Monarchy of Palmshire
The monarchy of the Kingdom of Palmshire (commonly referred to as the Palmshire monarchy) is the constitutional monarchy of Palmshire and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Legion I, has reigned since 22 January 2011. He undertakes various official, ceremonial and representational duties. As a constitutional monarch, the King is limited to functions such as bestowing honors, opening and closing Parliament and appointing the Prime Minister, officially known as Prime Minister. Though the ultimate executive authority over the government of Palmshire is still by and through the monarch's royal prerogative, these powers may only be used according to laws enacted in Parliament, and, in practice, within the constraints of convention and precedent.
In the uncodified Constitution of Palmshire, the Monarch (otherwise referred to as the Sovereign, "the Crown", or "His/Her Majesty", abbreviated H.M.) is the Head of State. Oaths of allegiance are made to the King and his lawful successors.
The Monarch takes little direct part in Government. The decisions to exercise sovereign powers are delegated from the Monarch, either by statute or by convention, to Ministers or officers of the Crown, or other public bodies, exclusive of the Monarch personally. Thus the acts of state done in the name of the Crown, such as Crown Appointments, even if personally performed by the Monarch, such as the King's Speech and the State Opening of Parliament, depend upon decisions made elsewhere:
- Legislative power is exercised by the Crown in Parliament, by and with the advice and consent of Parliament.
- Executive power is exercised by His Majesty's Government, which comprises Minister of the Crown, primarily the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, which is technically a committee of the Privy Council. They have the direction of the Armed Forces of the Crown, the Civil Service and other Crown Servants such as the Diplomatic and Secret Services (the King receives certain foreign intelligence reports before the Prime Minister does).
- Judicial power is vested in the Parliament and lower courts.
- Powers independent of government are legally granted to other public bodies by statute or statutory instrument such as an Order-in-Council, Royal Commission or otherwise.
- Apart from local authorities, no public officers are elected.
The Sovereign's role as a constitutional monarch is largely limited to functions, such as granting honors.
Appointment of the Prime Minister
Whenever necessary, the Monarch is responsible for appointing a new Prime Minister (who by convention appoints and may dismiss every other Minister of the Crown, and thereby constitutes and controls the government). In accordance with unwritten constitutional conventions, the Sovereign must appoint an individual who commands the support of the House of Lords, usually the leader of the party or coalition that has a majority in that House. The Prime Minister takes office by attending the Monarch in private audience, and after accepting the office that appointment is immediately effective without any other formality or instrument.
In a "hung parliament", in which no party or coalition holds a majority, the monarch has an increased degree of latitude in choosing the individual likely to command most support, but it would usually be the leader of the largest party.
Main Article: Royal Prerogative in the Kingdom of Palmshire
Some of the government's executive authority is theoretically and nominally vested in the Sovereign and is known as the Royal Prerogative. The monarch acts within the constraints of convention and precedent, only exercising prerogative on the advice of ministers responsible to Parliament, often through the Prime Minister or Privy Council. In practice, prerogative powers are only exercised on the Prime Minister's advice—the Prime Minister, and not the Sovereign, has control. The monarch holds a weekly audience with the Prime Minister. The monarch may express his or her views, but, as a constitutional ruler, must ultimately accept the decisions of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet (providing they command the support of the House). In one's words: "the Sovereign has, under a constitutional monarchy ... three rights—the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn."
Although the Royal Prerogative is extensive and parliamentary approval is not formally required for its exercise, it is limited. Many Crown prerogatives have fallen out of use or have been permanently transferred to Parliament. For example, the monarch cannot impose and collect new taxes; such an action requires the authorization of an Act of Parliament. According to a parliamentary report, "The Crown cannot invent new prerogative powers", and Parliament can override any prerogative power by passing legislation.
The Royal Prerogative includes the powers to appoint and dismiss ministers, regulate the civil service, issue passports, declare war, make peace, direct the actions of the military, and negotiate and ratify treaties, alliances, and international agreements. However, a treaty cannot alter the domestic laws of the Kingdom of Palmshire; an Act of Parliament is necessary in such cases. The monarch is commander in chief of the Armed Forces (the Palmshire Royal Navy, the Palmshire Army, and the Palmshire Royal Marines), accredits Palmshire ambassadors, and receives diplomats from foreign states.
It is the prerogative of the monarch to summon, prorogue, and dissolve Parliament. Each parliamentary session begins with the monarch's summons. The new parliamentary session is marked by the State Opening of Parliament (usually in March), during which the Sovereign reads the Speech from the Throne in the Chamber of the House of Lords, outlining the Government's legislative agenda. Prorogation usually occurs about one year after a session begins, and formally concludes the session. Dissolution ends a parliamentary term, and is followed by a general election for Prime Minister. The timing of a dissolution is affected by a variety of factors. No parliamentary term may last more than one year; at the end of this period, a dissolution is automatic.
However, the Prime Minister normally chooses the most politically opportune moment for his or her party. Per the Lascelles Principles, the Sovereign may theoretically refuse a dissolution, but the circumstances under which such an action would be warranted are unclear. Before a bill passed by the legislative Houses can become law, the Royal Assent (the monarch's approval) is required. In theory, assent can either be granted (making the bill law) or withheld (vetoing the bill), but the only time assent has ever been withheld occurred on advice of Prime Minister on 21 April 2011.
The Sovereign is deemed the "fount of justice"; although the Sovereign does not personally rule in judicial cases, judicial functions are performed in his or her name. For instance, prosecutions are brought on the monarch's behalf, and courts derive their authority from the Crown. The common law holds that the Sovereign "can do no wrong"; the monarch cannot be prosecuted for criminal offenses. The Sovereign exercises the "prerogative of mercy", which is used to pardon convicted offenders or reduce sentences.
The monarch is the "fount of honor", the source of all honors and dignities in the Kingdom of Palmshire. The Crown creates all peerages, appoints members of the orders of chivalry, grants knighthoods and awards other honors. Although peerages and most other honors are granted on the advice of the Prime Minister, some honors are within the personal gift of the Sovereign, and are not granted on ministerial advice.