The British monarchy is known as a constitutional monarchy. This means that the monarch, despite being nominally head of state, has no political or executive role. The power to make and pass legislation resides with an elected parliament. The Queen has rights and duties that have been established by conventions and they preclude her acting according to her own free will. She must, on the advice of government ministers, assent to all bills passed by parliament (the royal assent has not been refused since 1707). Theoretically, the Queen could dissolve parliament and call an election, but in our unwritten constitution, it is unthinkable that she should do so.
In other words, the monarchy acts as a rubber stamp. Obviously, as head of state, the Queen undertakes important constitutional and representational duties which have evolved over centuries of history. She acts as a focus for national identity, formally recognises success and excellence and supports charities and voluntary organisations. Although there is a significant disconnect between the head of state’s ceremonial duties and the serious business of governing the country, the royal stamp of approval is something we value because it connects us with our history and our whole sense of what we are.
The treaties of Rome, Maastricht and Lisbon have complicated this further. The Lisbon Treaty appears to have the legal powers of a state, raising the issue of legal primacy. Some would argue that our sovereignty may therefore have been subsumed into the EU Constitution.
Certainly, if the vision of these EU treaties is allowed to continue unchecked and a fully fledged federal Europe becomes a reality, British sovereignty will be eroded to the point where our parliament will pick up the role of rubber stamping legislation and our monarchy, if it survives at all, will be reduced to nothing more than an object of tourist curiosity.
Surely this is not the destiny the British people envisage for our elected parliament and the future King George VII?