Queen Elizabeth II finds herself drawn into the maelstrom of Brexit after having to approve the suspension of Parliament, an eminently political act for a role, his, traditionally neutral.
The 93-year-old monarch endorsed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament from the second week of September until October 14, shortly before the date of exit from the European Union of his kingdom, October 31st.
The queen reigns, the prime minister governs
This decision triggered a political storm, since it leaves very little time for the many deputies opposed to a hard Brexit to stop it, if Boris Johnson does not conclude a withdrawal agreement with Brussels. The Prime Minister ensures that the country will leave the EU with or without agreement.
For experts in constitutional law, the sovereign had no choice but to approve the request. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, so the Queen can be consulted, warned or encouraged, but she can only act by following the advice of her ministers. "It is the oldest rule of the constitution"says Robert Craig of the University of Durham, which means that the Queen rules, but the Prime Minister rules.
Elizabeth II, however, may soon be in dangerous waters, says Mike Gordon, professor of constitutional law at the University of Liverpool. "She is in a complicated situation because she is trained in the most divisive political debate and the most 'confrontational' of the country, "he says.
"Delicate Constitutional Territory"
Opponents of Boris Johnson are trying to legislate to stop an exit from the EU without agreement. If they succeed, "it may be that the government asks him not to give his approval and here we will be in delicate constitutional territory," says Mike Gordon.
The British constitution is not written and is based on precedents and conventions
"The convention that it gives its approval to Parliament will conflict with the one that wants it to follow the advice of his ministers," he adds. The British constitution is not written and is based on precedents and conventions.
The last queen refused to approve a law was Queen Anne in 1708.
On the throne since 1952, Elizabeth II holds the record of longevity of the monarchs and she is undoubtedly the one who knows best her duties. But his role as head of state, unlike countries where they play an active role in the formation of the government, is limited to endorsing the choice of politicians.
Its neutrality is so perfect that no one knows what it thinks about the great political issues that are shaking the country. Alone recent exception: the referendum on the independence of ScotlandIn 2014. By stating: "I hope people will think very carefully about the future", she expressed a concern immediately interpreted by oracles as hostility to independence.
On the Brexit, another historical issue, she stays mouth stitched. Observers are reduced to commenting on the color of her hat to see a position when she wears the colors of the European flag.
And the europhobe tabloid The Sun was called to order by the media regulator for having said shortly before the June 2016 referendum that Elizabeth II supported Brexit.