex and cede territory.

Privy Council

The Queen presides over meetings of the Privy Council. At these, among other things, Orders in Council made under the Royal Prerogative or under statute are approved. The Royal Prerogative mainly comprises executive government - powers controlled by constitutional conventions (rules which are not part of the law, but which are regarded as indispensable to the machinery of government). In nearly all cases acts involving the Royal Prerogative are performed by Ministers who are responsible to Parliament and can be questioned about policies. Parliament has the power to abolish or restrict a prerogative right.

In addition to being informed and consulted about all aspects of national life, the Queen is free to put forward her own views, in private, for the consideration of her Ministers.

Q76. Why does the Queen have two birthdays?


The Queen was actually born on 21 April, but it has long been customary to celebrate the Sovereigns birthday on a day during the summer. Since 1805 the Sovereigns "official" birthday has been marked by the Trooping the Colour ceremony, normally held on the second Saturday in June.

This is a ceremony which originated when it was essential for soldiers to recognise the flag or "Colour" of their regiment so that they could follow it into battle. Each year one of the five regiments of the foot guards (Grenadiers, Coldstream Guards, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards) take turns to display their Colour in the ceremony.

The ceremony begins with the Queen leaving Buckingham Palace escorted by the Household Cavalry. She rides down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade and inspects the 500 guardsmen.

The Colour is trooped by being carried along the ranks of guardsmen, and the Colour party then leads the guards on a march past the Queen, accompanied by the massed bands of the foot guards.

No particular annual ceremony is held on the Queens true birthday, although the Union Flag is flown on public buildings and the national anthem is sung.

Q77. Who is next in line to the throne after Prince Charles?

Line of Succession:

  1. The Prince of Wales (b. 1948)
  2. Prince William of Wales (b. 1982)
  3. Prince Henry of Wales (b. 1984)
  4. The Duke of York (b. 1960)
  5. Princess Beatrice of York (b. 1988)
  6. Princess Eugenie of York (b. 1990)
  7. Prince Edward (b. 1964)
  8. The Princess Royal (b. 1950)
  9. Peter Phillips, son of the Princess Royal (b. 1977)
  10. Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal (b. 1981)

Q78. Why is the heir to the throne called the Prince of Wales?

Prince of Wales symbol

The Heir Apparent has, since the institution of the title by King Edward I in 1301, usually been "created" Prince of Wales. Edward I led the conquest of independent Wales between 1277 and 1283. He subsequently proclaimed his son, Edward, born at Caernarfon in Wales in 1284, the Prince of Wales. There is no succession to the title, which is only renewed at the Sovereigns pleasure. The present Prince of Wales is the 21st in line - counting several who were never formally invested!

Prince Charles was created Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle on July 1st 1969.

Q79. What does "Royal" mean in the context of Royal Borough of … Royal Society of …?

The use of the word "Royal" in connection with a society, borough or organisation indicates that they were founded or established by, or are under the patronage of, a Sovereign or royal person.

There are three English boroughs that have the title "Royal": Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames and Windsor and Maidenhead, indicating that historically a Sovereign has conferred that title upon them.

There are many other "Royal" societies or organisations that have received Royal patronage, among them the Royal Automobile Club       , granted the patronage of Edward VII in 1907, and the Royal Society - a society incorporated by Charles II in 1662 for the pursuit and advancement of the physical sciences.

Q80. What are Royal Warrants?

Since the Middle Ages, tradespeople who have acted as suppliers of goods and services to the Sovereign have received the honour of formal recognition. In the beginning this patronage took the form of royal charters given collectively to various trade guilds; later the relationship between the Crown and individual tradespeople was formalised by the issue of royal warrants.

To become eligible for the status of royal tradesperson, the head of a company must be able to show that they have supplied a substantial amount of goods and services to the Royal Household for a period of not less than three consecutive years. Application is then made to the Lord Chamberlains Office, which supervises the granting of warrants.

Once granted, the warrant, which is governed by strict regulations, allows the grantee or their company to use the legend "By Appointment" and to display the Royal Arms on their products, such as stationery, advertisements and on their premises.

Royal warrants of appointment are granted only by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales.

Q81. What are the words of the National Anthem?

The British national anthem originated in a patriotic song first performed in 1745. There is no authorised version - the words used are a matter of tradition. On official occasions it is usual to sing the first verse only, the words of which are as follows:

God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen!
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