King Charles Breaks Precedent by Jumping Into Brexit Debate
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Britain’s King Charles on Monday afternoon. Earlier that day, she settled changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Replacing the old protocol is the Windsor Agreement. This covers new arrangements on customs, allows Northern Ireland to benefit from the same value-added tax percentages as the rest of the United Kingdom, and removes the Irish Sea border to allow for easier trade.
The King’s meeting with von der Leyen alarmed many commentators and members of Parliament. One of the most accepted traditions of the British Constitution is that the monarch stays out of politics. King Charles seems to have no trouble breaking norms.
Democratic Unionist Party spokesman Sammy Wilson is one of many to blame the prime minister for “dragging the King into a hugely controversial political issue, not just in Northern Ireland but even within his own party.”
A palace spokesman assured the public that “[t]he King is pleased to meet any world leader if they are visiting Britain, and it is the government’s advice that he should do so.” This ignored the political purposes for von der Leyen’s visit to Britain. The meeting appears to government officials and citizens as the monarch endorsing changes to policy.
Power of impartiality: The sovereign stays out of the political sphere to preserve the sanctity of the office. The monarch is supposed to be above the proceedings of Parliament. This makes him a stable leader for the Empire to rally behind. It doesn’t matter what one’s political affiliation is, everyone can get behind the King. His impartiality is what gives him this unique power.
King Charles claimed to understand this. In a 2018 bbc interview when still the prince of Wales, he responded to criticism over his campaigning. People were worried this would continue into his monarchy. He remarked, “No. It won’t. I’m not that stupid. I do realize that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So, of course, you know, I understand entirely how that should operate.”
But when asked if he would use his “convening power” as king, he gave a less clear response: “Well, you never know. But you could only do it with the agreement of ministers. That’s how it works.”
By choosing to entangle himself with political proceedings, King Charles risks removing the separation between the sovereign and Parliament. That distinction has historically served a vital purpose. Without it, there is no sense of neutrality. The throne is what unites the Empire. By getting involved in politics, King Charles could further divide Britain.
Learn more: To learn God’s view on empire, read “The Glory of Empire,” by editor in chief Gerald Flurry. To understand the unifying role the throne has, read “The Throne of David Unites the Universe.”