(For simplicity’s sake, and to leave consistent anchors back into our own timeline, I’ve assumed in the Viner Codex series that the line of kings and queens in Britain – the monarchy – is exactly the same as in our timeline. In the Commonwealth, however, the role of the monarchy is radically different than in our timeline. This article explores the political implications of those differences; for social implications, see the matching article in the ‘Society’ category; for historical implications, see the article in the ‘History’ section.)
As the core document of the formal constitution for the Commonwealth, the Agreement of the People establishes that the ultimate power of the nation is resides in all of its people, as a whole, collectiively. (This is in contrast to rule by and for a single person – the monarch – or by and for a self-selected group of oligarchs – as Cromwell and the Grandees had intended.) The power of the people is vested in Parliament – but it rules on behalf of the people, not on behalf of itself.
The political function of the monarchy is simplified down to a few key advisory roles:
- long-term continuity – the reign of a nominal monarch tends to be longer than that of a parliamentary session or parliamentary leader
- represent the voice of tradition and ‘the soul of the nation’ – ‘heart’ rather than ‘head’
- act as final arbiter in any case of irresolvable clash within Parliament
- sign legislation into ‘the law of the land’, as the representative of the people
These roles have little real power in themselves, but all act as a sociopolitical counterbalance against the potential for excessive over-reach by Parliament – for example, an attempted takeover of Parliament by would-be oligarchs, such as was intended (and, in our timeline, enacted) by Cromwell and the Grandees.
Where needed for international diplomacy, the monarch also acts as ‘Head of State’, receiving foreign ambassadors and political representatives on behalf of the nation, and representing the Commonwealth abroad as its figurehead. The monarch may also sign treaties, as the formal representative of the nation – though the responsibility for the content of such treaties resides with the diplomatic corps, not the monarch.
(Overall, this is similar to the ‘constitutional monarchy’ model currently in place in our own timeline in Britain and several other European countries, and also similar to the role of the British monarch in relation to the ‘Commonwealth’ of former British colonies.)
Last Update: August 25, 2017