In a world with changing constitutional and social developments, one thing that never seems to change is the need for leaders who live for the Nation. Many other individuals can be free thinkers, but the leader is only free to think when he is doing it for the good of the people. The expectations for every leader from the people are so high that it has made many countries tilt towards the practice of ” Democracy, the government of the people, by the people and for the people, as said by Abraham Lincoln.
Despite these transformations, the United Kingdom’s Constitutional Monarchy is one of the oldest and most respected systems of government in the country and worldwide. For many reasons, this trend continued and is respected in these times due to Queen Elizabeth II’s role in the UK. Over the years she served as Queen of the United Kingdom, the throne has not lost the support and honor of the people.
Traditionally, the sovereign is the head of state in the UK. At the same time, the elected Prime Minister runs the political affairs and assents to legislation.
The Prime Minister is a political representative of the people’s democratic power. However, regardless of the PM’s constitutional powers and administrative functions, the PM submits to the sovereign. The Prime Minister, though, with all the political power of the people, answers to the people’s sovereign, who symbolizes many great qualities such as the strength and balance of the United Kingdom. This style of being accountable and reporting to the sovereign is an excellent ground on which the Monarchy has continued to thrive in the United Kingdom.
This system is referred to as the constitutional monarchy system. It perfectly serves both roles. The Prime Minister wields political power, but the crown does not, and the Prime Minister gets to report to the crown. It gives the people extra confidence boosts to know that the one in whom their power is vested does not just run free with their power. Every week till the Prime Minister’s term is complete, he bows to the sovereign and gives an account for all state operations.
During Queen Elizabeth’s reign, she met with 14 Prime Ministers and appointed the 15th Prime Minister two days before her death. Her life experiences served as a symbol of the sovereign. Generations after generations of Prime Ministers were saddled with the responsibility of managing the state. Still, they all had to report to her, the Head of State.
In an interview, Tony Blair, former UK PM, recounts his experience the first time he met the Queen. He revealed that he was immediately put in ‘his place’ after she told him, “Mr. Blair, welcome to your first audience as Prime Minister. Of course, my first Prime Minister was Winston Churchill, and you were not even born then.”
In this system of governance, the Monarchy represents the ‘neutral person who never meddles, and yet keeps the one who does the meddling accountable.’
This is clearly seen in how the Queen never held an opinion on many matters while alive. She melted into the people’s desire for a ruler who says what they need rather than what they should do. While the Prime Ministers appeared as the bad guys in the public face, it would be impossible to think that the Queen lived in total oblivion to their next moves. Her power was in her Acts behind the scenes, not her words. The cooperation between these two individuals in the constitutional Monarchy has led to its thriving. The people know that the Head of State is always out for their interests. When the Prime Minister appears to be taking a conflicting path, the reminder that he answers to the sovereign and stays accountable lessens their fear of the Prime Minister abusing power they vested in him.
With the passing of the Queen and the appointment of a Prime Minister and Head of State (who are both new to their positions), the people want to see this synergy continue.