London The United Kingdom, once a beacon of political and diplomatic stability, has descended into chaos since it voted to leave the European Union in 2016. That referendum opened a seemingly unbridgeable divide that has led to political deadlock and stretched Britain’s famously unwritten constitution to its limits. It merely said it didn’t have the power to rule in the case, which is why it too has been referred up to the Supreme Court. Their judgment will be binding.
The Queen invites Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister at Buckingham Palace on July 24. Historians are yet to find an example of any Prime Minster being found guilty of misleading a monarch. « If the PM breaks the law, then he will be prosecuted and brought before the courts just like any other citizen,» Bogdanor explained. The monarch does everything she can to avoid the political process beyond her ceremonial duties.
Unlike her counterparts in other constitutional monarchies like Denmark and Belgium, she doesn’t even see a role for herself in mediating between political parties when they reach an impasse. Bogdanor believes the outcome of the case will likely hinge on the length of the prorogation. So, when she was asked to approve the suspension of Parliament, she did so without questioning it. But if she wasn’t given a full explanation for the suspension then the court could rule she was misled.
She probably wouldn’t divulge her personal feelings, but such a ruling would hardly set a positive tone for Johnson’s weekly audiences with the Queen — a tradition his predecessors valued highly. The Queen is a font of knowledge, having counseled every PM since Winston Churchill. For the Queen, the worst-case scenario would be to be placed in a situation where she would need to make a political decision. Winston Churchill kisses Queen Elizabeth II’s hand as she leaves 10 Downing Street in 1955.
There would be public uproar, and all eyes would turn to the Palace. Her options would be the subject of intense public debate which would go to the core of why and how the monarchy even exists. At the back of her mind would be her core duty to leave the Crown in a stronger position than when it was passed to her. The Queen has been tested before in her long reign and she came out stronger.
But she is surely hoping not to be tested again by this week’s case.
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