(London) Queen Elizabeth II finds herself sucked into the maelstrom of Brexit after having to approve the suspension of Parliament, an eminently political act for a role, her, 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 his kingdom's EU exit date on Oct. 31.
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.
"This is the oldest rule of the constitution," says Robert Craig, of Durham University, with AFP.
In other words: the queen reigns, but the prime minister governs.
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 drawn into the most divisive and confrontational political debate in the country," he says.
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 then we will be in delicate constitutional territory," says Mike Gordon. "The convention that she gives her approval to Parliament will come into conflict with the one who wants her to follow the advice of her 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 the countries in which they play an active role in forming the government, is limited to endorsing the choice of political leaders.
Its neutrality is so perfect that no one knows what it thinks about the great political issues that are shaking the country.
The only recent exception is the referendum on the independence of Scotland in 2014. By saying: "I hope people will think very carefully about the future," she expressed a concern immediately interpreted by the oracles as hostility to independence.
On the Brexit, another historical issue, it remains 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 asserting shortly before the June 2016 referendum that Elizabeth II supported Brexit.