July 16, 2024

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Live updates: UK election results; Labour on course for landslide win – polls

Live updates: UK election results; Labour on course for landslide win – polls

You may have noticed that King Charles III hasn’t been out much over the past six weeks and not for the reason you might think.

Indeed, shortly after Rishi Sunak called a general election, Buckingham Palace announced that the family would postpone engagements “that might appear to divert or distract from the election campaign”.

Although the palace doesn’t usually say so, it’s pretty much standard practice for members of the royal family to remain neutral and out of politics. And since this is the first general election of Charles III’s reign, there may be a desire from within the establishment to stress this. So what role does the 75-year-old monarch have in the election, and can he vote?

First, the prime minister informed King Charles of his decision to call a general election. That conversation took place on 22 May, at which point the king agreed to Sunak’s request to dissolve Parliament. In theory, Charles could have refused the request, but that would have been unprecedented in modern times.

The monarch has spent the last few days in Scotland to attend Holyrood Week, an annual celebration in the royal calendar to recognise Scottish culture and society. However, he will need to be back in London by Friday. This is because the monarch invites the leader of the party that won the most seats in the House of Commons to Buckingham Palace the day after the general election.

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As head of state, the appointment of prime ministers is one of King Charles’s primary constitutional duties, along with the formal opening of Parliament and the signing of parliamentary bills. During the audience, they become prime ministers and are invited to form a government in His Majesty’s name.