Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Long Live the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II
Courtesy: wikimedia
The Queen of England has worked hard for decades. The Royal office owns and manages real estate, residences, and art collections, and opens bridges, ships, shopping centers, and nursing homes. The Queen opens and closes parliament each year, and holds veto power over laws. She signs every law in the UK. The official website of the British Monarchy outlines her duties:

"Some are public duties, such as ceremonies, receptions and visits within the United Kingdom or abroad.

Other duties are carried out away from the cameras, but they are no less important. These include reading letters from the public, official papers and briefing notes; audiences with political ministers or ambassadors; and meetings with her Private Secretaries to discuss daily business and her future diary plans.

Even when she is away from London, in residence at Balmoral or Sandringham, she receives official papers nearly every day of every year and remains fully briefed on matters affecting her realms.

In front of the camera or away from it, The Queen's duties go on, and no two days in her life are ever the same."

She does rule by popular consent, and could be overthrown if she became tyrannical. Her massive powers have lately "gone dormant" and aren't used unless on the advice of her Ministers. In a nutshell: Queen Elizabeth has the power to dissolve parliament, fire a Prime Minister, break a treaty, declare war, but she can't raise an army on her behalf, raise taxes for herself, or make and enforce any new law. 

The United Kingdom is fortunate in having a phenomenally calm period under her reign now, and since her Investiture in 1952. The world can hope for her continued good health.

For further insights into the British Monarchy, please read these excellent articles. The Telegraph calls Queen Elizabeth the most dutiful monarch in a thousand years. Newsweek said the Queen has been "briefed every Tuesday by 12 different Prime Ministers, knowing they'll one day leave their jobs." 

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