Royal Watch News
Queen Elizabeth given 39 parliament vetos
Jan 15, 2013, 12:02 GMT
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles have had 39 chances to stop government policies becoming laws.
The British monarch and her son, the second in line to the throne, have been directly able to veto plans from government, mainly bills which could change their powers.
Among papers which have been released after Downing Street lost a legal battle are documents which show the queen blocked the Military Actions Against Iraq bill in 1999. The proposal would have transferred the power to authorise strikes and attacks from the monarch to parliament.
The palace are also asked to agree to bills linked to higher education, paternity pay, identity cards and child maintenance.
If the royals do not consent, 'a major plank of the bill must be removed,' although Buckingham Palace said they Royals would only ever use their veto if they were advised by cabinet members of civil servants.
The monarchy play a largely ceremonial role in the UK, and some critics are not happy that they still have so much political power.
Academic John Kirkhope, who launched the legal battle to get the documents released, told the Daily Mail newspaper: 'There has been an implication that these prerogative powers are quaint and sweet but actually there is real influence and real power, albeit unaccountable.'
Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, part of which includes Duchy of Cornwall land, which belongs to the Prince of Wales, added: 'This is opening the eyes of those who believe the queen only has a ceremonial role.
'It shows the royals are playing an active role in the democratic process and we need greater transparency in parliament so we can be fully appraised of whether these powers of influence and veto are really appropriate.'
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace played the matter down, reassuring the monarchy wouldn't make political decisions that would affect people of their own.
They said: 'It is a long established convention that the queen is asked by parliament to provide consent to those bills which parliament has decided would affect crown interests.
'The sovereign has not refused to consent to any bill affecting crown interests unless advised to do so by ministers.'
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