The charismatic Queen Elizabeth-II
IN the UK, the Monarch is head of state and the nation. The Monarch reigns, but doesn’t rule. Ruling is done by the government headed by the premier.
As head of the state the Monarch is constitutionally obliged to follow the government’s advice.
Monarch’s main functions as head of state are to appoint the premier, and all the other ministers; to open new sessions of parliament; and to give royal assent to bills passed by Parliament, signifying that they have become law.
The Monarch also chairs monthly meetings of the Privy Council, to approve orders in Council; receives incoming and outgoing ambassadors; makes a host of other appointments, such as the senior judges, but in all this acts on the advice of the government.
To the public the Monarch is more visible in wider role as head of the nation. In this representative role the Sovereign acts as a focus for national identity, unity and pride; gives a sense of stability and continuity; officially recognizes success and excellence; and supports the ideal of voluntary service.
The Monarch and other members of the royal family are patrons of over one thousand charities and organizations in the UK and the Commonwealth.
Monarchy is the oldest form of government in the UK. In a monarchy, a king or a queen is head of the State. The British Monarchy is known as a constitutional monarchy.
As head of State, the Monarch undertakes constitutional and representational duties which have developed over one thousand years of history.
In addition to these State duties, the Monarch has a less formal role as head of the nation. The Sovereign acts as a focus for national identity, unity and pride; gives a sense of stability and continuity; officially recognizes success and excellence; and supports the ideal of voluntary service.
In all these roles the Sovereign is supported by members of their immediate family. Queen Elizabeth-II was the longest-serving British Monarch in history, having ascended to the throne in 1952 at the age of 25.
She was also the queen of more than a dozen other independent countries that had been once under direct British colonial rule.
Queen Elizabeth II was the Monarch of fourteen countries in addition to the United Kingdom including Canada and others across the Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean.
These are known as the Commonwealth realms. The UK, Canada, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, Belize, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada were the countries where Queen Elizabeth-II was head of State.
The Commonwealth realms are constitutional monarchies, meaning the Monarch’s powers are largely symbolic and political decisions are made by an elected parliament and implemented by the Premier.
Queen Elizabeth-II was thus head of the State but not head of the government—meaning she was not involved in day-to-day governing.
In the United States, by contrast, the President is both head of State and head of government.
The Monarch has some constitutional duties, the most significant being the approval of new government depending on the country, the Monarch may formally approve legislation, appoint certain officials, or grant State honours.
In non-UK realms, the Monarch appoints a royal representative to carry out these duties. This figure is known as a Governor-General.
Since Queen Elizabeth-II assumed the throne on 6 February 1952 the UK has had sixteen Prime Ministers during Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year seven months and two days reign.
These were Sir Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and lastly Liz Truss.
In exceptional circumstances, the Crown also has what are known as “Reserve Powers”, or the authority to unilaterally over ride other branches of the government.
This has happened rarely since World War II, the most notable example being Australia’s 1975 constitutional crisis, in which the Governor-General dismissed a sitting Prime Minister.
The purpose of the Monarch is to serve as a non-partisan symbol of the nation, constitutional continuity, and moral authority.
Nearly twenty former British territories renounced their Monarchies and became republics after World War II, including India, Nigeria and Pakistan.
This has generally meant replacing the Queen with another Head-of-State figure, often a President whose role is also largely ceremonial.
For countries that saw their Monarchies as unwelcome remnants of colonialism, this was the final step in distancing themselves from last vestiges.
The UK welfare State is a safety net which aims to provide support from the cradle to the grave.
The United Kingdom’s three major themes of the welfare State revolve around education, housing and healthcare.
Its provision to millions of British citizens is carried out through different programs and grants schemes.
Under the patronage love of great dynamic Queen Elizabeth II, the UK as welfare State was initially designed to protect and ensure a greater level of equality among its citizens.
I lastly stayed an year in UK in the year 2020 and personally observed the role of a model welfare State there.
When Covid pandemic hit UK, the charismatic Queen showed her serious practical concern about the affectees.
During serious long Covid days the State of UK looked after its citizens like loving mother. Undoubtedly, she was mother of the modern nation.
I personally have found the great Queen Elizabeth-II deeply concerned about the welfare of a common UK national.
During her reign she made the women very strong. She worked a lot for the fundamental rights of the women in particular.
During Queen Elizabeth’s seven decades seven months and two days long reign the United Kingdom has become a model welfare State.
Because of her approach and concern the State takes care of the fundamental rights of citizens and the animals.
On the contrary, for the welfare of the poor nation our dishonest rulers have learnt nothing from the leaders like great Queen Elizabeth-II.
The great Queen has made UK a heavenly State while our rulers have made our homeland a hell especially since the establishment of Riasat-e-Madina by Imran Khan.
—The writer is editor, book ambassador political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad.