The Monarchy of the United Kingdom

The monarchy of the United Kingdom (commonly referred to as the British monarchy) is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties. As a constitutional monarch, the Queen is limited to non-partisan functions such as bestowing honours.

Though the ultimate executive authority over the government of the United Kingdom is still by and through the monarch’s royal prerogative, in practice these powers are only used according to laws enacted in Parliament or within the constraints of convention and precedent. The British monarchy traces its origins from the kings of the Angles and the early Scottish kings. By the year 1000, the kingdoms of England and Scotland had resolved from the petty kingdoms of early medieval Britain.

The last Anglo-Saxon monarch (Harold II) was defeated and killed in the Norman invasion of 1066 and the English monarchy passed to the Norman conquerors. In the thirteenth century, the principality of Wales was absorbed by England, and Magna Carta began the process of reducing the political powers of the monarch. From 1603, when the Scottish king James VI inherited the English throne as James I, both kingdoms were ruled by a single monarch. From 1649 to 1660, the tradition of monarchy was broken by the republican Commonwealth of England that followed the War of the Three Kingdoms.

In 1707, the kingdoms of England and Scotland were merged to create the Kingdom of Great Britain and, in 1801, the Kingdom of Ireland joined to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The British monarch became nominal head of the vast British Empire, which covered a quarter of the world[1] at its greatest extent in 1921. In 1922, two thirds of Ireland seceded from the Union as the Irish Free State, but in law the monarch remained sovereign there until 1949.

In 1931, the unitary British monarchy throughout the empire was split into legally distinct crowns for each of the Commonwealth realms. After World War II, former colonies and dominions became independent of Britain, bringing the British Empire to an end. George VI and his successor, Elizabeth II, adopted the title Head of the Commonwealth as a symbol of the free association of the independent countries comprising the Commonwealth of Nations. At present, 15 other independent Commonwealth countries share with the United Kingdom the same person as their monarch.

As such, the terms British monarchy and British monarch are frequently still employed in reference not only to the extranational person and institution shared amongst all 16 of the realms,[2][3] but also to the distinct monarchies within each of these countries, often at variance with the different, specific, and official national titles and terms for each jurisdiction. |Contents | |[hide] | |1 Constitutional role | |1. 1 Appointment of the Prime Minister | |1. 2 Dissolution of Parliament | |1. 3 Dismissal of Government | |1. 4 Royal Prerogative | |2 History | |2.

1 English monarchy | |2. 2 Scottish monarchy | |2. 3 Personal union and republican phase | |2. 4 After the 1707 Acts of Union | |2. 5 Shared monarchy | |3 Modern status | |4 Monarchy in Ireland | |5 Religious role | |6 Succession | |6. 1 Regency | |7 Finances | |8 Residences | |9 Style | |10 Arms | |11 See also | |12 Notes | |13 References | |14 External links | [pic][edit] Constitutional role In the uncodified Constitution of the United Kingdom, the Monarch (otherwise referred to as The Sovereign, The Crown, or His or Her Majesty, abbreviated H.

M. ) is the ceremonial Head of State. Oaths of allegiance are made to the Queen and her lawful successors. [4] God Save the Queen (or God Save the King) is the British national anthem,[5] and the monarch appears on postage stamps, coins, and banknotes. [6] The Monarch takes little direct part in Government. The decisions to exercise Sovereign powers are entirely 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,[7] and even if personally performed by the Monarch, such as the Queen’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, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. • Executive power is exercised by H. M. Government, which comprises Her Majesty’s Ministers, primarily the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

They have the direction of the Armed Forces of the Crown, Her Majesty’s Civil Service and other Crown Servants such as the Diplomatic and Secret Services. • Judicial power is vested in H. M. Judges, who by constitution and statute[8] have judicial independence of the Government • The Church of England, of which the Monarch is the head, has its own legislative, judicial and executive structures. • 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 members of parliament and local authorities, no public officers are elected. As a constitutional monarch, the Sovereign’s role is largely limited to non-partisan functions, such as granting honours. This role has been recognised since the 19th century; the constitutional writer Walter Bagehot identified the monarchy in 1867 as the “dignified part” rather than the “efficient part” of government. Constitutionally, the Crown will act only upon the advice of H. M. Government; its practical functions in that regard are only “to advise, to be consulted, and to warn”. [9] [pic]

The English Bill of Rights of 1689 curtailed the monarch’s governmental power. The degree to which the Monarch in unusual circumstances can or should actually exercise power is a matter of academic debate. Any exercise of the Monarch’s discretion or reserve powers may well cause some aggrieved party to claim a constitutional crisis. The most obvious case for exercising powers without the Prime Minister’s advice is when there is no Prime Minister or when he is subject to a disqualifying conflict of interest, such as in advising upon his own office. [edit] 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 H. M. Government). In accordance with unwritten constitutional conventions, the Sovereign must appoint an individual who commands the support of the House of Commons, 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 Kissing Hands, and that appointment is immediately effective without any other formality or instrument.

[10] 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. [11][12] Since 1945, there has only been one hung parliament, following the February 1974 general election. After failed negotiations between the incumbent prime minister Edward Heath and Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe, Heath resigned and Harold Wilson was appointed Prime Minister. Although Wilson’s Labour Party did not have a majority, they were the largest party.

On the sudden death of a Prime Minister, it is arguable whether the Monarch is bound to appoint the successor on the advice of some (and which) of her Ministers, or perhaps of the Cabinet, or the Privy Council. [edit] Dissolution of Parliament In 1950, the King’s Private Secretary writing pseudonymously to the Times newspaper asserted a constitutional convention: according to the Lascelles Principles, if a minority government asked to dissolve Parliament to call an early election to strengthen its position, the monarch could refuse, and would do so under three conditions.

When Prime Minister Wilson requested a dissolution late in 1974, the Queen granted his request as Heath had already failed to form a coalition. The resulting general election gave Wilson a small majority. [13] It is notable that, whatever the authority of the Lascelles Principles when published in 1950, in 1994 the English historian Peter Hennessy noted that they had somehow been varied: “the second of the three conditions has since been “dropped from the canon”, being no longer included in internal Cabinet Office guidance”.

However, although the letter and guidance might indicate their current views, neither the King or his Private Secretary, nor the Cabinet Office is legally definitive upon the subject. [edit] Dismissal of Government The monarch could in theory unilaterally dismiss a Prime Minister, but in practice a Prime Minister’s term now comes to an end only by electoral defeat, death, or resignation. The last monarch to remove a Prime Minister was William IV, who dismissed Lord Melbourne in 1834. [14] [edit] Royal Prerogative Main article: Royal Prerogative.

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. [15] 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 Bagehot’s words: “the Sovereign has, under a constitutional monarchy … three rights—the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn. “[16] 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 authorisation 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. [17] 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 United Kingdom; an Act of Parliament is necessary in such cases. The monarch is commander in chief of the Armed Forces (the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force), accredits British High Commissioners and ambassadors, and receives diplomats from foreign states. [17] 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, during which the Sovereign reads the Speech from the Throne in the Chamber of the House of Lords, outlining the Government’s legislative agenda. [18] Prorogation usually occurs about one year after a session begins, and formally concludes the session. [19] Dissolution ends a parliamentary term, and is followed by a general election for all seats in the House of Commons. Again, these powers are always exercised on the Prime Minister’s advice. The timing of a dissolution is affected by a variety of factors.

No parliamentary term may last more than five years; at the end of this period, a dissolution is automatic under the Parliament Act 1911. [20] 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. [21] Before a bill passed by the legislative Houses can become law, the Royal Assent (the monarch’s approval) is required.

[22] In theory, assent can either be granted (making the bill law) or withheld (vetoing the bill), but since 1707 assent has always been granted. [23] The monarch has a similar relationship with the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Sovereign appoints the First Minister of Scotland on the nomination of the Scottish Parliament,[24] and the First Minister of Wales on the nomination of the National Assembly for Wales. [25] In Scottish matters, the Sovereign acts on the advice of the Scottish Government.

However, as devolution is more limited in Wales, in Welsh matters the Sovereign acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the United Kingdom. The Sovereign can veto any law passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly, if it is deemed unconstitutional by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. [26] 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 offences. The Crown Proceedings Act 1947 allows civil lawsuits against the Crown in its public capacity (that is, lawsuits against the government), but not lawsuits against the monarch personally. The Sovereign exercises the “prerogative of mercy”, which is used to pardon convicted offenders or reduce sentences. [15][17] The monarch is the “fount of honour”, the source of all honours and dignities in the United Kingdom. The Crown creates all peerages, appoints members of the orders of chivalry, grants knighthoods and awards other honours.

[27] Although peerages and most other honours are granted on the advice of the Prime Minister, some honours are within the personal gift of the Sovereign, and are not granted on ministerial advice. The monarch alone appoints members of the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle, the Royal Victorian Order and the Order of Merit. [28] [edit] History [edit] English monarchy See also: List of English monarchs Following Viking raids and settlement in the ninth century, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex emerged as the dominant English kingdom.

Alfred the Great secured Wessex, achieved dominance over western Mercia, and assumed the title “King of the English”. [29] His grandson Athelstan was the first king to rule over a unitary kingdom roughly corresponding to the present borders of England, though its constituent parts retained strong regional identities. The 11th century saw England become more stable, despite a number of wars with the Danes, which resulted in a Danish monarchy for one generation. [30] William, Duke of Normandy’s conquest of England in 1066 was crucial in terms of both political and social change.

The new monarch continued the centralization of power begun in the Anglo-Saxon period, while the Feudal System continued to develop. [31] [pic] The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of 1066. William I was succeeded by two of his sons: William II, then Henry I. Henry made a controversial decision to name his daughter Matilda (his only surviving child) as his heir. Following Henry’s death in 1135, one of William I’s grandsons, Stephen, laid claim to the throne, and took power with the support of most of the barons. Matilda challenged his reign; as a result England descended into a period of disorder known as the Anarchy.

Stephen maintained a precarious hold on power but agreed to a compromise under which Matilda’s son Henry would succeed him. Henry accordingly became the first monarch of the Angevin or Plantagenet dynasty as Henry II in 1154. [32] The reigns of most of the Angevin monarchs were marred by civil strife and conflicts between the monarch and the nobility. Henry II faced rebellions from his own sons, the future monarchs Richard I and John. Nevertheless, Henry managed to expand his kingdom. Upon Henry’s death, his elder son Richard succeeded to the throne; he was absent from England for most of his reign, as he left to fight in the Crusades.

He was killed besieging a castle, and John succeeded him. John’s reign was marked by conflict with the barons, particularly over the limits of royal power. In 1215, the barons coerced the king into issuing the Magna Carta (Latin for “Great Charter”) to guarantee the rights and liberties of the nobility. Soon afterwards further disagreements plunged England into a civil war known as the First Barons’ War. The war came to an abrupt end after John died in 1216, leaving the Crown to his nine-year-old son Henry III. [33] Later in Henry’s reign, Simon de Montfort led the barons in another rebellion, beginning the Second Barons’ War.

The war ended in a clear royalist victory, and in the death of many rebels, but not before the king had agreed to summon a parliament in 1265. [34] The next monarch, Edward I, was far more successful in maintaining royal power, and was responsible for the conquest of Wales. He attempted to establish English domination of Scotland. However, gains in Scotland were reversed during the reign of his successor, Edward II, who also faced conflict with the nobility. [35] Edward II was, in 1311, forced to relinquish many of his powers to a committee of baronial “ordainers”; however, military victories helped him regain control in 1322.

[36] Nevertheless, in 1327, Edward was deposed and then murdered by his wife Isabella. His 14-year-old son became Edward III. Edward III claimed the French Crown, setting off the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. His campaigns conquered much French territory, but by 1374 all the gains had been lost. Edward’s reign was also marked by the further development of Parliament, which came to be divided into two Houses. In 1377, Edward III died, leaving the Crown to his 10-year-old grandson Richard II. Like many of his predecessors, Richard II conflicted with the nobles by attempting to concentrate power in his own hands.

In 1399, while he was campaigning in Ireland, his cousin Henry Bolingbroke seized power. Richard was deposed, imprisoned, and eventually murdered, and Henry became king. [37] Henry IV was the grandson of Edward III and the son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; hence, his dynasty was known as the House of Lancaster. For most of his reign, Henry IV was forced to fight off plots and rebellions; his success was partly due to the military skill of his son, the future Henry V. Henry V’s own reign, which began in 1413, was largely free from domestic strife, leaving the king free to pursue the Hundred Years’ War in France.

Although he was victorious, his sudden death in 1422 left his infant son Henry VI on the throne, and gave the French an opportunity to overthrow English rule. [38] The unpopularity of Henry’s counsellors and his belligerent consort, Margaret of Anjou, as well as his own ineffectual leadership, led to the weakening of the House of Lancaster. The Lancastrians faced a challenge from the House of York, so called because its head, a descendant of Edward III, was Richard, Duke of York. Although the Duke of York died in battle in 1460, his eldest son Edward led the Yorkists to victory in 1461.

The Wars of the Roses, nevertheless, continued intermittently during the reigns of the Yorkists Edward IV, Edward V, and Richard III. Ultimately, the conflict culminated in success for the Lancastrian branch, led by Henry Tudor, in 1485, when Richard III was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field. [39] Now as King Henry VII, Henry Tudor neutralised the remaining Yorkist forces, partly by marrying Elizabeth of York, a Yorkist heir. Through skill and ability, Henry re-established absolute supremacy in the realm, and the conflicts with the nobility that had plagued previous monarchs came to an end.

[40] The reign of the second Tudor king, Henry VIII, was one of great political change. Religious upheaval and disputes with the Pope led the monarch to break from the Roman Catholic Church and to establish the Church of England (the Anglican Church). [41] Wales, which had been conquered centuries earlier but had remained a separate dominion, was annexed to England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542. [42] Henry VIII’s son and successor, the young Edward VI, continued with further religious reforms but his early death in 1553 precipitated a succession crisis.

He was wary of allowing his Catholic elder half-sister Mary to succeed, and therefore drew up a will designating Lady Jane Grey as his heiress. Jane’s reign however lasted only nine days; with tremendous popular support, Mary deposed her, and declared herself the lawful Sovereign. Mary I pursued disastrous wars in France and attempted to return England to Roman Catholicism, in the process burning Protestants at the stake as heretics. She died in 1558, and was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I. England returned to Protestantism, and continued its growth into a major world power by building its navy and exploring the New World.

[43] [edit] Scottish monarchy See also: List of Scottish monarchs In Scotland, as in England, monarchies emerged after the withdrawal of the Roman empire from Britain in the early fifth century. The three groups that lived in Scotland at this time were the Picts in the north east, the Britons in the south, including the Kingdom of Strathclyde, and the Gaels or Scotti (who would later give their name to Scotland), of the Irish province of Dal Riata in the west. Kenneth MacAlpin is traditionally viewed as the first king of a united Scotland (known as Scotia to writers in Latin, or Alba to the Scots).

[44] The expansion of Scottish dominions continued over the next two centuries, as other territories such as Strathclyde were absorbed. Early Scottish monarchs did not inherit the Crown directly; instead the custom of tanistry was followed, where the monarchy alternated between different branches of the House of Alpin. As a result, however, the rival dynastic lines clashed, often violently. From 942 to 1005, seven consecutive monarchs were either murdered or killed in battle. [45] In 1005, Malcolm II ascended the throne having killed many rivals.

He continued to ruthlessly eliminate opposition, and when he died in 1034 he was succeeded by his grandson, Duncan I, instead of a cousin, as had been usual. In 1040, Duncan suffered defeat in battle at the hands of Macbeth, who was killed himself in 1057 by Duncan’s son Malcolm. The following year, after killing Macbeth’s stepson Lulach, Malcolm ascended the throne as Malcolm III. [46] With a further series of battles and deposings, five of Malcolm’s sons as well as one of his brothers successively became king. Eventually, the Crown came to his youngest son, David.

David was succeeded by his grandsons Malcolm IV, and then by William the Lion, the longest-reigning King of Scots before the Union of the Crowns. [47] William participated in a rebellion against King Henry II of England but when the rebellion failed, William was captured by the English. In exchange for his release, William was forced to acknowledge Henry as his feudal overlord. The English King Richard I agreed to terminate the arrangement in 1189, in return for a large sum of money needed for the Crusades. [48] William died in 1214, and was succeeded by his son Alexander II.

Alexander II, as well as his successor Alexander III, attempted to take over the Western Isles, which were still under the overlordship of Norway. During the reign of Alexander III, Norway launched an unsuccessful invasion of Scotland; the ensuing Treaty of Perth recognised Scottish control of the Western Isles and other disputed areas. [49] Alexander III’s unexpected death in a riding accident in 1286 precipitated a major succession crisis.

Scottish leaders appealed to King Edward I of England for help in determining who was the rightful heir. Edward chose Alexander’s three-year-old Norwegian granddaughter, Margaret. On her way to Scotland in 1290, however, Margaret died at sea, and Edward was again asked to adjudicate between 13 rival claimants to the throne. A court was set up and after two years of deliberation, it pronounced John Balliol to be king. However, Edward proceeded to treat Balliol as a vassal, and tried to exert influence over Scotland. In 1295, when Balliol renounced his allegiance to England, Edward I invaded. During the first ten years of the ensuing Wars of Scottish Independence, Scotland had no monarch, until Robert the Bruce declared himself king in 1306.

[50] Robert’s efforts to control Scotland culminated in success, and Scottish independence was acknowledged in 1328. However, only one year later, Robert died and was succeeded by his five-year-old son, David II. On the pretext of restoring John Balliol’s rightful heir, Edward Balliol, the English again invaded in 1332. During the next four years, Balliol was crowned, deposed, restored, deposed, restored, and deposed until he eventually settled in England, and David remained king for the next 35 years.

[51] David II died childless in 1371 and was succeeded by his nephew Robert II of the House of Stuart. The reigns of both Robert II and his successor, Robert III, were marked by a general decline in royal power. When Robert III died in 1406, regents had to rule the country; the monarch, Robert III’s son James I, had been taken captive by the English. Having paid a large ransom, James returned to Scotland in 1424; to restore his authority, he used ruthless measures, including the execution of several of his enemies. He was assassinated by a group of nobles.

James II continued his father’s policies by subduing influential noblemen but he was killed in an accident at the age of thirty, and a council of regents again assumed power. James III was defeated in a battle against rebellious Scottish earls in 1488, leading to another boy-king: James IV. [52] In 1513, James IV launched an invasion of England, attempting to take advantage of the absence of the English King Henry VIII. His forces met with disaster at Flodden Field; the King, many senior noblemen, and hundreds of soldiers were killed.

As his son and successor, James V, was an infant, the government was again taken over by regents. James V led another disastrous war with the English in 1542, and his death in the same year left the Crown in the hands of his six-day-old daughter, Mary. Once again, a regency was established. Mary, a Roman Catholic, reigned during a period of great religious upheaval in Scotland. Due to the efforts of reformers such as John Knox, a Protestant ascendancy was established. Mary caused alarm by marrying her Catholic cousin, Lord Darnley, in 1565.

After Lord Darnley’s assassination in 1567, Mary contracted an even more unpopular marriage with the Earl of Bothwell, who was widely suspected of Darnley’s murder. The nobility rebelled against the Queen, forcing her to abdicate. She fled to England, and the Crown went to her infant son James VI, who was brought up as a Protestant. Mary was imprisoned and later executed by the English Queen Elizabeth I. [53] [edit] Personal union and republican phase [pic] In 1603, James VI and I was the first monarch to rule over England, Scotland, and Ireland together. Elizabeth’s death in 1603 ended Tudor rule in England.

Since she had no children, she was succeeded by the Scottish monarch James VI, who was the great-grandson of Henry VIII’s older sister. James VI ruled in England as James I after what was known as the “Union of the Crowns”. Although England and Scotland were in personal union under one monarch—James I became the first monarch to style himself “King of Great Britain” in 1604[54]—they remained separate kingdoms. James I’s successor, Charles I, experienced frequent conflicts with the English Parliament related to the issue of royal and parliamentary powers, especially the power to impose taxes.

He provoked opposition by ruling without Parliament from 1629 to 1640 (the “Eleven Years’ Tyranny”), unilaterally levying taxes, and adopting controversial religious policies (many of which were offensive to the Scottish Presbyterians and the English Puritans). In 1642, the conflict between King and Parliament reached its climax and the English Civil War began. [55] The war culminated in the execution of the king in 1649, the overthrow of the monarchy, and the establishment of a republic known as the Commonwealth of England.

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell, the most prominent military and political leader in the nation, seized power and declared himself Lord Protector (effectively becoming a military dictator, but refusing the title of king). Cromwell ruled until his death in 1658, when he was succeeded by his son Richard. The new Lord Protector had little interest in governing; he soon resigned. [56] The lack of clear leadership led to civil and military unrest, and for a popular desire to restore the monarchy. In 1660, the monarchy was restored when Charles I’s son Charles II was declared king.

[57] Charles II’s reign was marked by the development of the first modern political parties in England. Charles had no legitimate children, and was due to be succeeded by his Roman Catholic brother, James, Duke of York. A parliamentary effort to exclude James from the line of succession arose; the “Petitioners”, who supported exclusion, became the Whig Party, whereas the “Abhorrers”, who opposed exclusion, became the Tory Party. The Exclusion Bill failed; on several occasions, Charles II dissolved Parliament because he feared that the bill might pass.

After the dissolution of the Parliament of 1681, Charles ruled as an absolute monarch until his death in 1685. When James succeeded Charles, he pursued a policy of offering religious tolerance to Roman Catholics, thereby drawing the ire of many of his Protestant subjects. Many opposed James’s decisions to maintain a large standing army, to appoint Roman Catholics to high political and military offices, and to imprison Church of England clerics who challenged his policies. As a resul