The Queen's ministers lose the plot
This letter needs no introduction except to say that most of British history has been a long and successful attempt to check the power of the Sovereign. Today, power resides in Parliament and in the EU, and requires the Sovereign, supported by her people, to curb it.
8 December 2008
Her Majesty The Queen
London SW1A 1AA
The response of the Ministry of Justice to the questions forwarded by Mrs Bonici on Your Majesty's behalf has raised radical concerns about Your Majesty's constitutional role as Sovereign.
As Your Majesty will recall, Mrs Bonici replied to my 29 September letter on 24 October 2008 by stating that Your Majesty had "taken careful note of the views you express regarding Her Majesty's action in recently granting her Royal Assent to the Treaty of Lisbon. With regard to your comments on constitutional issues, I have been instructed to send your letter to the Right Honourable Jack Straw, MP, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice and Lord Chancellor, so that he may be aware of your approach to The Queen on these matters and may consider the points you raise."
The reply, which I recently received from Ms Emily Oyama, Ministry of Justice, Constitutional Settlement Division, suggests that the Ministry of Justice has a very peculiar and startling view of the British Constitution and Your Majesty's constitutional role.
Flatly contradicting the sovereignty of Your Majesty, the Ministry declares that "it may be said that Parliament is sovereign as it holds sovereignty on behalf of the people it represents. . . .The Queen no longer has a political or executive role. . ."
This view is false. It is contradicted by last week’s events in Canada where, according to the Wall Street Journal of 5 December, Your Majesty’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, won “the right to suspend the Parliament in a private meeting with a representative of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, the official head of state". It appears that Your Majesty exerts political and constitutional executive power in Canada but not in the United Kingdom.
The Justice Ministry’s phrase “the Queen no longer has a political or executive role. . ." shocks us. Pray, may we ask when this new constitutional settlement occurred? Exactly when did Your Majesty lose her Sovereignty in Parliament?
The British people chose to enter into a covenant with Your Majesty on 2 June 1953, when you promised to rule according to our laws and customs. Pray, may we ask how Your Majesty’s ministers presume to reject or ignore this covenant?
The same people who say that Your Majesty "no longer has a political or executive role" have also said that there is no written British Constitution. This is nonsense. Your Majesty will recall that John Adams, the second President of the United States, whose ideas contributed to the American Constitution, called the British Constitution "the most stupendous fabric of human invention" in history.
It is true that just as a family's Christmas traditions are unwritten, some parts of the British Constitution are also unwritten. However, many crucial parts of our Constitution are written down and have been for centuries. They are:
1) Common Law
2) The Coronation Oath
3) Magna Carta
4) Statute of Westminster, enabling Parliament
5) The Declaration of Right
6) The Act of Settlement of 1701
7) The Act of Union
Your Majesty will be acquainted with the fundamental aspects of these magnificent documents.
It may interest Your Majesty that the oak tree, which is the national tree of England, Wales and the United States, presents in its structure a visual sketch of the organizing principles of the British and American Constitutions.
Both these constitutions have three great branches - 1) the Sovereign (in America, the executive branch), 2) the two houses of Parliament (the legislature in America) and 3) the courts. These three branches are meant to balance each other, just as the three main branches of the oak tree balance each other. If one branch becomes too large, it will topple the tree, especially if another branch withers away.
The great supporting 'trunk' of our Constitution is rule by just law. The 'roots' of the Constitution are the people. The 'earth' is the people's birthright of freedom, given to them by God. The people and their freedom nourish the Constitution, and are nourished by it.
On the 8th February 1952 when Your Majesty made Your Declaration of Sovereignty, you declared, "By the sudden death of my dear Father, I am called to assume the duties and responsibilities of Sovereignty. . .to uphold constitutional government".
The assumption of sovereignty with its clear charge to uphold constitutional government requires the Sovereign to balance and check the powers of Parliament. If the Sovereign does not provide a check and balance, the legislature, as John Adams warned, will become tyrannical. One of the Sovereign's checks is the Royal Assent.
Those who willfully flout the British Constitution assert that the Royal Assent must be automatically given. This is another effort by Parliament to usurp the constitutional duties of the Sovereign by summoning a fictional automatic Royal Assent like a spirit from the vasty deep.
We fear that Your Majesty's ministers have grossly misstated Your Majesty's constitutional role. To assert that intervening in a political matter "would not be consistent with Your Majesty's status as a constitutional monarch" is an oxymoron and suggests that the Justice Ministry holds an absurd and treasonous view of Your Majesty as an extra-constitutional ceremonial appendage.
Many friends and colleagues fear that Your Majesty shares the views of your ministers.
Your Majesty, will you please tell us that you do not share your ministers' views and that you will act as the constitutional monarch with whom your people entered into covenant?
David F. Abbott
HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Princess Royal, HRH Prince William, HRH Prince Henry
The letter from the Ministry of Justice is attached.