Wait, Can The Royal Family Vote In The General Election?

Is a trip to the polling station on the King's to-do list?

Charles election

by Charlotte Roberts |
Published on

The General Election is at the forefront of everyone's mind as the British public flock to the polling stations to decide who will be the next Prime Minister. And with social media awash with calls to vote, there is one group of people who the public can't help but wonder if they're getting involved: The royal family.

Tory leader Rishi Sunak announced in May that a general election will be held on July 4, with the UK choosing all 650 members of the House of Commons. Sunak - who has been prime minister since October 2022 - will remain in office if the Conservatives come out on top, with a Labour win seeing Keir Starmer become PM. No matter who wins, they will then have to go to Buckingham Palace and ask the King for permission to form the next Government.

King Charles may well appoint a new prime minister this week, but can the royal family themselves cast a ballot?

Can King Charles vote in the general election?

King Charles has the power to appoint new prime ministers (and in the past, British monarchs certainly has the power to dismiss them too.) However, he won't be having a formal vote when it comes to the election race.

That's because the Monarch must stay politically neutral on all matters, regardless of his own political affiliation. No matter which political party comes out on top, it's imperative that the British monarchy and Parliament work together to keep things running smoothly. Of course, that might become a tad more difficult if the King's political opinions were widely known. (Before ascending to the throne, Charles was much more involved in politics than his late mother, so it's common knowledge that tackling Climate Change is a top priority for him.)


However, this doesn't mean that the King can't vote. It wouldn't be illegal for Charles to head to a polling station and exercise his democratic right. In fact, stopping him from voting would be against Article 39 of the European Union's Charter Of Fundamental Rights. However, it wouldn't be the most advisable move for the head of state.

Professor of constitutional law at King's College London, Robert Blackburn, explained to TIME, 'The King and active members of the royal family can legally cast a vote at general elections on the same basis as other eligible citizens, but in practise do not do so for obvious reasons, especially because it would cause a furore of media speculation and violate the constitutional requirement today that they maintain a strict party political impartiality.'

The official Royal website states that the Head of State 'has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters,' and is therefore unable to stand for election or vote.

Can the Royals vote in the general election?

Given that the Royal Family is very much an institution, working members of the royal family - including Queen Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton - don't vote. Those without a formal role, however, can vote with no issues. It's unclear if they choose to.


Not all royal family's approach politics in the same way as the UK. In Belgium, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde abstained from voting in the country's June election - however their four children did.

Likewise, Meghan Markle became the first person in the modern British royal family to vote in a US presidential election back in 2020. She and Prince Harry had moved to California earlier that year after stepping back as senior working royals, with Meghan later admitting that Harry was never given the chance to express his political opinions. Urging people not to take their right to vote for granted, Meghan said, 'My husband for example - he's never been able to vote.'

Harry later spoke up ahead of the US election to tell people how 'vital [it is] to reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.' Buckingham Palace later responded to the comments, saying, 'The Duke is not a working member of the royal family, and any comments he makes are made in a personal capacity.'

So while you may well see many a familiar face at your local polling station, the likelihood of a royal sighting remains low.

 Charlotte Roberts is a News and Entertainment Writer for Grazia, writing interviews and features around everything pop culture.

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