It might be thought that there would be little need for a post on this blog about the arrival of the royal baby. The new Prince of Cambridge – Your Highness, to his friends – is unlikely to play a significant constitutional role for sometime to come. I found myself wondering, though, what the constitutional situation will be when, and if, he finally comes to the throne. So, here is the post I plan to write in 2075 – and the way academic pensions are going, I will probably still be working then.
To some, it may come as a surprise that Britain continues to be a monarchy. We escaped, or missed, the tide of republican constitutional reform that followed the death of Queen Elizabeth in the middle third of the century. Australia and Jamaica were the first to go, followed, like a line of falling dominos, by Canada, and then by New Zealand. Other territories followed suit, with most adopting an elected head of state or – more simply still – combing the role of head of state with that of prime minister. However, it is still the case that the sun never fully sets on our new King’s realms: some small territories decided, for economic and foreign policy reasons, to retain the royal connection. And the Privy Council, acting as their highest court, still provides a useful guarantee of legal certainty to the owners of the many corporations nominally residing on these islands. Like these micro-realms, we in the United Kingdom have retained our monarchy. This is only partly through choice: the moment has never seemed quite right for a public discussion of the wider issues raised by an hereditary head of state, there always seems to have been more important matters to worry about. It could well be said that it is apathy, rather than a commitment to royalism, than has allowed the institution to last this long.
Within the United Kingdom, the King inherits a fractious and diverse realm ...Zum vollständigen Artikel