King Charles III's duties and powers as monarch revealed

The King is a constitutional monarch who must remain politically neutral

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King Charles III's life has changed forever following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

After her death was announced, he immediately ascended the throne before being formally proclaimed King on Saturday.

As the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history, he is arguably better prepared for the position than any of his predecessors.

And he now has “an important formal and ceremonial relationship” with Parliament, the monarchy’s official website says.

King Charles III in Westminster Hall
King Charles III in Westminster Hall
King Charles III addressed parliamentarians on Monday
King Charles III addressed parliamentarians on Monday

The King's role will consist of assenting to Bills passed by Parliament on the advice of ministers.

He will also give audiences to ministers, at which he may “encourage or warn” them and be consulted on issues. He can also summon new Parliaments on the Government’s advice, and open and close – or prorogue – each session of Parliament.

His assent is required to all bills passed by Parliament for them to become law. Royal Assent has not been refused since 1707.

It is also a long established convention that the monarch is asked for consent to debate bills which would affect the prerogative or interests of the Crown.

Research by The Guardian in 2021 found more than 1,000 laws had been vetted by Elizabeth II – including whether national traffic rules applied to her private estates of Balmoral and Sandringham.

In the annual State Opening of Parliament ceremony, the King will open Parliament in person, and deliver the King’s Speech.

It will also be his duty to appoint any future prime ministers – one of the few remaining personal prerogatives of the sovereign.

The monarch does not act on advice nor need to consult anyone before calling upon the leader with an overall majority of seats in the House of Commons to form a government.

It was one of Queen Elizabeth II’s last ever duties, just two days before she died, when she appointed Liz Truss as PM at Balmoral Castle.

The King will also hold a regular audience with Ms Truss, usually weekly on a Wednesday.

He has already met with Ms Truss, the Cabinet, opposition leaders and Realm High Commissioners in the three days since his accession.

The monarch is also head of the Privy Council, which usually meets once a month.

This is the oldest form of legislative assembly still functioning in the UK, responsible for a number of executive responsibilities.

At each meeting the Council obtains the King’s formal approval to orders which have already been discussed and approved by ministers.

He also approves proclamations through Council – which are formal notices cover issues such as the summoning of a new Parliament, coinage and the dates of certain bank holidays.