The British Queen is considered as the fountain of legitimacy in the UK as she undertakes constitutional and representational duties developed over one thousand years of history, but the question is what gives her legitimacy as the Head of State of 15 Commonwealth realms in addition to Britain.
According to the UK Constitution, the Queen is the head and source of all branches of public power, being defined as "fountain of justice", "fountain of legislative power", "fountain of executive power" and "fountain of honour".
There are inward duties, with the Queen playing a part in State functions in Britain. Parliament must be opened, Orders in Council have to be approved, Acts of Parliament must be signed, and meetings with the Prime Minister must be held.
There are also outward duties of State, when the Queen represents Britain to the rest of the world. For instance, she receives foreign ambassadors and high commissioners, entertains visiting Heads of State, and makes State visits overseas to other countries, in support of diplomatic and economic relations.
In addition to the State duties, the Queen's role as Head of Nation include providing a focus for national identity, unity and pride; giving a sense of stability and continuity; recognizing success, achievement and excellence; and supporting service to others, particularly through public service and the voluntary sector.
However, the monarchy is believed to be an outdated institution in the modern world that moves towards democracy, because the Queen cannot be held to account at the ballot box and there is nothing to stop her abusing her power because under Britain’s law, civil and criminal proceedings cannot be taken against the Queen.
Some believe that the Queen gets her legitimacy from inheritance. But the entire royal family is decidedly German. Most of the royal consorts over the past 300 years have come from Germany, and the ones that did not had German ancestry themselves. During World War II, the family changed its name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor. If naming traditions had continued the Queen would currently be the head of the house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
Others say that the Queen gets her legitimacy from God via church. However, in the United Kingdom, the Queen's title includes the words “Defender of the Faith”, meaning that she has a specific role in both the Church of England and the Church of Scotland. It is clear that the official Churches of England and Scotland, in which the Queen plays a role, cannot legitimize her power.
Some believe that the Queen gets legitimacy from public support. But recent opinion polls have found that the British people are not as interested in the monarchy as the media claim. Earlier in April, a survey conducted by ICM revealed that there was a sharp decline in the number of people thinking the UK would be in a worse condition without the royals.
Furthermore, British Queen’s legitimacy cannot be justified through voting as she cannot be held to account at the ballot box.
While British Queen is considered as the fountain of legitimacy in the UK, her own legitimacy as an unelected monarch remains under question.