It is surprising that the constitutional role of the Crown has been largely ignored in the republican debate.
This extends beyond the reserve powers. Even where the representative of the Crown is expected to act on advice, it is well established that he or she may, in appropriate cases, wish to be assured that what is being proposed is within power, that is, that it is legal.
In addition, if the exercise of the power is, as is often the case, subject to the fulfilment of a condition, that condition has been fulfilled. In addition it has been long accepted the Crown has certain rights- the right to be consulted, the right to encourage and the right to warn. According to reports from London, The Queen has increased the number of meetings with leading civil servants “ for fear of being kept in the dark”.
The report claims The Queen was upset by several incidents where she was not informed, including the abolition of the office of Lord Chancellor and the u-turn on the EU referendum.
This story was repeated in Australia in the Courier Mail of 24 June 2004(www. thecouriermail.com.au ).
The source was a story in Agence France- Presse, itself relying on reports in the London Daily Mail. The Mail on Sunday has shown itself unreliable-it paid a valet sixty thousand pounds to tell story about Prince Charles which the valet now admits was untrue. What can we say? Even if the story is baseless, as it may well be, the exposition of the principle is true. The Crown is above politics, and is no rubber stamp..
Until next time,