Royal Voting in the UK

As I understand it, the British Royal Family has no say in national or local politics, and in fact never publicly comments on political matters, but I assume they can vote just as any other registered UK voter can. Whether they choose to vote or not is another matter. Is that true?

The Queen can vote, but in practice it is considered unconstitutional for the Monarch to vote in an election. The rest of the royal family can, and probably do, vote. Of course how they vote is between them and the ballot box.

Can you explain this? Why is it considered ‘unconstitutional’ for the Queen to vote, yet she can vote?

When Peers were still seated in the Upper House, were they allowed to vote for Members of the House of Commons?

I’m surprised that the Queen is allowed to vote. She still can’t enter the House of Commons, right? (She can send Black Rod with a message but even he gets the door slammed in his face.)

Well, ironically, the Queen’s right to vote (along with everyone else’s) is enshrined in EU Law - the European Union’s Charter on Fundamental Rights to be precise.

However, by convention, she does not vote. I also don’t think any of the senior Royals choose to vote either. We’ve certainly never seen them snapped outside a polling station.

In this matter, I think ‘unconstitutional’ is perhaps not the right word. ‘By convention’ would be more accurate.

However, bear in mind that our constitution is nothing like a traditional written constitution that defines the rules. Rather, it’s a loose term applied to our laws and conventions, with a bit of ‘that’s how we’ve always done things’ thrown in for good measure.

Parliament has the power to change laws, and hence our ‘constitution’, should they vote to do so. Our judges cannot strike down laws created by Parliament for being ‘unconstitutional’.

Members of the House of Lords aren’t allowed to vote in general elections or Commons by-elections. They can vote in local and EU Parliament elections, and presumably in the current referendum.

The Monarch can vote. Members of the Royal Family who are also members of the House of Lords cannot vote.

I don’t think any is at the moment.

The text of that Charter can be found here (PDF). Doesn’t govern parliamentary elections, only local and European.

The function of Parliament is to advise the monarch on the exercise of her power to legislate. The point of elections to the House of Commons is for commoners to choose those who will have a right to advise the monarch on their behalf. Members of the House of Lords (who advise the monarch in that capacity) and the monarch herself have no role to play in choosing advisers to speak on behalf of the commons. Hence, they have no vote.

(Same rule applies, so far as I know, to Church of England Bishops. Those who have a place in the House of Lords do not vote in Commons elections; the rest do - or, at any rate, can.)