There’s no denying that Queen Elizabeth is one of the most famous monarchs (and probably people) in history. The 94-year-old became the longest-serving ruler in British royal history in 2015 when she surpassed the 63-year reign of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. But what exactly are Elizabeth’s duties? And how much power does the queen have? Keep reading for everything we know.
What Power Does Queen Elizabeth Have? We Investigate
1. What are Queen Elizabeth’s official duties?
Well, there’s a ton—but we’ll start with her role in the government. According to the Royal Family website, as head of state, the queen must remain neutral on every and all political matters (something all members of the royal family must abide by). So, while she doesn’t vote, she does have a formal role in relation to the government, specifically as “Queen in Parliament.” Per the site, the phrase “is used to describe the British legislature, which consists of the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.” In regards to this role, her duties include opening each new session of Parliament, approving Orders and Proclamations through the Privy Council as well as granting Royal Assent to legislation.
In addition to her roles in government, Her Majesty also has a variety of other duties—involving planning and conducting engagements. These include: visits to charities and schools, hosting and visiting Heads of State and leading the nation in Remembrance and celebratory events.
Public and voluntary service are also major parts of her royal duties. (She holds the titles of Royal Patron or President to over 600 charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organizations.)
2. Wait, so who pays for Queen Elizabeth’s official duties?
Well, according to the official website, the arrangements for the funding of Her Majesty's duties changed in 2012. The new system, called the Sovereign Grant, replaced the Civil List and the three other “grants-in-aide” (for Royal Travel, Communications and Information, and the Maintenance of the Royal Palaces) with a single, consolidated annual grant.
Per the site, funding for the grant comes from a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate revenue (a collection of lands and holdings in the territories of England, Wales and Northern Ireland). However, the Evening Standard adds that she received a raise from an increase in taxes, which also comes from the SG and is the portion of her money paid by taxpayers. The Sovereign Grant is reviewed every five years by the Royal Trustees—the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Keeper of the Privy Purse (who also prepares and publishes annual financial records).