The monarchy

Topic Selected: Citizenship in the UK

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The monarch and government

The monarchy is the oldest institution of government in the United Kingdom. The UK’s monarchy is considered the oldest of all modern constitutional monarchies (others exist in countries including Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain and Monaco).

Most powers once exercised by the monarch have now been devolved (transferred) to ministers. In certain circumstances, however, the monarch retains the power to exercise personal discretion over issues such as appointing the Prime Minister and dissolving Parliament, even though these powers may never be used in practice, or may be exercised symbolically.

As a result of a long process of change during which the monarchy’s absolute power has been gradually reduced, custom now dictates that the Queen follows ministerial advice.

The Queen performs a range of important duties, such as summoning and dissolving Parliament and giving royal assent to legislation passed by the

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