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The British Monarchy

The monarchy is the most ancient secular institution in the United Kingdom, with a continuous history stretching back over a thousand years. The monarchy is hereditary and the present tittle to the Crown derives from provisions of the Act of Settlement of 1701 which secured the Protestant succession. It has evolved over the centuries from absolute personal authority to the present constitutional form.

The powers of the monarch are not defined precisely. Although in speeches, the King or Queen calls the Government ‘my Government’, the monarch does not have any power.

At present, the official head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who succeeded to the throne in 1952.The full royal title of the Queen is: Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her Other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

In law, the Queen is an integral part of the legislature, the head of the judiciary, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Crown and the temporal head of the established Church of England.

But the Queen is only a formal ruler: she reigns but does not rule. The United Kingdom is governed by Her Majesty’s government in the name of the Queen. In actual fact, everything that she does is done on the advice of her ministers, who are responsible for the royal acts.

Thus, most of the functions of the Queen are purely of a symbolic nature.

Theoretically every act of Government is done in the Queen’s name - every letter sent out by a government department is marked ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’ - and she appoints all the ministers, including the Prime Minister. In reality, everything is done on the advice of the elected Government, and the monarch takes no part in the decision-making process.

However, the monarch does have great influence and it would be wrong to underestimate the role of the monarchy in Britain. There are still important acts of government which require the participation of the Queen. The Queen summons, prorogues ( discontinues until the next session without dissolution) and dissolves Parliament; she usually opens new sessions of Parliament with a speech from the throne ( which is written by the Prime Minister ) in which the major governmental policies are outlined. These acts form part of the Royal Prerogative . The power to restrict or abolish a prerogative right belongs to Parliament. Prerogative rights are of legislative, executive and judicial character. The Monarch must give a Royal Assent to Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament. As Head of State, the Monarch has the power to sign international agreements, to cede or receive territory, and to declare war or make peace. The Monarch’s approval is required for appointing every important office holder, including government ministers, judges, officers of the armed forces, diplomats and bishops. The Monarch confers peerages, knighthoods and other honours. It is only the Monarch who is able to remit all or part of the penalties imposed upon persons convicted of crimes through the exercise of the prerogative of mercy on the advice of the appropriate minister.



The Monarch retains an important attribute of power - information. The Queen is regularly informed and consulted on many aspects of public affairs. She sees all Cabinet papers and reads dispatches and correspondence. The Prime Minister keeps her well informed about political events. Her views on a subject can affect the way the Prime Minister acts. So, the Monarch has the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn.

The social influence of the Monarch is great. The Royal Family is the principal aristocratic house in the United Kingdom, closely connected with other members of the hereditary aristocracy, and with vast areas of land in England and Scotland, as well as valuable city property in London, including Regent’s Park, parts of Pall Mall, Piccadilly, Holborn and Kensington. The Queen’s residence in London is Buckingham Palace; her other homes are Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

 

2.3. Answer the following questions:

1. What forms of the Monarchy do you know?

2. What is the Monarch’s name at present?

3. How long has Elizabeth II been the Queen?

4. Could you name the powers of the monarch in law?

5. Which acts of government require the participation of the Queen?

6. When does a Bill become law?

7. How are the special powers of the Crown called?

8. What prerogative rights can you name?

9. Can you list office holders who are appointed only with the Monarch’s approval?

10. What titles are granted by the Crown?

11. How does the Monarch exercise the prerogative of mercy?

12. What sort of information does the Queen get?

13. What property does the Queen own?

14. Could Prince Charles, the Queen’s eldest son and heir, succeed to the throne if he became a Catholic?

15. How has the role of the monarchy changed over the centuries?

 

2.4. Complete the sentences below.

1. In law, the Queen is _

2. The full royal title of the Queen is _

3. The Queen reigns but _

4. _ governs the UK in the name of the Queen.

5. The Monarch appoints _

6. The Queen opens _ of Parliament with _

7. Prerogative rights are of _ _ character.

8. As Head of State the Monarch has the right _

9. _ keeps the Queen well informed about political events.

10. The Royal family is closely connected with _

 

2.5 Decide which actions the Queen is obliged to do and which of them she is capable of doing. Make use of the following words expressing obligation and capacity: can, may, must, is able to, is required, may not, has the power, has to, is compelled to, is forced to, has a duty to, has the capacity to.

1. The Queen ... act on the advice of her ministers.

2. The monarch ... remit penalties.

3. The monarch’s consent ... before a Cabinet can be formed.

4. The monarch ... to sigh international agreements.

5. The monarch ... be present at the Privy Council meetings.


2.6. Put the correct word in the crossword grid.

 

                           
                           
                             
                           
                           
                           
                       
                           
                           
                             
                             
                           
                           
                           
                             
                         
                             

 

Across:

1. Various independent states which used to be subject to Britain.

2. An office holder who is appointed with the Monarch’s approval.

3. The system of government with King or Queen as head of state.

4. An important attribute of power.

5. The right to command, judge etc.

6. The special power and rights.

7. The prerogative of the Crown to remit the penalty.

8. Not religious or spiritual.

Down:

1. A title of nobility which may be granted by the Crown.

2. To be developed naturally and gradually.

3. A superior group or class.

4. A punishment for committing a crime.

5. It must be given a Royal Assent.

6. One of the Queen’s residences.

7. Kingdom, region.

 

2.7. Complete the following dialogue making use of the phrases below.

1) I’d be much obliged to you if you could spare me a moment and tell me some facts about ...

2) Will you be so kind as to tell me ...

3) I suppose ...

4) Excuse my interrupting you. Do you think you could help me understand ...

5) As it is known ...

6) Do you happen to know ...

7) I wonder if you could mention ...

8) Then from what you say it follows that ...

9) Do you mean to say that ...

10) It means that ..., doesn’t it?

11) I wonder, if you’d mind giving your opinion of ...

12) I appreciate your help. Thank you.

 

1) 1..................................................................................................

2. I’d be delighted if I could help you. What would you liketo know?

2) 1. .................................................................................................

2. If I am not mistaken, the monarchy in the United Kingdom is more than a thousand years old.

3) 1. .................................................................................................

2. I’m afraid you are wrong here. It used to be absolute, but now it is constitutional.

4) 1. .................................................................................................

2. Certainly. Speaking of the term «constitutional monarchy» I’d like to begin with making a comparison between an absolute monarchy and a constitutional one. As far as I know in an absolute monarchy the monarch rules the country personally, whereas in a constitutional monarchy the monarch has no real power to govern. In other words, the monarch reigns but does not rule.

5) 1. .................................................................................................

2. Exactly. At present, it is Queen Elizabeth II who is the official head of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

6) 1. .................................................................................................

2. Of course, I do. Queen Elizabeth II succeeded to the throne in 1952.

7) 1. .................................................................................................

2. As forthe powers of the Queen, they are as follows: in law, she is an integral part of the legislature, the head of the judiciary, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Crown and the temporal head of the established Church of England.

8) 1. .................................................................................................

2. By no means. As I said before,she is only the formal ruler. Actually, everything she does is done on the advice of her ministers.

9) 1. .................................................................................................

2. There’s no denying it. As a matter of fact, on the one hand most of the functions of the Queen are purely of a symbolic nature. But on the other hand it would be wrong to underestimate the role of monarchy in Britain.

10) 1. .................................................................................................

2. Yes, she does. The monarch does have great influence, to say nothing ofthe Royal Prerogative and, besides, the monarch retains an important attribute of power, that is to say, information. In short, the Monarch has the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn.

11) 1. .................................................................................................

2. Frankly speaking, I think that the Queen is a symbol of Britain’s long history and tradition.

12) 1. .................................................................................................

2. (I’m) glad that I could help.

 

2.8. Talking point.

Some people think that the monarchy should be abolished because it has no power and it costs the State a lot of money to maintain. How useful do you think the monarchy is in Britain today?


UNIT 3

 


Date: 2015-12-24; view: 2950


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