The powers of the Crown in British are those which belong to the office of the King or to the Kingship as an impersonal institution. These powers are never exercised by the Monarch himself. They are exercised in the King’s name by Ministers who derive their authority from Parliament and are responsible to Parliament for the use they make of these powers.
As the Crown powers are not the King’s personal powers, they may be described as nominal powers of the King as distinct from his actual powers. So extensive to the authority of the Crown that it embraces all fields and functions of Government and yet it is still growing.
The province of the State, during recent years, has increased considerably and keeping pace with these political developments, the activities and functions of Government, too, have enormously expanded. This means fresh duties of direction and control by the Government and consequently augmentation of powers of the Crown.
Lowell, writing in the first decade of the present century, observed, All told the executive authority of the Crown is in the eye of law, very wide, far wider than that of a Chief Magistrate in many countries, and well-nigh as extensive as that now possessed by the monarch in any government, not an absolute despotism; and al though the Crown has no inherent legislative power except in conjunction with Parliament, it has been given by statute, very large powers of subordinate legislation.
The powers of the Executive, under any system of government, cannot be rigidly divided into watertight compartments. Under the Parliamentary system of government Ministers of the Crown are the real functionaries, There is no divorce between the Executive and the Legislature.
The Crown has as much to do with legislation as with the executive and administrative matters. It has, also, to do something with justice. The Crown, thus, forms a part of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial mechanism. It is the keystone of the country’s constitutional structure. It mayapparentlyseem paradoxical, although it is logical to the nature of the British Constitution that the powers of the Crown have expanded as democracy has grown.
The powers possessed by the Crown are derived from two sources prerogative and statutes. Statutory powers of the Crown refer to those duties which have been assigned to the Executive authorities by Acts of Parliament. They include not only the greater part of powers under which the different departments of the Government function, but also the powers by which Whitehall exercises control over the local government authorities and other bodies distinct from the Crown. The powers of the Crown under this category are various, wide, and growing. Acts of Parliament have, really, become a prolific source of Crown power, particularly with the development of the practice of delegating legislative powers to the Executive.
The powers and privileges which the Crown derives from the Common Law constitute the prerogative. Dicey defines it as the residue of discretionary or arbitrary authority which at any time, is legally left in the hands of the Crown. The prerogative was, in origin, the sum of the rights ascribed to the King as a feudal overlord and it continued to be the basis of authority till parliamentary control of public affairs became an established fact.
The seventeenth century was one continuous struggle between the use of prerogative power by the person of the King and the determined attempt of Parliament to control such powers either by statute or by. Ministers responsible to Parliament. Parliament emerged victorious out of this struggle and the King, to the most part, was deprived of the prerogative powers which inhered in his person.
Some were abrogated by statutes, some have been lost by disuse, and the residue which remain have been inherited by the Crown: It is impossible to draw a list of the prerogatives of the Crown. The existence and limits of some raise difficulties of constitutional law. But the undoubted prerogatives include the summoning of Parliament, declaration of war or neutrality, ratification of treaties, appointment to offices, to dismiss the servants of the Crown, and to regulate the conditions of their service, and the power to pardon offenders.
The expression prerogative is,then, used to refer to Crown’s discretionary authority, that is, what the King or his servants can do without the authority of an Act of Parliament. It provides a convenient mechanism of various important activities of Government.
Although the prerogative has no statutory authority yet it is ac knowledge by courts. Most of the prerogative powers derive authority from the Common Law and the rules of Common Law form part of the Jaw of the Constitution in Britain. It may, also, be added that some prerogative powers have been conferred upon the Crown by statute? and it is within the competence of the courts to determine whether an Act of Parliament is within the prerogative or to what extent royal power has been abridged or abolished by State. In brief, the Crown possesses the prerogative powers that still inhere in the Monarch, and those powers conferred by parliamentary legislation in total constitute a vast reservoir of author
Executive Powers of The Crown in British:-
The Executive powers of the Crown are so numerous that only some of the most important can be mentioned here: They have increased in the past, are increasing in our own time and must, continue to increase so long as the functions of the modern governments continue to expand.
The Crown is the supreme Executive head and it must, as such, see that all national laws:are duly observed and enforced. It directs the work of the administrative branch and national service, collects and expends, according to law; national revenues; appoints all higher executive and administrative officers, judges, bishops and the officers of the army, navy and air force, regulates. the conditions of services; and suspends and removes these officers, except judges and other employs of government from service.
The Crown holds the supreme command over the armed establishments The Crown supervises, and in some instances directs, the work of local government, especially that cf boroughs and counties. The-officers of local government and other bodies, like the British Broadcasting Corporation, are not the officers of the Crown. No doubt, these bodies are created by the Acts of Parliament, but they do not represent the Crown. The Crown simply exercises supervisory functions over them. Its right to control and direction is limited to certain specified matters.
The modem tendency is to assign powers to Ministers, or to civil servants, without any necessity of royal intervention. The exercise of the prerogative of mercy, for example, is now primarily a matter for the Home Secretary, and the Royal share is mainly formal. In the same way, the practice of delegated legislation vests powers in the Ministers, rather than in the King in Council as originally the practice was, to make rules, regulations, and orders.
Conduct of Foreign Relations:-
The Crown conducts the foreign relations of Britain with other countries; sends, and receives ambassadors or other diplomatic agents, and ail foreign negotiations are carried on in the name of the Crown. The declaration of war and making of peace are prerogative of the Crown. The Crown is also the treaty making authority and all international agreements are made in its name.
Treaties concluded by the Crown are not Subject to ratification by Parliament unless it is specifically conditioned upon parliamentary approval, or anything else is involved in it, like the cession of territory, payment of money, changes in the laws of the land, that require the assent of Parliament in order to make it valid. But any treaty of high moral import, as the Locarno Treaty of 1925, is essentially laid before the two Houses of Parliament.
When the Treaty of Versailles was submitted to Parliament in 1919, for its approval, a section of the people, who were strongly wedded to the principle of democratic control over foreign relations, had hoped that in future no treaty would be made without parliamentary assent. Labour leaders, too, had long pleaded for it. But the Labour Governments of Ramsay MacDonald and C.R. Attlee never attempted it. Perhaps, they did not find such a policy feasible and treaties continued to be negotiated and ratified by action of the Crown alone.
It is true that no government can venture to declare a war unless there is assurance that Parliament will supply the funds to carry it ta a successful end. But Parliament itself has no authority to declare a war. This power belongs exclusively to the Crown. Both in 1914 and 1939, the Ministers made the decisions and in the name of the Crown they led the country to war.
And both the times the declaration of war took the form of a Royal Proclamation authorized by Or Der-in-Council. The question of Parliament’s expressing disapproval of the Government’s policy, or its refusal to grant supplies does not at all arise. So long as the Ministry can command a stable majority in Parliament, its is support is ipso facto there.
The powers of the Crown are mainly, though not exclusively, Executive. In the United States of America, the Executive, Legislative and Judicial functions are clearly defined among three separate departments, although the framers of the Constitution could not maintain the purity of the doctrine of the Separation of Powers when they came to details.
In the United Kingdom little distinction is given to this doctrine of Separation of Powers. The law-making function is vested in the King-in Parliament. Every Statute declares itself to have been enacted by the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled and by the authority of the same, and here, as everywhere else, the King has yielded his power to the Crown. The Crown is, therefore, an integral part of the national Legislature and its assent is essential to the enactment of laws.
The Ministers of the Crown, who constitute the country’s real Executive, are members of Parliament. They control and guide the work of Parliament and determine how conveniently it can be transacted. The Crown, accordingly, summons, prorogues, and dissolves Parliament. When a new Parliament meets it is usually greeted by the Monarch in a Speech from the Throne, which is usually delivered by the King or Queen in person from the Throne in the House of Lords with the Commons present.
The Speech from the Throne outlines the legislative programme of the Crown and expresses the views and opinions of Government on various matters of national and international importance. But the Speech from the Throne is not the King’s or Queen’s speech. It is the Government’s speech.
It is put ini the hand of the Monarch to be read. The Monarch can, however, talk to the Prime Minister about it and sometimes minor amendments are suggested because it may be felt that the revised language suits the Monarch better than the official language which ts set out. But alterations about policy are not made. That is for the Government responsible to Parliament, and everybody knows it.
As has just been said, the Royal assent is essential to the validity of laws passed by Parliament. It means that the King may refuse assent to, or veto, any law passed by Parliament. But the veto power has never been exercised since 1707. It has become obsolete. Disraeli in 1852, however, considered that the King’s right to refuse assent to legislation still existed and was not an empty form. But no Monarch exercised this power.
The passing of the Parliament Act, 1911, revived the issue and suggestions were made in 1913 that the King could refuse his assent to the Irish Home Rule Bill, Bonar Law asserted that the King’s veto was dead only so long as the House of Lords was not liable to be overridden by the House of Commons, and as the Home Rule Bill was being put through Parliament under the Parliament Act of 1911, the King could exercise his right of refusing assent to matters not sufficiently considered by the people which the Lords had been supposed to exercise.
George V, as Jennings points out, was himself inclined to accept the same idea,and insisted upon an appeal to the country. Lord Esher, who was advising the King, did not agree with this viewpoint and insisted that it would be dangerous for the Monarch to refuse to accept the advice of Ministers. Sir William Harcourt, too, was of the same opinion and in a personal interview with the King insisted that if there were to be general-election, an appeal to the electorate x would not be made on the issue of Home Rule. The sole question would be is the country governed by the King or by the people? and that would mean an attack: on person of the King.
If some headstrong King refuses assent to a Bill passed by Parliament i ignoring the advice tendered by-his Ministers, then, what would happen? There is no reason to believe that such a situation is ever likely to arise, but if it does; the Ministry: would forthwith resign. In that case,there would be two alternatives before the King. One, to summon the Leader of the Opposition and commission him to form the Ministry.
The House of Commons would refuse to support such a Ministry, because it would be tantamount to approving the action of the King as the Government ousted formed the majority in the House. So there would be no other option for the King, but to dissolve Parliament and order new elections.
That would be a dangerous step,Munro says, for any King to take, because an adverse decision at the polls would inevitably suggest his abdication. This is the verdict of British history. As long as the Ministry has a majority in Parliament, and so long as Parliament remains representative of the people, it carries with it the verdict of the people.
There is, under the circumstances, no need for the exercise of the veto. This is exactly what Asquith submitted to George V in a Memorandum on the controversy of 1913. The Prime Minister asserted, We have now well established tradition of 200 years, that, in the last resort, the occupant of the Throne accepts and acts upon the advice of his ministers.
This point was abundantly clarified -by the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII. He said,whenever the Prime Minister advises the King he is using a respectful form of words to express the will and decision of the Government. The King is virtually bound to accept such advice. Furthermore, he cannot seek advice elsewhere. However, if in the exercise of his undoubted powers, he chooses not to accept the advice thus formally tendered, then his Ministers resign, and he must try to form a new Government from the Opposition. Asquith also pointed out to the King in 1913 that the veto could be exercised only by the dismissal of the Ministry, for no Government would accept a refusal to assent to a Bill without resigning.
The King has now ceased to give assent to Bills personally. The assent is given by a Royal Commission appointed by the Crown under the Royal Sign Manual. The Lord Chancellor or Senior Commissioner simply says that His Majesty. hot having seen fit to be personally present upon this occasion, has appointed a Royal Commission and that they shall indicate the Royal Assent has been given to the Bills as good and proper Acts of Parliament. The assent to Bills, is, therefore, only a picturesque formality.
The Crown, acting alone, has the power to issue measures authorizing certain executive actions. The Orders-in-Council,as they are known, are issued by the King and Privy Council. There are two varieties of Orders-in-Council. First, those which are merely administrative rules and govern the various branches of government in their routine business. Others are promulgated only by virtue of authority expressly granted by Parliament and are frequently called statutory orders. Such orders have actually the force of law, because they are based upon the authority of Parliament. This kind of subordinate legislation is now of steadily increasing importance and the subject is dealt with more fully at its appropriate place.
The King is still described as the fountain of justice and this historic expression reflects that the King’s conscience spoke the last word in the-administration of justice. This is not the case now. The principle of the independence of Judiciary has freed for all practical purposes, the judges and courts from control at the hands of the Executive, And yet the courts are not entirely outside the Crown’s wide sweeping orbit. Judges, including the Justices of Peace in the counties and boroughs, are appointed by the Crown. The Lord Chancellor, a member of the Cabinet, exercises general judicial supervision. All issues which come before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council are decided by the Crown. Finally, the Crown exercises the prerogative of mercy and may grant pardon to persons convicted of criminal offenses. This is done by the Home Secretary.
‘King Can Do No Wrong’:-
Such, in brief, are the powers of the Crown, The Crown, no doubt, is closely associated with the person of the King, but the King in person is for the most part the principal formal element of the State and its Executive. The actual or potential element is the Crown. The position of the King has been cogently summed up by Lowell.
‘‘According to the early theory of the Constitution the ministers were the counselors of the King. It was for them to advise and for him to decide. Now the parts are almost reversed. The King is consulted, but the ministers decide.”
In many cases the Monarch may personally know little what they decide or even if he knows, he may have little liking for them, although the Crown powers are exercised in his name. His Majesty’s servants have become His Majesty’ S masters.
There are two important principles on which the constitutional structure rests in Britain. First, the Monarch may not perform any public act involving the exercise of discretionary powers, except on advice of the Ministers. Second, for every act performed in the name of the Monarch the Ministers are responsible to Parliament, and hence the meaning of the phrase.
The King can do no wrong. That is to say, the King can do nothing right or wrong, of a discretionary nature and having legal effect. Whatever may be the personal views of the Monarch, he must, as a constitutional Monarch, give way to his Ministers, feeling that they have behind them a majority of the people’s representatives and they can be called upon to account for their acts, singly or collectively, by Parliament. This is now a well established tradition of nearly three hundred years. Conventions are an integral part of the Constitution and every King of Britain at the time of coronation swears to maintain the Constitution and uphold constitutional Monarchy.
Nor can any Minister plead the orders of the King in defense of the wrongful act or for an error of omission and commission. Thomas osborne, Earl of Danby, was impeached in 1679 of high treason, and diverse high crimes and misdemeanors.
Danby’s plea was that whatever he had done was by order of the King, and the King could do no wrong. He even produced, at the time of his impeachment, the Royal pardon. Parliament held Danby’s plea illegal and void. It was definitely laid down that the Ministers can not plead the command of the King to justify an illegal and unconstitutional act, and thereby shield themselves behind the legal immensities of the occupant of the Throne.
JUSTIFICATION OF MONARCHY
Can Royalty Survive?
The almost wholly formal position of the Monarch in the British system of government and the fact that conventions prevent him from exercising the powers that he legally possessed, raises the question why kingship in Britain should not be abolished ? To some people Monarchy does not appear to be worth it costs the nation. To a few more it appears a political anachronism. But the real fact is that the great mass of the British people are not willing to see Kingship disappear.
The seventies of the last century witnessed a strong republican movement. It even caused sensation, when persons like Sir Charles Dilke joined its ranks” and Chamberlain could predict that the Republic must come and at the rate at which we are now moving it will come in our generation. Yet a few years later the movement collapsed, and Queen Victoria was able to impose a public recantation upon Dilke before accepting him as a Cabinet minister.
Since then, Monarchy in Britain had been more popularly acclaimed and it was generally accepted by all political views without discussion. Monarchy, to put it bluntly, wrote Laski, has been sold to democracy as the symbol of itself, and so nearly universal has been the chorus of eulogy which has accompanied the process of the sale that the rare voices of dissent have hardly been heard.
It is not without significance that the official daily newspaper of the Trade Union Congress devotes more space, of news and pictures, to the royal family than does any of its rivals. Although the cost of the Crown in Britain and elsewhere reveals a glaring disparity, yet a little suggestion is made that the people fail to get their money’s worth.
Ceremony, pomp, and ritual connected with royalty invoice, no doubt, a certain amount of lavishness and many people contrast this display with the poverty and distress of a great mass of the people. But to raise such a question, says Gooch, is not necessary to resolve it against Kingship.
Democratic Government, according to Jennings is not merely a matter of cold reason and prosaic polities, There must be some display of color, and there is nothing more vivid than royal purple and imperial scarlet, Ernest Barke says that to think of politics in terms of pure reason and cold utility is to think wrongly. There is a World of un-bought and un-calculated sentiments which matters vitally in politics.
Emotions, loyalties, feelings, chivalries these are things that count, and count profoundly. The man who releases, the man who attracts, the man who expresses, this world of unbought and uncalculated sentiments is doing an incalculable service to the community. Reason has her sphere and victories. Sentiment has also her triumphs; and they are not the least notable of triumphs.
The Monarch is the symbol of unity, a magnet of loyalty, and an apparatus of ceremony and the King or Queen serves to attract every Britisher’s feelings and sentiments into the service of the community. The Kingship, in the words of Winston Churchill, it is most deeply founded and dearly cherished by the whole association of our people.
Clement Attlee, who had been active in the socialist movement in Britain for more than half a century, claimed that during the period he had taken part in bringing about a number of changes in British society by helping to abolish some old things, such as Poor Laws, there is one feature of it which I have never felt any urge to abolish and that is the monarchy. I have never been a republican even in theory, and certainly not in practice.
This patriotic admiration of the mass of the Sovereign’s subjects for Monarchy is-due to somewhat complex considerations of history, of human motives and sentiments, and of utility. Event Lord Altrincham, the Conservative Peer who criticized the Queen and the Court in an article published in The National and English Review, the magazine he edited, said on television on August 6, 1957, that he regretted any impression that he was hostile to the Queen or trying to attack her in a personal way or be beastly about it.
Lord Altrincham’s criticism of Queen Elizabeth aroused nation-wide controversy. He had described the Queen’s speaking as a pain in the neck and her utterances as those of priggish schoolgirl, and called for a truly classless Commonwealth Court to replace her present entourage of people of the tweedy sort.
The Reynold News, a Left-wing Sunday newspaper, supported the criticism of the young Peer because he has said aloud what many people are thinking. Buckingham Palace is not in tune with the Britain of 1957. The general mass of the people were angry with Lord Altrincham and many suggested that he should be shot.
Lord Altrincham was actually slapped as he left the television studio. The man, who struck him, said, That’s for insulting the Queen.
Herbert Morrison said,
‘‘ You get funny people breaking out now and again like Lord Altrincham, but nobody would know him if he was not a Lord; he is a Lord only because he is the son of his father. But he says funny things. They got him headlines in newspapers and even get him on television, which no doubt pleases him no end. But don’t worry about these jokers.’’
The general body of the British people support the British Monarchy and Morrison cited an instance which he said he could never forget shall never forget,wrote Morrison, seeing, at the time of the Coronation of King George VI, a banner going right across the street of an East End slum in London which said Lousy but loyal. And I think that was one of the greatest compliments that has ever been paid to the British Royal Family. As long as the Monarch behaves constitutionally,concludes Morrison, the Labour Peer, as i have every expectation, I think it will remains popular institution in my country.
It is more than true. The British Monarchs for the last more than three hundred years–ever since the Revolution of 1688-have been wise enough to forget past pretensions, to learn new lessons, to change their position with the changing time, and to join with their subject bringing about changes in other institutions. They acted in obedience to the unwritten rule of the British national life which prescribes that the power of the King shall be used in accordance with the will of the people.
They stood above party; they watched the nation; and they joined with their subjects in bringing about change when the will of the nation was set for change-and only when it was so set. They changed their position with the growth of a cabinet system and the rise of the office of Prime Minister. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries they helped in the passage of the Reform Bill of 1882 and the Parliament Act of 1911; the former made the House of Commons more democratic and the latter made the House of Lords less able to thwart or check the purposes of the House of Commons.
The Parliament Act of 1911 was amended in 1949 to reduce the delaying action of the Lords on ordinary Bills to one year only. Attlee’s Labour Government carried through substantial nationalization of industry in its period of office, 1945 to 1951, and fiscal reforms of an egalitarian nature. The Life Peerage Act, 1958 and the Peerage Act, 1963, aimed to change the complexion of the House of Lords and both these Acts came from the Conservative Governments. The Monarchs joined with their subjects in effecting all these changes.
1977 Britain saw the year long celebrations of Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee of her accession to the throne in 1952. It was a year of crowded pageantry and of cultural, sporting, dramatic and musical events. The Queen and her husband Prince Philip visited every region of .Britain, including the terrorist-ridden Ulster and the Commonwealth countries in the Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand. The Government spared no expenditure, in a year of severe economy cuts, and it became a festival of nostalgia and an emotional hinge for things past for the British people. But there were many politicians, who looked at the Jubilee as a sort of Royal farewell since they claimed to see portents of the end of monarchical system in Britain, One of the British astrologers actually put the disappearance of British royalty within just fifteen years.
What is the necessary background of this political or astrological speculation? Queen Elizabeth was crowned as an Empress on June 2, 1953 when the British Empire, even after the freedom of Indian sub-continent, still straddled much of the world and was a world power economically and politically. In her nearly five decades long reign Britain has lost her world status and is economically near the bottom of European Economic Community table. The British Sovereign was an essential props and focus of loyalty in the Imperial era and a symbolic tie of Commonwealth. With the Empire gone and the Commonwealth fading, the international need or justification of Britain to have a sovereign has eroded, it is claimed.
The portents are even more evident i in Britain itself. There is no doubt, however, that Queen Elizabeth is held in high esteem if not affection by a majority of the British people today. She has during her long reign performed her duties conscientiously and with grace. Talking about the popularity of the monarchy Sir Harold Wilson suggested that it is partly because of the remarkable character of the Queen and her close interest in ordinary people.
I think the monarchy and she herself personally and her family are much more popular now than 25 years ago. In a survey conducted by the Mirror, London, it was reported that 89 per cent, of those questioned expressed support for monarchy. Those queried were asked to rank members of the royal family accord to best impression.
The Queen led by 78 per cent, followed by 83 year old Queen Mother Elizabeth, with 73 per cent, and Prince Charles , 66 per cent. Princesses Anne and Margaret were & the bottom of the list. Strangely enough the two sections of the population that regard the Royal family most warmly are the aristocracy and the less privileged class, the former whose future is inevitably tied with the royalty and the latter to whom the glamour and romance of royalty is a form of escapism. In between the middle classes, skilled workers and trade unionists, are either indifferent or they seriously question the need of maintaining the royal house and the pageantry surrounding it at such high national expense.
Perhaps, the biggest cloud in the royal horizon was the Home Rule Plan for Scotland and Wales. In December, 1976 the Labour Government published its proposals to give Home Rule to Scotland and Wales. Earlier, the Queen in her traditional address to Parliament had announced that a Bill would be introduced immediately for the establishment of Assemblies to give the Scottish and Welsh people direct and wide ranging responsibilities for the domestic affairs within the economic and political framework of the United Kingdom.
The Bill introduced in Parliament was so complex that it tied down Wales and Scotland with thousands of threads and hundreds of straps that the Welsh and Scottish nationalists, especially the latter, gave it a hostile reception. The Bill was certainly provocative.
The Bill provided for referendum, both in Wales and Scotland, to seek the approval of both nationalities to set up separate assemblies in their areas. In Wales, the proposal was rejected by a majority of four to one and possibly the main cause was fear of Welsh linguistic nationalism comparable to the French linguistic nationalism in Quebec.
In Wales there are fairly well-defined English and Welsh-speaking areas, with a tendency among local authorities of the latter to impose their language on the former. In a subsequent referendum the people of Wales have accepted the creation of an Assembly for their region.
The Scottish Nationalist Party and their allies supporting devolution gained a majority of little more than 2 per cent over their opponents. But as the total turnout at the referendum was 64 per cent of voters eligible, this was short of 40 per cent electorate required under the Bill to endorse the devolution.
The Scottish National Party resented the fact that a bare majority was not permitted to prevail and they avenged their defeat by withdrawing their support to the Callaghan’s minority Government resulting into the exit from office of the Labour on a vote of no confidence. In a subsequent referendum, Scotland won the people’s approval for a Scottish Parliament and regional autonomy.
The Scottish Nationalist Party is committed to winning eventual independence, including control of the rich North Sea oil field lying off, the east coast of Scotland. It supported devolution only as stepping stone to complete separation from the auld (old) enemy England.
One of the Scottish Members of Parliament provoked by the devolution Bill declared, very soon we shall have our own independence day in Edinburgh Earlier, Queen Elizabeth’s personal anxiety about the danger of the break up of the United Kingdom through separatist movements had upset leaders of the Scottish Party and they called her comments ill advised and unfortunate. In an address on May 4 to Parliament on the start of the Jubilee celebrations,
Queen Elizabeth said:
“I number Kings and Queens of England and Scotland, and Princes of Wales among my ancestors and so I can readily understand these aspirations.”
But, I cannot forget, the Queen added with some emotion, that was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Perhaps this Jubilee is a time to remind ourselves,of the benefits which union has conferred at home and in our international dealings, on the habit ants of all parts of the United Kingdom.
Donald Stewart, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party MPs, declared the same day the Queen addressed Parliament, if it comes to a choice between independence and the monarchy, we would choose independence.
This potential danger to the British union and the Sovereign at its head was demonstrated by the most royalist of British parties, the Conservatives opposing the Home Rule Bill.
Even if the plan for independence is eschewed, the devolution plan, which is in line with the policy of the Labour Party, is sure to ultimately change the geographical and political structure of the United Kingdom and to have an impact on royalty too. The emotions and loyalties engendered by the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and Prince Charles wedding celebrated in July, 1981, in full blaze of pomp and publicity, may stop the trend against royalty and towards breaking the union of Britain for sometime, probably during the life of Queen Elizabeth, but the Throne cannot be said to be secure for her successors.
The economic cost to the nation for the upkeep of royalty would have been justifiable in an era of Empire and world status, but now these expenditures palpably intrude on a weaker and poorer Britain with more than two million unemployed, falling standards of living and a stupendous expenditure, averaging 5 million pounds a day, incurred for regaining Falkland islands and that, too, when the country was battling its way out of recession.
The March 1982, pay rise of the Queen by more than 8 per cent was widely resented and the people questioned the need to continue with royalty. Not less importantly, there is an exemplary moral rectitude that the British people traditionally expect from the Royal family and that expectation has been fulfilled in the case of the Queen.
But prevailing social commotion cannot be kept out of palaces and the recent affairs of Princess Margaret with a young man and her separation from her husband as also the much publicized goings on of Prince Charles before his marriage and Prince Andrew’s mysterious ‘‘affair’’ for a week with an American actress have tarnished this tradition, just as they have made royalty look more human and common.