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The University of Southampton
HistoryPart of Humanities

Monarchy, Politics and Property: A Tale of Two Constitutional Monarchies: Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom in Focus Seminar

18:00 - 19:00
22 February 2022
Microsoft Teams

Event details

You are warmly invited to an interdisciplinary seminar about monarchy. It features talks by two speakers – one a specialist in History, one a specialist in Law – who will offer historical, legal, and contemporary political perspectives in their treatment of the subject.


Alastair Paynter

'A Strong Monarchy with Democratic Legitimation: Liechtenstein's Unique Constitution'

Unlike most western monarchies, Liechtenstein's monarchy not only retains significant powers but had its position strengthened following the introduction of a new constitution in 2003, a measure supported overwhelmingly at the polls. The new constitution also significantly strengthened the direct democratic element of the constitution, going so far as to permit a vote of 'no confidence' in the Prince should the need arise. One of the most interesting lessons from this tiny but wealthy Principality is how it has managed to circumvent the typical pattern of other monarchies, whose roles have tended to be reduced to the ceremonial in favour of representative democracy, whilst retaining levels of trust in political institutions that would be unimaginable in many other states.

Dr Alastair Paynter (link: is Visiting Academic in History at the University of Southampton. His interests include modern monarchy from an international perspective, as well as nineteenth-century British politics and culture. He is also interested in the reception of the ancient world and the classical tradition, particularly Greece, in the nineteenth century.

Craig Prescott

'Understanding Queen's Consent: The Confusion of the Public and Private Behind the Crown'

Within the legislative process, the procedure of Queen's consent is not well understood. In recent years it has come under media scrutiny on the basis that it constitutes a 'royal veto' at the heart of the constitution. Although such concerns are overblown, the operation of Queen's Consent raises fundamental questions about the nature of the Crown and the relationship between the monarchy and the government. Queen's Consent is a manifestation of the needs of the monarchy as a political institution which fulfils the constitutional function of Head of State, separate to the government of the day. Queen's Consent, and discussions over any potential reforms to the process should proceed on that basis.

Dr Craig Prescott (link is a Lecturer in Law at Bangor University, and specialises in UK constitutional law and politics, with a particular focus on the monarchy and Parliament. He previously taught at King's College London, The University of Manchester and at The University of Winchester, where Craig founded the Centre for Parliament and Public Law. With Dr John Stanton, Craig is the co-author of the textbook Public Law, which is published by Oxford University Press. Craig also frequently appears in the media discussing royal and constitutional affairs, including on the BBC, Sky News, CBC in Canada, ABC in Australia and The Times.

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