Can The Royal Family Reverse Brexit? They've Stayed Quiet On The Subject

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Queen Elizabeth II visits Alder Hey Children's Hospital during a visit to Liverpool on June 22, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

On Thursday, Britain was faced with a colossal choice: to either remain a member state of the European Union, or leave. And, in a national referendum that saw sky-high levels of voter turnout, the people have spoken: "Leave" won by a narrow majority, setting up the country's withdrawal from the EU. There's been a lot of discussion since about how Britain might theoretically stay in despite the vote ― a politically inflammatory idea, but an understandable one for people to be wondering about. For example: Can the royal family do anything about Brexit? Might the figurehead monarchs and scions of the United Kingdom have some way to put their thumbs on the scales?

The answer, simply put, is no. If any member of the royal family were to have the ability to weigh-in or impact the Brexit decision in a meaningful way, it would surely be its matriarch, Queen Elizabeth II. But the Queen, as The New York Times noted in the run-up to the referendum, is quite explicitly not meant to get involved in politics. In fact, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson reportedly told the Times that the Queen and her immediate family don't even vote, so to avoid the appearance of publicly airing their political views.

The royal family's official website also hammers this point home, stating that the Queen "remain strictly neutral" when it comes to the British political process. It's a long-standing convention that the royal family shouldn't be involved in politics in this way, owing to the fact that they're a symbolic monarchy, deliberately stripped of the power and influence of actual governing authority.

Basically, even if the Queen or other members of the royal family are highly upset about the Brexit vote, you shouldn't expect them to say so. And even if they do, you shouldn't expect that to have any effect. The actual power that a member of the royal family has in this situation is similar to, say, the power an ex-president might wield here in America ― they'd have plenty of exposure and gravitas, perhaps, but with no state power to back it up.

That said, it's not even clear whether the Queen is even upset about what happened on Thursday, as her opinion about the EU referendum has been a matter of conflicting reports and contentious speculation over the past several weeks. In March, the British tabloid The Sun claimed she was unhappy with the direction of the EU (which they summarized with the blaring headline "QUEEN BACKS BREXIT"), only to be subsequently reprimanded by the nation's press regulator for using a misleading headline.

If the royal family is looking for a way to ease some of the considerable economic pain caused by the Brexit vote, however, there's one avenue open to them that now looks more important than ever: raking in that tourism money. As Majesty editor-in-chief Ingrid Seward told People on Friday, tourism remains a big driver of Britain's economic health, and the royal family are a big draw, a fact which looks even more essential in these freshly turbulent times.

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