In monarchies where the monarch has limited power, with the government being mostly democratically elected, can a member of the royal family stand in elections to become a Member of Parliament and then become Prime Minister?

If yes, has it ever happened? If yes, can it be a conflict of interest? Could the Prime Minister try to either give more power to the monarch or take away power? If not, which law (of the concerned country) is relevant here?

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.
I am looking for answers about the UK, though I would be interested in other democracies (European or elsewhere) matching the given criteria.

  • 3
    This may be helpful politics.stackexchange.com/questions/38591/…
    – code11
    Oct 31, 2022 at 15:40
  • How do you define "Royal Family"? Although they're both excluded from the line of succession to the throne for various reasons, recent Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and David Cameron are descendants of Electress Sophia. Nov 1, 2022 at 17:06
  • A while ago, I played around with some "what if" scenarios wrt succession from Sophia of Hanover - what if the succession rule had been gender-neutral from the start, or if illegitimacy were no bar to succession, or both. There was a junior minister in Churchill's wartime administration who would have been King in one of the scenarios. Unfortunately, I can't remember which minister it was. Nov 1, 2022 at 22:47
  • Let us just say that the "Royal Family" is the "Current Monarch & Descendants" ; Or We could even consider the "Previous Monarch & Descendants" if there are Interesting Cases there ! @DanielHatton
    – Prem
    Nov 15, 2022 at 6:44
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    It is not about Present Situation ; The year could be 1900 / 1800 / 1700 ; It is about the general Case. @DanielHatton
    – Prem
    Nov 15, 2022 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


At the heart of things, no, there is no explicit legislation disqualifying members of the royal family from standing for election to the House of Commons. The relevant legislation is the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (as amended), which is a consolidated list of offices the holders of which are ineligible to become MPs. Members of the royal family are not mentioned, and although members of the regular armed forces are excluded, I do not believe this would extend to honorary Royal Colonel appointments. In any case, it would still not prevent members of the royal family from relinquishing their military appointments to stand for election.

Prior to the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999, royal dukes such as the Duke of Edinburgh, Gloucester, Kent, and so on were members of the House of Lords, and were thus ineligible to stand as an MP, but not for being a member of the House of Windsor.

Nevertheless, despite technically being able to do so, members of the royal family do not exercise their rights to vote or stand in elections, as to do so would be to compromise the royal family's political neutrality - a cornerstone of the UK's constitutional monarchy.


It seems that it is possible for this to happen and they might not even need to get elected as they can become PM through the house of lords. As the King has the ability to grant titles that would let a member of the Royal family join the house of lords that seems like an easier path to accomplish this then election.


All the members of the Royal family who are over 18 and UK citizens can become MPs. The Duchess of Sussex is not a UK citizen yet, but that will probably be fixed relatively soon.

One reason for this is that the term Royal Family has no real legal status or definition. There is the line of succession, but laws on that area are who goes next and the Queen having a veto on marriages and education.

You will also see the term senior royals which is defined by the Queen not by law.

So any Royal except the Queen can become an MP and thus Prime Minister.

But many of the Royals do not need to be MPs to be PM. Although it has not happened for some years a Member of the House of Lords can become PM and so their various titles include the right to become a member.

Also and this is just bizarre, certain senior members of the Church of England sit by right in the House of Lords. This is not a theoretical point, this is a right they exercise.

Archbishops are appointed by the Queen, so in theory she can put anyone she likes into the House of Lords, which includes her family.

Of course these are all theoretical and would be extremely controversial but the future is a big place.

  • 1
    Peers cannot vote or stand for parliament. Most royals are peers. Nov 1, 2022 at 2:37
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    @DJClayworth: Hereditary peers who are not one of the 92 who currently have a seat in the Lords can stand as MPs - for example, Viscount Thurso. Nov 1, 2022 at 9:20
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    It would be nice to cite something more authoritative than Quora, e.g. a major news source, UK government, encyclopedia, even Wikipedia. There are plenty of websites discussing this information.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 1, 2022 at 10:08

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