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The Queen has no passport

The Queen has no passport

  • 09/05/2017
  • Answered by Red Square London’s Immigration Specialist, Oliver Westmoreland – Ответил наш Специалист по Иммиграционным Вопросам, Оливер Вестморлэнд
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IMMIGRATION BLOG

The Queen has no passport

9 May 2017

It was recently suddenly announced somewhere on the internet that the Queen doesn’t have a passport. Not because she’s lost it, but because she crowndoesn’t need one. It is said that the reason she doesn’t need one is that she issues them – or, more precisely, they are issued in the name of the Crown.

This throws up a few interesting ideas. If the Queen did have a passport, what kind would she be entitled to? A British passport, obviously. But she is also Queen of Australia, Canada and good few other places. Surely she would be entitled to passports from those countries as well? Perhaps it’s just as well she doesn’t have one – it could get quite confusing.

It also reminds us of something else, crucial to the course of British history, which is related. Keen students of British constitution will recall that the monarch cannot be prosecuted, because the monarch is the source of law.

In the 17th century this issue became an excruciating one. Following the parliamentary victory in the first two English civil wars, a very select group of godly parliamentarians put King Charles I on trial for his life for committing treason against his people. It was of course a legal nonsense but unfortunately for Charles he didn’t have recourse to judicial review such as we have these days. If he had done, one can just imagine that High Court judges would have taken a dim view of such shenanigans.

Fortunately, these days monarch and parliament have decided to be Friends, and the anomalous situation of the monarch – including not having a passport – is part of the famously quirky but charming British constitutional system.

In any case the system seems to work well. We heard that the Queen travels extensively and, as far as we know, she doesn’t usually get detained by immigration officers at the airport and asked loads of questions like: For what purpose are you coming here? When do you intend to return? Have you got enough funds to support yourself? Etc etc.

We suppose that probably everybody recognises the Queen, as she is often photographed, so perhaps this helps.

But we must advise readers that the great majority of the population – including even other members of the royal family – do require a passport if they are going to travel (and if they want to be able to get back in), and it is very wise to bear this in mind before you set off for the airport.

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