How Queen Elizabeth II’s Death will Change UK Politics
Table of Contents
Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-serving monarch until her death in 2022 after reigning for 70 years. She was the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, which includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. She was also the head of state of numerous other realms and territories and head of the Commonwealth. Although the monarch did not assert political power, the queen took a serious interest in government and political affairs. Apart from her ceremonial duties, the queen has been credited for modernizing many aspects of the monarchy. Throughout her reign, 15 UK prime ministers worked under the queen, and she witnessed most of the political changes and times during her reign. This paper explores the political impact the queen’s death will have in the United Kingdom.
The Queen’s political role in the UK
The queen’s death is a significant event in the entire world, so it is important to explore her role in the United Kingdom government and her political influence. The queen played a combined role of the head of state and head of the nation. However, her role was ceremonial and to represent the whole nation, she had to remain politically impartial (Bogdanor, 2022). Consequently, the queen relied on the advice of her ministers and could not have a policy of her own without the involvement of the prime ministers. She could not vote or participate in the election, and the principle of advice could not be applied during the formation of the government. However, when the government is in place her advice would be sought after. Nonetheless, her political influence cannot be overlooked.
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, but there is no single codified constitution. However, the power balance between parliament and the monarchy is mediated by written conventions and others based on customs and tradition. The formal phase used to describe the presence of the monarch in the British legislature is “Crown in Parliament.” It contains the Sovereign, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The monarch has the duty of opening each parliament session, grant Royal Assent to legislation, and approve orders and Proclamations through the Privy Council (The Queen and government, 2022). Therefore, despite her roles being ceremonial, her presence is felt in governance.
Possible changes in UK politics following the Queen’s death
Most of the changes made to the monarchy were realized during Queen Elizabeth reign. She improved the public perception of the monarchy and handled her delicate constitutional role with great political skill. Having been on the throne for seven decades, various aspects have changed compared to the traditions and practices of the monarch traditionally. Following her death, some aspects are also expected to change, and they could affect the political affairs of the United Kingdom. The queen had appointed 15 prime ministers during her reign, and various political events occurred during the reign, including the Brexit. It is no doubt that the queen left a historical legacy, and her death would affect Britain’s global influence.
The Queen played an important role in increasing Britain’s soft power, and her death could mean a decline in that power. So far, Britain has suffered in its global influence due to its decline in economy and military power. Her state and diplomatic visits charmed various heads of state, and she was apolitical, and approach that was beneficial to Britain’s foreign relations. The Queen’s death could also affect the future of the Commonwealth. Former British Crown Colonies retained the Queen as the head of state and she was popular in those states. Countries like Australia could renew their debate over their severing ties with the British monarchy (Fenton-Harvey, 2022). The dissociation of such Commonwealth countries could have a significant effect on the United Kingdom. Other than international relations, the death of the Queen would affect people’s perception on the monarchy.
The Queen enjoyed a 70% approval rating as the head of state across England, Scotland, and Wales (Clark, 2022). On the other hand, her successor, King Charles III only enjoys only a 50% approval rating. Consequently, the Queen’s death would signify a change in people’s perception of the monarchy. Likewise, her death came at a turbulent time in British politics. The scandal-induced change of the prime minister and high energy and food prices are some of the issues affecting the state by the time of her death (McGee, 2022). Likewise, the appointment of Liz Truss as prime minister a few days before the Queen’s death could also affect Britain’s politics. The Queen always served as a voice of hope and optimism through good and bad times. However, with her death and the challenges facing the country, Truss is likely to find it rough responding to the challenges facing the nation.
The Queen was the longest serving monarch of the British Crown. Her role in government was majorly ceremonial as she played an impartial role in parliament. Nonetheless, she had some important roles she played, majorly diplomatic relationships with other countries. She was also a symbol of hope with high approval rating. Therefore, with her death, UK politics are likely to be influenced due to the gap she left behind in the country and internationally.
- Bogdanor, V. (2022, September 9). How the Queen’s constitutional role shifted over her reign. the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/sep/09/queen-elizabeth-constitutional-role
- Clark, C. (2022, September 14). What Queen Elizabeth’s death means for the UK and beyond. Texas A&M Today. https://today.tamu.edu/2022/09/14/what-queen-elizabeths-death-means-for-the-uk-and-beyond/
- Fenton-Harvey, J. (2022, September 11). What Queen Elizabeth II’s death could mean for Britain’s global influence. What Queen Elizabeth II’s death could mean for Britain’s global influence. https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/what-queen-elizabeth-ii-s-death-could-mean-for-britain-s-global-influence-60642
- McGee, L. (2022, September 15). The Queen’s death has drawn the venom from Britain’s toxic politics. Will it last? CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/15/uk/the-queen-embodied-dignity-politics-should-follow-intl-cmd-gbr/index.html, September 15). The Queen’s death has drawn the venom from Britain’s toxic politics. Will it last? CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/15/uk/the-queen-embodied-dignity-politics-should-follow-intl-cmd-gbr/index.html
- The Queen and government. (2022, July 7). The Royal Family. https://www.royal.uk/queen-and-government
- Queen Elizabeth II handled her delicate constitutional role with great political skill. (2022, September 9). The Wire. https://thewire.in/world/queen-elizabeth-ii-handled-her-delicate-constitutional-role-with-significant-political-skill