The Queen’s constitutional role has been the renewed subject of discussion in recent months, with the prorogation row that spun out in Parliament placing Her Majesty in a sensitive position. With the prospect of a hung parliament on the cards after this month’s general election, Her Majesty’s political role is again under scrutiny. The Queen accepts the resignation of the outgoing Prime Minister, and then instructs the incoming premier to form a government in her name – a process that is put in jeopardy if there is uncertainty over the government being formed.
In 2010, the May general election resulted in a hung parliament after none of the political parties achieved an overall majority – as David Cameron's Conservative Party won the largest share of the vote with 306 seats.
However, outgoing Prime Minister Gordon Brown's visit to tell Her Majesty of his resignation was rushed at the behest of Peter Mandelson, according to Lord Mandelson’s own memoirs.
It meant that Her Majesty accepted the resignation of the outgoing Prime Minister while a deal had not yet been signed between the parties forming a coalition government.
However, Peter Mandelson insisted that Brown go to Buckingham Palace before nightfall, to avoid the image of him being forced out of Number 10 under the cover of darkness.
Queen Elizabeth II and Gordon Brown (Image: Getty)
Mr Brown with his family leaving 10 Downing Street in order to give his resigantion to the Queen in 2010 (Image: Getty)
Writing in The Guardian in 2010, political editor Patrick Wintour explained how the Labour team felt that Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg was pressing for Mr Brown to stay on in Number 10 even longer, so he had more time to finalise his deal with the Conservatives and sell it to his party.
Mr Wintour wrote: “Brown lost patience, and told Clegg he could not wait any longer before going to see the Queen to resign.