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Words and expressions. 2. hereditary and not elective
1. not absolute
2. hereditary and not elective
3. to be virtual ruler
4. the leader of the party
5. the Government
6. the Opposition
7. summons, prorogues and dissolves
8. to conclude treaties
9. to declare war
10. Privy Council
11. the final court of appeal
12. the wealthiest woman
13. a symbol of the unity of the nation
14. ceremonial functions
15. the Commonwealth
17. opinion poll
The United Kingdom is one of six constitutional monarchies within Europe. Britain’s monarchy is the oldest, dating back to the 9th century. The Queen of Britain is not absolute but constitutional. Her powers are limited by the Parliament. Queen’s power is hereditary and not elective.
In practice the Monarch has no actual power: they say the Monarch reigns but does not rule. She never vetoes bills passed by Parliament.
The Prime Minister is the virtual ruler of the country. All the affairs of the state are conducted in the name of the Queen, but really the Prime Minister is responsible for every measure submitted to Parliament. Although the Queen is a figurehead representing the country, she has the power to prevent any politician from establishing a dictatorship.
The Queen summons, prorogues and dissolves Parliament. Normally she opens each session with a speech from the throne outlining the Government’s programme. It is her duty to make appointments to all-important state offices, including those of judges, officers in the armed forces, diplomats. She must, in theory at least, see all Cabinet documents. The Queen has the power to conclude treaties, to declare war and make peace.
The Queen has her own Privy Council. The Cabinet developed from this Council, which used to be body of advisers of English monarchs. The Privy Council consists of members of the royal family, the archbishops, colonial governors and senior ministers. There are about 300 of them altogether. The committee of the Privy Council, the Judicial Committee, however, is the final court of appeal for the British – a Royal Court.
Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. She has 4 children: one daughter and 3 sons. The Queen’s heir is Charles, Prince of Wales. He was born in 1948, educated in Cambridge, served in the Royal Navy. Now he is involved in various aspects of public life, in particular industry and government.
The Royal family is the principal aristocratic house in Britain, closely connected with other members of the hereditary aristocracy and with big finance interests. The Queen is known to be among the wealthiest women in the world. The Royal Family’s money comes from 2 sources: government funds and their own personal wealth, which is considerable.
The monarchy is very popular nowadays. Great state events such as royal weddings attract many tourists.
One famous newspaper conducted an opinion poll. People were asked whom they would vote for as President if there were no monarchy. More than 80 per cent chose the Queen, Prince Charles came second, closely followed by his father, Prince Philip. The Prime minister was the fourth – with 2 per cent of the votes.
The Queen has the following functions:
§ Opening and closing Parliament;
§ Approving the appointment of the Prime Minister and other ministers;
§ Giving her Royal Assent to bills;
§ Giving honours such as peerages, knighthoods and medals;
§ Head of the Commonwealth;
§ Head of the Church of England;
§ Commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
.4. Belarus. The System of Government.
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