For example, when was the last time an English monarch made a decision to start a war? Or spend money without being limited by the constitution? Or expel rivals? Or raised the taxes?

Based on the comments I'm interested in the post Glorious Revolution period.

  • 6
    Since you're limiting this to the English monarchy, the latest this could happen would be 1707 (after which it would be the British monarchy). Is that what you intended?
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 8:00
  • 5
    Possibly the Personal Rule of Charles I? From 1629 to 1640 Parliament was prorogued, the king raised taxes in 1638, without the consent of a Parliament. After that came the civil war, and things changed for the monarchs of England!!! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Rule Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 10:52
  • 5
    Documenting preliminary research will improve both the probability of an answer and the quality of the answer(s). It would have to be prior to the Glorious Revolution (1688) which determined that Parliament was supreme over the Monarch.
    – MCW
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 12:53
  • 1
    @MCW - arguably George III's appointment of Pitt the Younger, or William IV's dismissal of Grey and appointment of Peel, or perhaps Victoria's bedchamber crisis (Peel again) were royal attempts to show that they were supreme over parliament at least on some issues.
    – Henry
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 13:45
  • A colorable argument. I think that selection of cabinet/government officers is distinct from the kind of official decisions that OP specifies. I'd defer to a UK constitutional scholar. I think a good answer would probably start with the 1688 date and then examine Jame's personal rule for examples that OP cite, and then walk back from there.
    – MCW
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


It depends on how you want to interpret "Forced on Parliament". If you accept "changed Parliament to get what he wants" there are a couple of notable examples, because until 1911, the monarch could still mess with the House of Lords:

As I explained in this other answer of mine, George III wanted the Whigs under Charles Fox out of power, so he bullied the House of Lords into blocking a 1784 bill to reform the East India Company. This gave him a pretext to dismiss the Portland (Fox/North) government, and appoint William Pitt the Younger pending an election. Events unfolded in a way to give Pitt's party a majority.

In 1832, Prime Minister Earl Grey was having trouble getting the Reform Act through the House of Lords, and requested William IV to give peerages to a lot of pro-reformers. William did this, and the bill passed. But, being as this was at the request of the Prime Minister, it may not fit your criteria.

  • @MCW William was effectively forced to threaten to swamp the Holy, after Grey resigned and Wellington could not form a government, in the face of violent support for reform. Seems more like government forcing the monarch, rather than the other way round, using the executive power of the Crown.
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 19:20
  • 1
    @MCW sorry, this shouldn't have tagged you! :-(
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 21:58
  • @TheHonRose It becomes a question of where you set the line, and the best you can do is place mileposts along the way.
    – Spencer
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 22:00
  • Hmm.. Tbh, I see it rather as the King acting as an agent of the elected chamber, rather than imposing his sovereign will upon a reluctant legislature.
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 22:58

In 2019 Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, prorogued Parliament (that is to say she suspended it from sitting) from 10th September until, she said, 14th October. She did this on the advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Court of Session, the highest court in Scotland, ruled that Mr Johnson had been wrong to advise the Queen as he did; and the UK Supreme Court upheld the ruling on appeal. The prorogation was lifted and Parliament resumed sitting on 24th September.

Mr Johnson, it is widely thought, wished to prevent Parliament overturning his arrangements for Brexit and for this reason advised Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament which she had power to do.

Certainly Parliament did not wish to be prorogued and so the decision was forced upon it. The order came from the Queen, although she was simply following her Prime Minister's advice. Does this meet the criteria of the question? It is debatable.

The power to recess Parliament is used regularly and uncontroversially, for example around Christmas, Easter, Whitsun and Summer. But in 2019 it was extremely controversial. Very few people, if any at all, blamed Her Majesty for taking her Prime Minister's advice. They blamed him for giving it, illeegally as it turned out.


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