The Queen is head of state for the UK — along with 15 other realms — and with a reign spanning an astonishing 69 years, she has come to define Britain. However, unbeknownst to many, the EU’s Lisbon Treaty meant she became “inferior” to the President of the European Council. Former Labour MP Tony Benn explained in his book, ‘Letters to My Grandchildren’, this particular agreement made a profound — although unseen — impact on the monarchy.
He explained: “One ironic aspect of the Lisbon Treaty is the impact it would have on the monarchy (to whom all MPs and Privy Counsellors have to swear an oath of allegiance before they can take up their position).
“In law, everyone, young and old, is a subject of the Queen.
“But our membership of the EU makes us all citizens of the Union and that includes the Queen herself who has the right to vote in European elections, though I doubt she has ever exercised that right.”
Writing in 2009, Mr Benn noted that if the EU did choose to elect a President as the titular head of the bloc, the Queen would be subject to the supremacy of that President in all Europe-related issues.
He concluded: “The European Union is planning to elect a President who would in effect become more senior than the British monarch.”
This could create a royal dilemma or even a constitutional crisis, if a Briton was elected to that position.
In the event the Queen and the President were to meet, it would not be a subject greeting their monarch but a president greeting his citizen who happens to be the Queen.
Interestingly, former Prime Minister and keen Remainer Tony Blair was seriously considering putting himself forward as the President of the European Council the year Mr Benn’s book came out.
However, he was blocked by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the time.
The same reports emerged five years later amid speculation the former Labour Prime Minister was still looking for a big role in the EU.
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The far-left Labour MP, Mr Benn, was a prominent Eurosceptic who pushed back against any attempts from the bloc to take agency from the Government.
He even called for a referendum on entry into the EU back in 1970, warning his constituents that they should look at the “historical importance” of remaining apart from Europe.
The UK has, of course, now left the bloc, meaning the sovereign regains her authority as Westminster no longer answers to Brussels.
Despite this significant change, the Queen has maintained her diplomatic neutrality and has not spoken out about it at all.
As a constitutional monarch, the Queen also has very few remaining powers, aside from holding a weekly private audience with the Prime Minister where she can impart advice.
As government and constitution professor Robert Hazell told POLITICO: “It is no longer acceptable for a modern monarch in a parliamentary democracy to have any political power.
“They are all now in effect neutered monarchs in that they no longer exercise any real political power and they have all become much less assertive.”