Do the royals vote when political parties start campaigning and what are the rules for them? | UK News

The relationship between politics and the palace is a very sensitive one – during the general election campaign.

By Rhiannon Mills, Royal Correspondent @SkyRhiannon


Sun 2 Jun 2024 04:24, UK

Political parties take to the campaign trail, tout their policies – and the odd stunt – to try to win your support.

But the one family that doesn’t vote is the royal family.

So what are the rules about politics and monarchy?

Will the king vote?

It’s not specifically written into the law, but the answer is no.

Dr Craig Prescott, a law lecturer and constitutional expert at London’s Royal Holloway University, said: „The monarch is in a unique position as head of state and is expected to be 'above’ politics.

„Abstention on Election Day reflects this position. There is also a constitutional reason. Members of the House of Lords cannot vote because they are part of Parliament, so it has always been the case that members do not have the right to vote in the other House of Parliament.

„In this sense, the monarch’s non-voting practice reflects that they are part of Parliament, and it is up to the common people to choose those who represent them in the commons.”

The King visits the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts

Do family members vote?

Sky News commentator and constitutional expert Alastair Bruce said: „All members of the royal family can vote except the sovereign.

„Traditionally, they haven’t. This is mainly to preserve the apolitical nature of their support for the monarch, but in the past, as royal peers, many male members of the family were prevented by law from voting because they could sit as peers of the House of Lords.”

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Bruce added: „When the royal family agreed to withdraw from exercising their rights to sit and speak in the House of Lords in 1999, it technically lifted the ban on voting in elections.”

Dr Prescott said: „Like the monarch, members of the royal family were barred from voting because, along with their peers, they were technically members of the House of Lords.

„This changed with the House of Lords Reform Act 1999, which removed most hereditary peers from membership of the House of Lords and allowed non-members to vote for the first time.

„So, it could have been Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles when he was Duke of Cornwall, or Prince Andrew, Duke of York. But you would expect that for the same reasons as the monarch, the working members. The royals don’t vote because the whole monarchy is apolitical and the monarch’s way. Expected to follow.”

Interestingly, the Duchess of Sussex gave an interview in 2020 saying that Prince Harry was never „allowed” to vote.

However, members of the royal family who are not „working royals” such as Zara Tindall or David Armstrong-Jones, the second Earl of Snowdon, can vote. It’s not entirely clear whether they do.



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King Charles and Queen Camilla visit their horse at Epsom. Image: B.A

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What is 'burdha’ for royals?

„Pardha”, as the Civil Service refers to it, is a „sensitive period before an election”.

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The king, of course, has important roles to fulfill around a general election. Rishi Sunak, in his speech outside No. 10 announcing the election, told us that he had informed the King of his desire to call the election.

The king, using his prerogatives, has dissolved parliament and convened another. Once the votes are counted, it is up to the King to formally appoint the Prime Minister.

However, Alastair Bruce said it was important the royals did not do anything that could be seen as commenting on campaign and policy promises in the weeks running up to polling day.

This was the first general election under the monarchy.

Shortly after it was called, Buckingham Palace announced that the royal family was postponing the engagements. „may appear to divert or divert attention from the election campaign”.

However it is confirmed that the king will Participate in Trooping the ColorThis will come in June during the election campaign period.

The King and Queen attend the service at St Paul’s

What has already been postponed and what can be cancelled? They may not vote, but are they political?

We know that engagements for both the King and the Prince of Wales were postponed in the days after the general election was announced. Meetings were also held at the palace to decide which further expeditions would be suitable.

We don’t know how many visits have had to be moved, and we are waiting to see if the Japanese Emperor’s state visit will continue at the end of June.

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Experts said It is interesting that the Palace felt the need to issue a statement Says renegotiating engagements.

That did not happen under Queen Elizabeth II, and some have suggested that it shows the royal family is increasingly involved in social causes that may have a political slant.

So expect a number of ceremonial events over the next few weeks — as we usually see at this time of year — but nothing that will get them into political hot water.

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